Although the produce I’ve sampled recently has differed greatly in its nature – smoked fish, terrines, Wagyu beef, mince pies, tea and real ales to name a few - the one thing it all has in common is the extremely high quality of both the raw Welsh ingredients and the finished products.
We all tend to buy something a little bit special or different at Christmas so now is the ideal time to try something new, something Welsh, and to support a local food producer. There are hundreds of small businesses across Wales producing top quality food and drink. There are thousands of fabulous products available, which would make ideal gifts for friends and family such as chocolates, preserves, cheeses, wine, liqueurs and real ales.
Wales can also provide all the ingredients needed for a wonderful Christmas feast. Starters could include smoked coracle caught salmon or sewin, dressed crab, pates and terrines or charcuterie products, while there is free range organic turkey available for the traditional main course or, for something a bit different, Welsh lamb or beef accompanied by all the trimmings.
There is also plenty of choice for dessert whether that be Christmas pudding, luxury ice creams, confectionary or cakes which could be followed by a selection of excellent Welsh cheeses, accompanied by Welsh savoury biscuits and the best quality Welsh butter. All these products, naturally washed down with Welsh ales, ciders wines and mineral water, would be welcome at the best of Christmas tables.
Buying locally grown and produced food and drink doesn’t only support the local economy and keep local people in jobs, it’s a much more environmentally friendly way to shop and guarantees freshness as the distance from field to plate is much smaller. It can also result in affordable prices as the costs associated with transporting the goods are lower when the distance they’ve travelled is shorter.
The Welsh Government support Welsh food producers through a number of initiatives. The Processing and Marketing Grant helps producers turn the raw ingredients into value added products, while the Supply Chain Efficiencies Scheme helps businesses along the supply chain to be more profitable. We are also working to put producers in touch with supermarkets and fine food stores.
The Wales the True Taste brand is synonymous with flavour and quality and is an excellent marketing tool for food and drink producers. The True Taste Awards are helping the public to identify products of the highest quality and encouraging them to try and buy different foods and drinks. The Wales the True Taste website is also an excellent place for consumers to get information about great Welsh products, stockists and places to eat.
The more I travel around the country visiting producers and tasting their products the more convinced I am of the wonderful quality and flavour of Welsh food. Wales really is producing wonderful food and drink. Why not give it a go this Christmas?