15th February 2023
Sauna-side chats, a growing community, warming cuisine in a warm environment and feelings of home. Here’s what klys means to Cornish experience creators, community farmers and chefs…
As the curtains close on our exploration of klys, we visit local growers at the Loveland community farm, the new home of Situ café, Olla Hiki’s seaside sauna and the team at Canteen to find out what the ancient word means in our coastal community. While the specifics vary, at its essence, klys often encapsulates a glowing gratitude for being together and with nature. Opportunities in abundance here in Cornwall.
The community field and vegetable garden in south Cornwall, Loveland, is alive with klys all year round. Gathered in waterproofs and wellies, locals plant trees and vegetables as wind whistles through trees and the earthy soil slides away to an ocean horizon.
Finn, Loveland’s coordinator, says: “Klys is that feeling of sharing seasonal food with friends and feeling the warmth of community. I’m always amazed by how many volunteers turn up even when the weather is awful, there’s something special about the fresh air and collectivity.
Image credit: George Brynmor
“We’ve even hosted some group events, including a traditional Cornish Apple Wassail ceremony to bless our community orchard. The winter months are a more restful, recovery period for both the land and growers so there’s more time to chat over tea and biscuits or around a fire.
“We have some winter vegetables growing, like broad beans and garlic, but it’s about nourishing the land to prepare for the growing season.”
After years on the move, the Ugandan-Asian inspired café Situ has opened up a permanent site that oozes sophisticated comfort from the moment you step inside. The brainchild of life partners, Sham and Alexa, there’s a tender attention-to-detail everywhere you look, from the hooks to hang up your coat, to the vases of dry flowers and the community notice board.
“Situ means environment so everything we do is conscious about space, the environment and how it makes our guests feel. We’ve incorporated pockets of autumnal greens and oranges to bring in the nature that our guests love,” Sham says.
“In terms of cosiness and flavours, Situ has warmth running through it. Our masala chai and golden turmeric milk are both naturally very warming drinks, with the spices brought over from India.
Image credit: Kasia Murfet
“Our menu is what we call heritage food, influenced by my own Indian-Ugandan roots. Last week, our featured dish was a hearty dahl and this week it’s a chickpea potato tamarind, which is a soupy curry. We combine traditional recipes and cooking techniques with locally-sourced ingredients to keep reinventing and moving modern cuisine forward.
“Situ brings together all the things that were comforting to me growing up. From the warming flavours and speciality coffee to the welcoming café culture. Hopefully, we can be a comfort to our guests, that’s our dream. That’s what klys means to us.”
From beaches to clifftops, the mobile Olla Hiki Sauna embraces the extremes of the soothing inside and the wild outdoors. Olla Hiki, which means to have a sweat in Finnish, is an immersive experience with an expansive sea view. From the revitalising warmth of the sauna, you can step out directly into nature and, for brave souls, venture into the salty water.
“I really missed sauna culture when I moved from Germany to the UK ten years ago. Especially during the winter months, they warm up your bones and feel extra cosy,” founder Sarah says.
Image credit: Evie Johnstone
“My whole idea is to connect people with their bodies, nature and each other. I want people to step out of the sauna and feel grass or sand under their feet, becoming completely present in the moment surrounded by the dramatic Cornish landscape.
“For me, klys is the feeling of opening up the sauna, lighting the fire with a crackle and looking out to the sea. It’s hearing people begin to chatter and laugh in this shared, safe space. It’s seeing people who arrive tense and leave refreshed. It feels such a beautiful thing to be able to provide.”
Nestled in the rugged landscape of Cornwall’s north coast, Canteen at the Eco Park has the ambiance of a snug living room that welcomes you home at the end of a long day. Its colourful, heart-warming menu experiments with vegetables grown just minutes away on the encircling land.
Chloe, the Canteen’s chef, says: “The space itself is quite like a cottage or ski chalet with its wooden-finish and natural materials. I think we create a feeling of home at Canteen and you can’t get more klys than that.
Image credit: Chloe Knight
“Our menus depend on what’s been grown so we have to be creative. It reminds me of my grandma opening the fridge and whipping something together with the ingredients we have. We always try to be inspired by the upcoming weather so, during the winter months, our meals are especially warming, filling and nourishing.
“Today, we cooked beetroots on the fire, skinned them and made a puree for our beet borani, mixed with cardamom and cumin. We also had spicy rice, flatbread with sweet potato butter, crispy chickpeas, tahini, pickles and our famous mayo potatoes.
“At the heart of Canteen, we say it’s good people, good food. From the first-time customers who become regulars to the close-knit staff community, we’re one big family.”