Cornish Fairings truly are ‘A taste that’s out of Cornwall‘, and it is a great shame that they are not more widely available – considering that they have been a Cornish favourite for over 100 years. It was only a few years ago that they almost became an endangered species when the factory was forced to close due to lack of demand – which would have been a great tragedy for Fairings fans. Thankfully someone saw sense and they were rescued.
It all began in Truro in the 1880s, when John Cooper Furniss began producing Fairings, gingerbreads and other goods from a teashop in Truro. His original recipe is for a lightly spiced biscuit, perfect on its own or with tea. Others in the current range include orange & lemon, stem ginger & honey, and apple & cinnamon, and are all excellent additions to the range.
The original Fairings are similar to Gingernuts, but have a more delicate cinnamon and mixed spice flavour. They are quite hard and brittle, but are excellent dunkers – becoming deliciously soft and slightly chewy with the application of tea (probably due to the expert use of Golden Syrup in the recipe).
The name ‘Fairing’ comes form a present brought at the fairs which were held every year at Whitsuntide and Corpus Christie – a little gift consisting of gingerbread, sugared almonds, cinnamon sticks or macaroons.
I for one will be doing my best to ensure that demand remains high for the superb biscuit of Cornwall – the Cornish Fairing.