Local Food Flourishes at West Wales Food Fair

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Good food at the West Wales Food Festival come fair weather or foul.

Good food at the West Wales Food Festival come fair weather or foul.

Munching on a venison burger from Sam’s Meat Roast, originating from the other, northern side of the Tywi Valley in Taliaris, I left the West Wales Food Festival last Sunday as the grey clouds released yet another downpour onto the venue, the National Botanic Garden, Llanarthne. The big surprise for me was the big international influence, from ‘The Spanish Buffet’ to ‘Rasoi Indian Kitchen’, the first from Pontypridd and the second from Swansea.

Aromas of India: Rasoi from Pontlliw, Swansea.

Aromas of India: Rasoi from Pontlliw, Swansea.

The Spanish Buffet’s paellas, hams and Mediterranean-inspired dishes are delivered to customers’ doors and to parties and events large and small. Rasoi Indian Kitchen has customers come to them, at their restaurant in Pontlliw, serving “traditional Indian flavours with a modern Welsh twist”, the twist including Welsh lamb. Rasoi, finalist in the Welsh Curry House Awards 2013, spiced up the food fair with delicate aromas.

Whisky is probably not the first product to come to mind when you think of Welsh beverages, but Penderyn wysgi, distilled at Penderyn north of Hirwaun, combines a rich, mellow taste with a welcome kick on a cold day. The stand was very popular! Hirwaun itself is the home of Taylors’ Welsh potato crisps, made using Wales-grown potatoes. The fiery taste of beef and horseradish matches the golden dragon on the packet.

So far, so international, but the interesting tastes from even closer to Llanarthne included meat-free sausages from Contempo Catering’s VDeli range, which has joined the traditional range of cakes and other bakery goods supplied for parties and other events. Lisa Rees’s Contempo Catering is at Llangain, south-west of Carmarthen.

Just over the Carmarthenshire boundary in Ceredigion, at Glynarthen, Llandysul, there is Chocolate Fusion, an artisan chocolate factory, opened in 2012. Wales cannot yet produce cocoa beans but other ingredients are local and the chocolate can be ordered online. Luxurious.

Sarah Jones of Cnwd, Cross Hands: smoked fish caught from coracles and many other fresh local ingredients.

Sarah Jones of Cnwd, Cross Hands: smoked fish caught from coracles and many other fresh local ingredients.

Only a mile or two from Llanarthne, at Cross Hands, is Cnwd, producing smoked salmon, sea trout and mackerel, and terrines and pâtés using local pork, chicken and venison, besides fish. West Wales chef Scott Davis creates the recipes.

The Little Welsh Deli from Grovesend, Swansea: amazing iced cakes and lots more.

The Little Welsh Deli from Grovesend, Swansea: amazing iced cakes and lots more.

Down the road in Grovesend, Swansea, Clare Phillips’ Little Welsh Deli cooks cakes and pasties, including amazing iced cakes for special occasions, and treats like rocky road and seeded muesli bars.

Wales has great food and drink, and the food fair is an ideal way to taste a great deal of it. Just as well that the venison from Sam’s Meat Roast is extremely lean, because the temptation to eat too much is overwhelming.

by Pat Dodd Racher

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