Great Welsh produce: a recipe for success
You hear a lot about the food in places like Sonoma and Napa in California, but I honestly believe that what we’re doing in Wales at the moment is as good as anywhere in the world.
Perhaps the biggest change in the last 10 years is the public’s knowledge of food. People have a hunger for traceability and sustainability, the pedigree and heritage of things. We’re very proud to support local producers, and we’ve got a very personal relationship with the people who supply the restaurant.
A selection of meats from Trealy Farm, MonmouthFor instance, we’ve got fantastic relationships with Trealy Farm, who do the most brilliant charcuterie, and Cothi Valley goats’ cheese , whose halloumi and feta-style cheeses are outstanding.
Wrights Food Emporium, CarmarthenshireWe’re all helping each other, and that gives me a great pleasure, especially after spending so long in London: there’s nothing you can’t get there, but there’s very little local produce, for obvious reasons. It’s different in Wales, and we’re proud to put our suppliers’ names on our menu.
There’s a definite cluster of good food places here in Monmouthshire and across into Powys, but that’s mainly because of the geography: we’re in a convenient corner of South East Wales, close to Cardiff, with a lot of people coming through on their way west. But actually, there are lovely little pockets of good food all over the country. The Harbourmaster is a beacon in Aberaeron, then there’s the Ultracomida delicatessen in Narberth and Aberystwyth, the Druidstone Hotel down in South Pembrokeshire, and Wright’s Independent Food Emporium near Carmarthen.
The Perfect Meal
A selection of Welsh Salmon dishesIf I had to choose one meal, it would have to be wild Welsh salmon. It’s incredible. I’d have it with some samphire and lovely little Pembrokeshire new potatoes. I’d fry up a little dry-cured local bacon to mix with my spuds, and add some of Tŷ Mawr’s red spring onions, and some Halen Môn sea salt (which is the world’s best salt, incidentally).
I’d wash it down with some wine from Ancre Hill Estates in Monmouth. They won the best sparkling white in the world last year, at an international competition in Italy, against some of the best champagnes in the world. They also do a beautiful sparkling rosé, some amazing pinot noir, and they’ve planted some albariño grapes which will be coming through in 2015. I can’t wait.
This article is featured in Wales View 2014, download a pdf version or request a free postal copy.