When it comes to Welsh food, traditional favourites like its world-famous lamb, cockles and laverbread often top the must-have lists. But with Wales’ food and drink sector growing at pace, and a new generation of independent food and drink producers driving that evolution, the country’s gastronomic endeavors have never been so exciting, or so diverse. So, what are the best brands and products coming out of Wales that you need to know about?
Wye Valley Gin, Silver Circle Distillery
As the first distillery to open in Monmouthshire in 2018, Silver Circle Distillery, owned by husband and wife duo Joe and Nina Howden, wanted their first product launch to be synonymous with the Wye Valley, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales that they call home. Aptly named Wye Valley Gin, this tipple is inspired by woodland walks and panoramic views of the Wye Valley. Its botanicals, which are foraged in local woodland by Nina and Joe, include sweet woodruff, elderflower, blackberry leaf, mugwort, scots pine and linden flowers, giving it an earthy, forest flavour.
Wye Valley Gin 70cl, £40, available to buy at https://silvercircledistillery.com/
Bara Brith chocolate, Coco Pzazz
Powys based Coco Pzazz chocolatiers Bara Brith bar is the perfect St David’s Day treat. Inspired by the traditional Welsh Tea Bread, Coco Pzazz pays homage to this Welsh classic with a blend of fine, sustainably grown milk chocolate, dried fruit and the unmistakable palate of mixed cooking spices. And it’s not slouching on its environmental creds either, not only are the ingredients sustainably produced, the packaging consists of FSC certified card and a compostable bio-film bag.
Bara Brith chocolate bar, £3.29, available to buy in farm shops, delis and independent retailers across Wales and the borders, or www.cocopzazz.co.uk
2018 Vintage Solaris, Montgomery Vineyard
From Montgomery Powys, mid-Wales, the Lennard family have crafted a unique white wine that is delicate to the palate. Using the Solaris grape variety gives this wine aromas of pear and tropical notes on the nose. This wine is currently being served in top restaurant Michelin Star restaurant Ynyshir Machynlleth and The Marram Grass Anglesey. Montgomery Vineyard pride themselves on being quintessentially Welsh and have recently won the 2019 Welsh Wine Association Competition trophy for the best wine in the competition.”
2018 Vintage Solaris, available to buy from https://www.dylanwad.com/ 01341 422 870 for £18.80 or contact Montgomery Vineyard 01686 670 301.
Traditional Oak Smoked Salmon, Black Mountains Smokery
Nestled away in the hills of the spectacular Brecon Beacons, Black Mountains Smokery use traditional smoking techniques in modern custom-made kilns to either hot or cold smoke their produce, from cheese to duck. Their Traditional Oak Smoked Salmon is made from fresh superior grade fillets of salmon, dry cured on a bed of salt and gently cold smoked over Welsh oak chips. Firm fleshed and delicious. Pair with a chilled white wine of your choice.
Traditional Oak Smoked Salmon (available as sliced packs or unsliced slides) range from £7 to £49.95, available to buy on www.smoked-foods.co.uk or 01873 811566
Pink Gin Marmalade, Radnor Preserves
If you want to start your day with a kick, give Radnor Preserves’ Hand-Cut Pink Gin Marmalade a try. This zesty spread, which won the Sweet Preserve Category of the Great British Food Awards 2018, is made with pink grapefruit and infused with Brecon Botanicals Gin and a splash of Angostura bitters. It’s just one in a range of exciting and innovative flavours from the Heart of Wales producer.
Pink Gin Marmalade, £5.29, available to buy on Ocado https://www.ocado.com/products/radnor-preserves-pink-gin-marmalade-430768011
Wild Garlic Sea Salt, Pembrokeshire Sea Salt
Pembrokeshire Sea Salt hand harvest their salt from the crystal-clear waters of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. This product is then imbued with the vibrant colour, heady aroma and delicious taste of wild garlic, foraged seasonally from the producer’s own garden or nearest woodland walk. Sprinkle liberally over some Pembrokeshire Earlies, alongside some Welsh spring lamb.
Wild Garlic Sea Salt (70g), £5.50, available from delicatessens in south Wales and on www.pembrokeshireseasalt.co.uk
Black Gold No 3, Coaltown Coffee
This specialty coffee roastery, based in the old mining town of Ammanford in Carmarthenshire, prides itself on its ethical and sustainability practices, while also offering job opportunities for local people through its business academy programme. The Black Gold No 3 kick started things for Coaltown Coffee and is an easy-drinking crowd pleaser. The hand roasted blend has a rich espresso zing, with a chocolatey biscuit base.
Black Gold No 3, £7.50, available to buy at https://www.coaltowncoffee.co.uk/
Pwll Mawr, Blaenafon Cheddar Company
Pwll Mawr (which translates to ‘Big Pit’) mature cheddar gives a nod to Blaenafon’s industrial coal mining heritage. Just 20 minutes from the Blaenafon Cheddar Company shop, the family run firm age their cheddar at the bottom of a mine shaft 300ft below ground, giving the creamy cheddar a distinctive flavour. A chunk of Blaenafon history all wrapped up in a signature velvety black wax.
Pwll Mawr, £5, available to buy at https://www.chunkofcheese.co.uk/
Honey & Hops, Wye Valley Meadery
Wye Valley Meadery is a small, family run craft business founded by two brothers who have combined their love of nature with an interest in brewing. The pair have taken what is perhaps the world’s oldest known recreational beverage - mead - which has been around for over 8,000 years and given it a modern twist. In their award-winning Honey & Hops mead, as well as honey from their own bees, you’ll find a zesty and floral flavour - the perfect example of where craft beer meets mead - and we must say they get along very well.
Honey & Hops, available to buy in a 6-bottle selection for £20 at https://www.wyevalleymeadery.co.uk/
Canned Spring Water, Radnor Hills
To embrace environmentally conscious packaging, Powys soft drinks manufacturer Radnor Hills have launched a canned spring water range. Their pure spring water is sourced from the family farm in Powys, mid-Wales, where it takes just 7 minutes to filter from the ground into a can, while the new aluminium can is sourced less than 65 miles away from Radnor Hills HQ. The family business is striving for eco-friendly produce elsewhere in its range, with plastic products boasting 51% RPET meaning the plastic used for the bottles is already 51% recycled.
Canned Spring Water, from 72p per can, available at https://www.radnorhills.co.uk/shop/
For more information go to https://businesswales.gov.wales/foodanddrink/
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