Lemon Quay, Truro

Ponsanooth Village Stores

Bonnie Taylor takes a trip to the wonderfully festive Ponsanooth Village Stores.

Nestled in a valley off the A393 sits the village of Ponsanooth known for its fabulous Christmas lights seen from the roadside as you drive by between Falmouth and Redruth.

This village has become increasingly known during the festive season for its remarkable independent village shop. Awarded the Countryside Alliance best shop & PO in the Uk, Ponsanooth Village Stores run by husband and wife Vaughan and Michelle Bigham along with a team of staff sure know how to celebrate Christmas. This year I decided to park up and find out more.

As you walk to the front door you are met with a reassuring childhood scent of Christmas. Feock grown non-drop blue spruce decorate the forecourt. From cute 3ft trees to whopping great 8ft beauties, there’s a tree available to fit every sitting room! Take in that smell, it’s like something from Narnia! As a customer flings a 6ft over his shoulder and proudly marches back home with it, I spot the comforting sign “delivery available £3”. There is no way the tree I’ve spotted is fitting in my Mini!!

The warmth and festive atmosphere continues as you enter the store. It’s like a grotto, garlands festoon the ceilings, decorations hang from every spare hook. Stocking fillers galore can be found in every nook and cranny nestled between your daily essentials like local breads and glass bottled milk.

The decorations are beautiful, with everything from hand-painted glass baubles to hanging felt Brussel sprouts for the more adventurous tree owner. I spot a glass painted drill decoration, the perfect stocking filler for Uncle George. At any 5 hanging decorations for just £10, the trouble is narrowing it down to 5, or maybe I should go for 10?

Decisions made, I carry on around the store with 9 decorations jangling in the bottom of my basket.

Next, I find a huge range of Cornish goodies from pinch pot Sea Salt to Kernow Chocolate, perfect to post to those loved ones I won’t be able to meet up with this Christmas, and with Winter Gift Fayres on hold, this store has all your favourite Cornish names in one place. Furniss, Trenance, Cornish Coffee, Halzephron – oh hang on, have they got my favourite? There we go – Caramelised Red Onion Chutney. Perfect for cheese and biscuits by the fire on a cold winter’s evening! Better pick up a slice of Yarg and Cornish Blue whilst I’m at it!

I spot a customer staring intently at a rack chuckling to herself. I need to find out more! Socially distanced I approach the stand from the other side only to find it’s teeming with Whistlefish Christmas Cards. From traditional nativity scenes to the more humorous Santa stuck up the chimney style designs, these cards will certainly cover all tastes. In plastic-free packaging, and supporting many local charities, what’s not to like about this offering? Oh did I mention they are £1 each or 15 for just £10?

There is a well segregated happy queue at the Post Office as customers strike up conversation with each other through masks and visors. Vaughan is explaining the last posting dates to Italy, whilst advising on the most secure way to send an old family photo album.

Despite the busyness, the store doesn’t appear overcrowded. With a one way system and a lay-by area to dip into, so others can pass whilst you absorb the atmosphere, you don’t feel rushed or anxious as you gather up those all-important essentials, along with those special treats.

From brown parcel paper to Cornish goodies, my initial decorations, and now some nostalgic sugar mice, my basket is really starting to fill up.

Despite my mask, an enticing aroma of pasties suddenly overwhelms the senses as Michelle opens the oven door and takes the next batch out ready for sale. Made by Cornish Oven but baked in-store throughout the day, I’m not sure how the staff aren’t the size of a house? I know I would be if I worked here!

A stunning fruit and veg display draws my attention as I round the corner, bursting with everything from carrots & parsnips to fennel & fresh ginger. The sign reads “order your Christmas Veg Boxe at the counter” – now there’s an idea!

In support of all things Cornish, there is a full range of Tarquins Gin pride of place in the spirits department with very competitive pricing and gift sets. I just might have to slip one into my basket! Oww and taste testing on 12th December – I’ll be back!

As I join the queue my eyes are drawn to a magnificent array of glass jars glistening with preserves, chutney, salsa, curd, marmalades, and relish. Mrs. Bridges Peach & Prosecco Preserve – Don’t mind if I do!

Basket brimming I pop it through the cleverly designed slot in the counter, and a cheerful member of staff gets scanning.

Fruit & Veg box ordered, Christmas tree coming on Saturday, I leave with a preorder booklet for turkeys, meats, and cakes . What a perfect Christmas shopping experience that was! I thoroughly recommend shopping local and taking a trip to Ponsanooth Village Stores this Christmas

… time to head home and start writing my cards.

– Bonnie Taylor

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