Gwynedd: A striking combination of mountains, countryside and coast - these wide open spaces are the perfect place for producing natural, fresh and delicious food and drink. The producers all manage to make the most of all that Gwynedd has to offer. Everyone has an interesting tale to tell.
Gwynedd like whole of Wales is full of secret treasures and its food producers are no exception. The quality of the area's beef and lamb is no secret, with lush pastures and the proximity of the sea giving the meat a unique character, recognized by the Protected Geographical Indication.
For many this region is essence of Welsh produce. Welsh lamb is famous world wide and it does not come any sweeter than from Snowdonia fresh upper pastures to a more delicate flavour from the coast, the source of salt marsh lamb which is produced on the Mawddach, Dwyryd and Glaslyn estuary. Also famous is the Welsh Black beef produced especially on hill slopes such as in the Ardudwy, Meirionnydd area. There is also taste of the sea - take your pick from delicious Menai oysters and mussels, Aberdaron crab and lobster to all manner of fish including mackerel, sea bass, salmon and sewin. Gwynedd is surrounded by sea from the Bangor in the North to the Llyn Peninsula and down to Aberdyfi.
We have plenty of opportunities to experience natural tastes of many flowers and wild herbs, cranberries on the bogs of Eifionydd, blueberries (llus) on the Rhiniog mountains or honey from the heather moorlands.
That Gwynedd's beer is superb should come as no surprise, with the multi-award winning Purple Moose Brewery produced in Porthmadog. The Lleyn Peninsula is rightly famed for its seafood, with both high-end eateries and casual, seasonal restaurants serving the best of the local catch. But it's not only traditional produce that Gwynedd excels in; producers of rarer items such as exotic mushrooms also flourish here, as the Nantmor The Mushroom Garden will testify. From the familiar and traditional, to the new and alternative, the quality and range of Gwynedd's food is amazing.
Good food hospitality. chefs can take their pick from the large ladder of local produce which includes lamb, beef, pork, fish, shellfish, vegetables, cheeses, jams, preserves, cakes, chocolate, drink and beer. There are talented chefs at work catering for all tastes they serve everything from a sophisticated modern dishes cooked in a lighter style to delicious and more traditional families favourites. Shops, markets and kitchens throughout the area are committed to give the customer a true taste. Peter Jackson, Chef Patron and Chairman of The Welsh National Culinary Team who runs the Maes-y-Neuadd Hotel near Harlech is a leading example that changes his menus daily due to local seasonal produce that is available. Why not taste the dishes for yourself and visit the number of cafes/restaurant that serves local dishes such at the Caban, Brynrefail/Pen-y-Pass, Tafarn y Plu, Llanystymdwy, Tafarn Yr Eagles, Llanuwchllyn, Bwyty Mawddach, Llanelltyd, Taro Deg, Pwllheli, Caffi Gwynant, Nant Gwynant and Y Daflod, Llithfaen.
Where to Buy: You can buy local produce direct from some of the producers or visit the Dolgellau country market every Thursday (at The Free Library, behind HSBC 9.00 am – 11.45 am) or Dolgellau market 3rd Saturday every month. Also visit the Porthmadog Local Produce Markets lst Saturday of every month (9.30-2.00pm) or the Farmers Market held at Glasfryn Park every 1st Saturday of every month (March-December). There are also number of local shops that sell a good selection of local produce such as the delis (Y Bwtri at Pwllheli & Porthmadog) to the Spar at Pwllheli and the Euro Spar at Dolgellau and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
© Prif lun / Main image © Ray Wood Lluniau bach / Small images: Mêl Mawddach; Village Veg © J Euron Jones
It tastes better - First and foremost local food tastes great.
It's fresher and healthier - Because local food has not had to travel far to reach you, it is likely to be fresher and healthier – nutrient levels start to fall as soon as fruit and veg are harvested.
Cut Food Miles - With food also travelling far fewer miles the carbon footprint of your meal is also greatly reduced - the distance that food travels from its source to your plate. This means a reduction in the need for road and air transport, with all its associated pollution and CO2 emissions which contribute to global warming.
It can help cut packaging - Buying from a Farmers' or other Local Market, or ordering veg through a box scheme, can help to cut wasteful packaging and all its associated transport costs.
It's good for the local economy - If you buy local food direct from a local producer, market, or through an independent local shop, then you are helping to keep money circulating in the local economy. You are also helping to preserve all the local facilities needed by these small businesses. Supermarkets do not need these local services, and most of the money spent in them quickly leaves the local area. Buying local also supports local farmers and producers, who provide much needed employment and contribute to the Gwynedd way of life.
It can be cheaper - Cut out the middleman and buying direct from the farmer can be cheaper. The farmer usually doesn't have to factor in advertising and packaging costs, not to mention cross-country shipping costs to his products
Sampling local dishes will give you insight into the culture and history of the area.
Awareness of food provenance: Knowing that the produce has been reared or grown within a few miles also adds some satisfaction. When you shop at a farmer's market, you can ask important questions about how your food was grown and how it was transported to market.
Eating with the seasons: Buying and cooking with the seasons means tasting the food when it is at its best, and most full of goodness. Seasonal food is fresher and so tends to be tastier and more nutritious. Even when a food is in season its quality can vary dramatically. Food produced locally, e.g. bought from a farmers' market, is likely to be a lot fresher than its supermarket equivalent. Meat produced with respect for the animals concerned will inevitably be far superior to intensively-reared animals that are likely to have spent pitiful lives in abhorrent conditions.
What we want to achieve: You can find out where to buy some of Gwynedd's local produce by using the local produce link on the map page. It will help you locate the region's wide diversity of local food and drink producers across the county which have been proactive in promoting their products since 2009 through one of the county's Rural Development Plan projects. You may even be tempted to make a purchase and take a part of Gwynedd home with you. Priority is also given to the winners of Gwynedd's taste & talent Awards - The Gwynedd Taste & Talent awards aims to promote the people behind the best food, drink, arts and crafts in Gwynedd - from the farmer and the brewer to the potter and the artist.