Great Welsh food: The best possible taste

The Welsh food and drink scene has never been in better shape. We’ve got hundreds of traditional artisan producers who’ve been doing their thing for generations, joined by lots of newcomers full of bright ideas.

  • The Foxhunter, Nantyderry
    The Foxhunter, Nantyderry, Wye Valley

    The capital of Welsh grub is undoubtedly Abergavenny. The fabulous Abergavenny Food Festival takes over the whole town in September, and there’s a brilliant marketthe Walnut Tree, The Hardwick and The Foxhunter to name but three.

  • Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, near Conwy
    Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, near Conwy

    The £6.5m Bodnant Welsh Food Centre is a culinary centre of excellence, set in old stone farm buildings on the Bodnant Estate near Conwy and showcasing the very best artisan food that Wales has to offer. There’s a farm shop, tea room, restaurant, dairy, bakery and a cookery school – and they all use homegrown produce from the estate itself, local farms, and from around Wales.

  • Oysters, a slice of lemon and bottle of tabasco sauce in ice.
    Anglesey oysters

    The Menai Strait produces some of Britain’s very best mussels and oysters, a fact which is celebrated at the annual Anglesey Oyster & Welsh Produce Festival, where they’re usually accompanied by lashings of champagne. 

    A mug of strong tea is the preferred partner of a South Walian’s favourite breakfast: cockles and laverbread, fried up with salty local bacon. You’ll find this on most local breakfast menus, or buy your own ingredients in markets at places like Swansea, Llanelli and Carmarthen.

  • A local brew

    Otley Ale
    Otley Ale

    There’s been a remarkable explosion in Welsh microbreweries over the last few years. Traditional names like Brain’s and Felinfoel have been joined by fast-growing upstarts like Otley and Evan Evans, and a whole load of leftfield artisan brewers like Bullmastiff, Jacobi, Pipes, Purple Moose, and The Kite. But the biggest splash has been made by Tiny Rebel, a funky Newport-based outfit who swept the board at the 2013 Great Welsh Cider and Beer Festival and have opened their own Urban Tap House in Cardiff.

  • Welsh mussels
    Welsh mussels

    Pembrokeshire Fish Week is an annual celebration of everything fishy, packed with more than 150 events for families, foodies, beach-lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, anglers… well, everyone. It happens just about everywhere, too – the whole county goes fish-festival crazy for a week in late June/early July.

  • E

    Sand bar

    Porthdinllaen, Llyn Peninsula
    Porthdinllaen, Llyn Peninsula

    It’s not the easiest pub to reach. Unless you have a permit to drive into the tiny National Trust-owned village of Porthdinllaen, you have to walk. But what a walk! A spectacular 20-minute stroll along the beach or clifftops (your choice) brings you to the Tŷ Coch Inn, a friendly boozer set on a sandy beach, yards from the sea. It’s no wonder that in a recent survey of the top ten beach bars in the world, the Tŷ Coch Inn came in the top three.

  • Aberaeron
    Aberaeron harbour, Ceredigion

    The county of Ceredigion has some of our best farming country backed by a cracking coastline. More importantly, the county is packed with passionate food producers, around 30 of whom have come together to create Taste Trail Ceredigion. This epic foodie journey takes in flour mills, organic vegetable producers, chocolatiers, cheese-makers, foragers, crab fishers and a brewery. People who love food, basically.

  • Cheese at Wright's food emporium
    Wright’s Independent Food Emporium, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire 

    Imagine if all your home cooking turned out brilliantly, every time. Every cake perfectly risen, every meat meltingly tender. That’s what it’s like at Wright’s Independent Food Emporium near Carmarthen, where chef Maryann Wright and her food critic husband Simon turn out consistently fabulous food at their café-deli. They also do monthly dinners with big-name chefs, if you can bag a table before they sell out.

This article is featured in Wales View 2014, download a pdf version or request a free postal copy.