Seashore Foraging Adventures in Pembrokeshire
Cooking razor clams on the beach, Pembrokeshire by Wild About PembrokeshireFancy hunting for ‘mermaid confetti’ or foraging for fresh razor clams and samphire before cooking up a stormer of a beach barbeque? Pembrokeshire’s incredible coastline is world-renowned for its beautiful beaches; but the area’s best-kept secret is its delicious seashore produce, free for all to try in abundance along the rocks and shores of this stunning wild coast.
Before you set off with just your bucket and spade and sea-air appetite for company, find out more about the recipes and history of food foraging in the area and some insider tips from the local experts in the Visit Wales #YearoftheSea.
Llys Meddyg, the historic doctor’s surgery- turned boutique hotel and restaurant in Newport, Pembs, has established its reputation on its approachable service and fine local, seasonal food. Hotel owner Ed Sykes also runs short courses in foraging from Llys Meddyg, where guests and visitors can join him on private trips finding - and cooking - the best local produce served up on the restaurant menu. Popular sessions with Llys Meddyg include hunting for razor clams on sandy beaches, followed by a delicious cook-off back at the hotel. Of course, foraging is a seasonal pursuit, but Llys Meddyg has a variety of courses running throughout the year. In spring, foragers can expect to find sea beet, sea kale and razor clam. In summer, sea buckthorn berries, rock samphire, marsh samphire and sea purslane. Autumn brings razor clam, seaweed, sea buckthorn berries and even in the depths of winter produce is abundant, with cockles, mussels, oysters, winkles and sea spinach all on the menu.
In the south of the county (which is home to the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, the only national park in the UK established primarily because of the coastline) the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company is bringing the ancient practice of seaweed foraging and drying back to the masses with its innovative, award-winning recipes and products.
A single preserved seaweed drying hut on the windswept grassy dunes of Freshwater West serves as a reminder of the area’s history of seaweed foraging, which some say dates back to the time of the Vikings, but Johnathan Williams, owner of the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, has brought seaweed back to the 21st Century with a bang.
Foraging for seaweed, Pembrokeshire by Pembrokeshire Beach Food companyThe company’s team of ‘mermaid’ seaweed pickers source seaweed directly from the rock pools of Freshwater West, and the team’s range of seasonings like Welshman’s Caviar (dried flakes of seaweed seasoning) and Mermaid Confetti (toasted laver seaweed with Halen Môn sea salt crystals) have proven a huge hit and is stocked in high-end delis and food stores throughout the UK. Their range of foraged food and drink continues to grow with Welsh Sea Black Butter, Captain Cat’s Mor Seasoning, Barti Ddu’s Rum and Cwrwgl (Welsh seaweed beer).
Cafe Môr, Pembrokeshire by Pembrokeshire Beach Food CompanyFor the freshest taste of Pembrokeshire seafood head to Cafe Môr, a beach shack run by the Pembrokeshire Beach Food company right on Freshwater West itself from April- September. Powered by solar and wind energy, this is where you can try their famous Pembrokeshire lobster rolls - meat from half a lobster in a lightly toasted roll served with Welsh Black Sea Butter. And if you’re hungry after a long day surfing at ‘Freshwest’, the Cafe Môr burger – a 5oz burger made with 100 percent Welsh beef and laverbread (Welsh seaweed) in a lightly toasted chunky white roll with bacon, home-made pickles, cheese, Welsh Sea black butter and home-made ‘Kelpchup’ - is sure to hit the spot.
Inspired to try some seashore foraging yourself? Don’t head out without checking the Wild About Pembrokeshire website first which includes some handy tips on the dos and don’ts of foraging.
Wild About Pembrokeshire foraging trip, Pembrokeshire by Wild About PembrokeshireThe website also includes some taster recipes from the Pembrokeshire coastline’s bounty; rock samphire, watermelon and tomato salad would be the ideal side dish for some flame-cooked fish in the summer, or a lentil, vegetable and seaweed stew for a coastal winter-warmer. Based in the tiny cathedral city of St Davids, Wild About Pembrokeshire also run guided trips, and now include a special children’s seashore foraging and beach-fire course to celebrate the Year of the Sea.
Little beach combers will love the chance to collect and get up close with seaweed, molluscs and seashore plants before learning how to prepare, cook and eat the wild ingredients over the campfire; an experience sure to inspire the next generation of seashore foragers.