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I'm heading to Wales in a week's time: What are some of the delicious indigenous foods I must try while there? A top five would be helpful, anything from a very special tomato to a very sinful dessert.

It varies by region (particuarly North and South). Where are you going?

Edited by Richard_D (log)
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I'm heading to Wales in a week's time: What are some of the delicious indigenous foods I must try while there? A top five would be helpful, anything from a very special tomato to a very sinful dessert.

It does depend on where you're heading. Saltmarsh lamb is indeed a must and you'll be hitting it at a good time too. There's great shellfish on the west coast but you'll need to almost grab it off the boat as so much of it heads for France and Spain...Aberaeron is a good place to be for that both in respect of the fishmongers "Fish on the Quay" and the restaurant of the Harbourmaster Hotel. I'd be looking for ultra-fresh mackerel and crab too.

Welsh Black Beef can be excellent, but it varies hugely depending on its provenance. It's worth noting that there's more Welsh Black sold than is actually produced.

Gower or Pembrokeshire new potatoes can be excellent. If you're going anywhere near Carmarthen you should stop at Albert Rees in Carmarthen Market and get some "Carmarthen Ham" which is air-dried. Less creamy and saltier than serrano for instance but delicious all the same and surprisingly good crisped up under the grill. They also make their own butter and fantastic bacon, all of which will require you to drink plenty of whatever your tipple is, you ought to at least rty laverbread which will have the same effect. Which brings us to beer - there are quite a few smallish Welsh brewers producing some good real ales. Again it it depends where you are going.

If you can give more of an idea of your itinerary I'll try and be of more help. Do you want recommandations for eating out?

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Excellent suggestions, thanks very much. Here is my itinerary more or less...We'll be starting in Abergavenny, then into the Black Mountains and onto Gwent levels for some coastal foraging. Apparently we'll lunch at The Foxhunter which is meant to be good. Then on to Llangoed Hall in the Wye Valley, Brecon, Llanwytd Wells, Drovers Rest Restaurant, Ewephoria, a canal trip along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Snowdonia National Park, and a couple of nights at the West Arms Hotel. Should I be excited? It sounds like we'll be eating a lot of lamb. I'll be sure to try some crab and local butter and Black beef and potatoes, and of course, ales. I'm going in a week.

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Laverbread - actually a concoction of seaweed - would be the obvious thing to look out for.

Otherwise I concur that it is difficult to think of uniquely welsh foods or dishes to speak of - a good Cawl (broth/stew) maybe or griddle cakes. Otherwise enjoy the scenery and the castles! I always find Dolbadarn in the Llanberis pass particularly wistful.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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We went to Wales in 2004 and stayed at a country inn outside Dolgellau on the southern end of Snowdonia National Park. We took all our breakfast and dinners at the Inn, Dolserau Hall the whole week and the food was splendid. Since the owners were English the food was probably not pure Welsh but a mixture. Yes, lamb was common with many meals. How can you avoid it?

There are probably more sheep than people in Wales. Our inn was surrounded by pasture and when we climbed Cadair Idris mountain we encountered sheep grazing near the peak. To prep give our slide show tour of Wales a spin at...

http://web.mac.com/davydd/iWeb/Site/Wales.html

It might give you some more visit ideas. Wales is a hidden gem especially Snowdonia.

Davydd

It is just an Anglicized Welsh spelling for David to celebrate my English/Welsh ancestry. The Welsh have no "v" in their alphabet or it would be spelled Dafydd.

I must warn you. My passion is the Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Now blogging: Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Blog

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Not sure if it will fit in with your timetable but in a few weeks there's the Abergavenny Food Festival. :wink:

I haven't been for years but in Llanberis (at the bottom of Snowdon) is Pete's Eats - a greasy spoon caff that was famed for offering vegetarian/vegan versions of its breakfasts. If the weather is bad, its not a bad place to spend time drinking tea.

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Sewin (wild sea trout) is very good at the moment. Freshly boiled cockles fried in bacon fat with bacon and laverbread cakes make a traditional breakfast.

Traditional baking is still very common in Wales, especially in smaller towns, Look out for Bara Brith, a fruit loaf made with tea, and yeasted breads cooked on a griddle.

Finally there is a lot of good cheese coming out of Wales. Llangofan is a widely available Caerphilly-like cheese. Teifi is made using a Gouda-like process. Perl Las is a lovely blue.

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I'm heading to Wales in a week's time: What are some of the delicious indigenous foods I must try while there? A top five would be helpful, anything from a very special tomato to a very sinful dessert.

If you're going anywhere near Carmarthen you should stop at Albert Rees in Carmarthen Market and get some "Carmarthen Ham" which is air-dried. Less creamy and saltier than serrano for instance but delicious all the same and surprisingly good crisped up under the grill.

Carmarthen market is a pale shadow of what it was but still worth a detour - apart from Albert Rees , the fishmonger next door to them is great for Sewin and for really fresh Newquay (Ceredigion) or Aberaeron landed mackerel. There is also an excellent cheese stall with loads of local cheeses (run by a really enthusiastic Dutch woman). She'll have both Perl Las and Perl Wen in various states of ripeness , and Gorwydd caerphilly (actually from near Tregaron) as well a good choice of local goats cheese.

Swansea market is the place for laverbread (and for cockles). As you head further north , look out for excellent mussles from the Menai straits.

If you pass through Aberaeron try the honey ice cream at the Hive on the Quay. (and check out Ffynon Las vineyard).

In Lampeter , you'll find Conti's , an old fashioned "Brachi" , that still makes its own ice cream. (Directly across from Conti's, there is "y Popty" , a bakers that makes excellent Bara Brith and good Welshcakes).

Mario's (of Swansea) make good ice cream that is widely distributed. Franks (Ammanford), Cadwalader (Criccieth) and Llanfaes Dairy (Brecon) are other good ice cream makers. Look out also for La Belle Rouge , who make a water buffalo icecream near Aberystwyth.

You should certainly try Penderyn (a Welsh single malt whisky) and Brecon gin. You might also want to try Danzy Jones , a revival of a traditional style of whisky liqueur . (avoid Toffoc - the toffe flavoured vodka though).

Somewhere along the line fit in a pint of Brains mild, a pint of Felinfoel Double Dragon and a pint of Reverend James. There is a real revival in Welsh cider going on - look out particularly for the three ciders (and a perry) from Gwynt Y Ddraig, cider and perry from Seidr Dai and cider from Toloja.

Gethin

PS, I probably ought not to admit it, but I also really like Braces welshcakes with rasberry jam - stick them in the microwave for 30 seconds - but be careful not to scald your mouth with boiling jam as you bite iinto them. You can get them in most co-op shops .

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I'm heading to Wales in a week's time: What are some of the delicious indigenous foods I must try while there? A top five would be helpful, anything from a very special tomato to a very sinful dessert.

If you're going anywhere near Carmarthen you should stop at Albert Rees in Carmarthen Market and get some "Carmarthen Ham" which is air-dried. Less creamy and saltier than serrano for instance but delicious all the same and surprisingly good crisped up under the grill.

Carmarthen market is a pale shadow of what it was but still worth a detour - apart from Albert Rees , the fishmonger next door to them is great for Sewin and for really fresh Newquay (Ceredigion) or Aberaeron landed mackerel. There is also an excellent cheese stall with loads of local cheeses (run by a really enthusiastic Dutch woman). She'll have both Perl Las and Perl Wen in various states of ripeness , and Gorwydd caerphilly (actually from near Tregaron) as well a good choice of local goats cheese.

Swansea market is the place for laverbread (and for cockles). As you head further north , look out for excellent mussles from the Menai straits.

If you pass through Aberaeron try the honey ice cream at the Hive on the Quay. (and check out Ffynon Las vineyard).

In Lampeter , you'll find Conti's , an old fashioned "Brachi" , that still makes its own ice cream. (Directly across from Conti's, there is "y Popty" , a bakers that makes excellent Bara Brith and good Welshcakes).

Mario's (of Swansea) make good ice cream that is widely distributed. Franks (Ammanford), Cadwalader (Criccieth) and Llanfaes Dairy (Brecon) are other good ice cream makers. Look out also for La Belle Rouge , who make a water buffalo icecream near Aberystwyth.

You should certainly try Penderyn (a Welsh single malt whisky) and Brecon gin. You might also want to try Danzy Jones , a revival of a traditional style of whisky liqueur . (avoid Toffoc - the toffe flavoured vodka though).

Somewhere along the line fit in a pint of Brains mild, a pint of Felinfoel Double Dragon and a pint of Reverend James. There is a real revival in Welsh cider going on - look out particularly for the three ciders (and a perry) from Gwynt Y Ddraig, cider and perry from Seidr Dai and cider from Toloja.

Gethin

PS, I probably ought not to admit it, but I also really like Braces welshcakes with rasberry jam - stick them in the microwave for 30 seconds - but be careful not to scald your mouth with boiling jam as you bite iinto them. You can get them in most co-op shops .

Cheese (hopefully raw?), mackerel, cockles, bacon, whiskey, gin, cider, and jammy welshcakes sided by a scoop of water buffalo ice cream. That's all I'm eating for the next week. Can't wait. Actually, although much of this sounds like comfort food, it'll be downright exotic to me.

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Further to Gethin's excellent post...

This information is based on life in Ceredigion in the mid-late 1990s (so don't take it as Gospel)...

But there was also a good foodie shop in Aberaeron that specialised in the local produce - from cheese, through Ty Nant, to the local white wine. Worth a visit if it's still there...

I'd definitely have a look at Conti's in Lampeter for a taste of a 1950s Italian-Welsh ice-cream parlour, and try their Vanilla flavour (the one and only on offer, as Old Mr. Conti wouldn't countenance different flavours). I'd be more wary about eating there though, based on past experience!

Fecci's ice-cream parlour in Tenby is similarly evocative; you'll also find relatively good pub-food in Tenby, as well as beautiful beaches and a charming little old fishing town.

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Further to Gethin's excellent post...

This information is based on life in Ceredigion in the mid-late 1990s (so don't take it as Gospel)...

But there was also a good foodie shop in Aberaeron that specialised in the local produce - from cheese, through Ty Nant, to the local white wine.  Worth a visit if it's still there...

I'd definitely have a look at Conti's in Lampeter for a taste of a 1950s Italian-Welsh ice-cream parlour, and try their Vanilla flavour (the one and only on offer, as Old Mr. Conti wouldn't countenance different flavours).  I'd be more wary about eating there though, based on past experience! 

The shop in Aberaeron us still there , as indeed , is old Mr Conti !

Conti's certainly has the best coffee and the best ice cream in Lampeter. For anything more substantial there is always Lloyds fish and chip shop, Sospan Fach (especially notable for their home cooked ham) and the Castle Green.

(Feeling far too tired for Sunday lunch yesterday, I settled for two portions of apple pie doused in calvados and served with a good dollop of Conti's vanilla ! Kept me going till I got back to London).

gethin

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