Christmas in Wales this year is going to be very different to other years.
Many consumers have also rediscovered a love of local this year with one recent survey showing that six in ten of us turned to local stores and services to support us through the first COVID-19 lockdown (Deloitte).
As local food and drink producers kept us fed during the first half of the year, experts are calling on people across Wales to return that support and buy Welsh this Christmas.
And even with the prospect of COVID-19 restrictions still in place, 13% of adults in the UK are already looking forward to this year’s celebrations more than previous years (YouGov) and 11% of people expect to spend the extra time at home doing more cooking from scratch (YouGov).
So, the food innovation experts at ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Met University have come up with a guide for creating the perfect Welsh Christmas feast.
Here are some ideas for how to fill your Christmas dinner table with Welsh food and drink produce:
To start - smoked salmon and an aperitif
- Smoked salmon – Black Mountains Smokery, Powys – Using only traditional curing methods and a smoking process which involves smouldering Welsh oak smoke, Black Mountains Smokery have recently been awarded two Gold Stars in the Great Taste Awards 2020 for their traditional oak smoked salmon.
- Gin – Hensol Castle Distillery, Rhondda Cynon Taf – Located in the cellars of Pontyclun’s Grade 1 Listed Hensol Castle, it’s a place steeped in history and heritage. Their Benjamin Hall gin is a premium London Dry gin made from a secret Welsh family recipe, distilled with 11 botanicals.
The main course - turkey or nut roast with all the trimmings
- Turkey - Capestone Organic Poultry, Pembrokeshire – Based in the heart of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, Capestone Organic Poultry’s turkey flocks are reared and produced from slow growing bronze strains. Their slow growth allows the bird to mature naturally giving unparalleled flavour and texture.
- Vegetables - Puffin Produce, Pembrokeshire - Puffin Produce, the home of Blas y Tir, is the largest supplier of Welsh produce in Wales. They supply a wide variety of potatoes and seasonal vegetables, which are grown, picked and packed in Pembrokeshire.
- Nut roast - The Parsnipship, Bridgend - The Parsnipship produce pioneering vegetarian and vegan produce packed with big punchy flavours. Their Christmas range includes products like St Nick’s Nuts made with cashews, walnuts and Moroccan spices as well as the Festive Beetroot Bomb, an explosion of beetroot, carrot and cumin seeds.
For dessert - Christmas pud, mince pies and ice cream
- Mince pies – Lewis Bakery, Swansea - Lewis Pies have been supplying quality savoury pastry products, breads and cakes across Wales and the UK for more than 80 years. Their luxury Shirgar brandy butter mince pies feature sweet pastry cases filled to the brim with layers of almond frangipane, brandy butter-infused mincemeat and a cinnamon crumble topping.
- Suet - Prima Foods, Carmarthenshire – Llanelli-based Prima Foods have many years’ experience in the manufacture of home baking products. The company proudly produces Atora suet for Premier Foods, a key ingredient for homemade Christmas pudding and mince pies.
- Ice Cream – Frank’s Ice Cream, Carmarthenshire - Frank’s add a touch of Italian flair and passion to the art of making Welsh ice cream. Made using the finest Welsh milk and double cream, their luxury range includes flavours such as cookie dough, strawberry cheesecake and chocolate brownie whilst their vegan range is available in vanilla, coconut caramel and chocolate.
The cheese board
- Cheese – Caws Cenarth, Carmarthenshire - All of Caws Cenarth’s Cheeses are made on the Adams Family Farm in Lancych, a rural hamlet near Cenarth in scenic Carmarthenshire. Since 1986 the family have produced multi-award winning cheese, such as the Brie-like Perl Wen, a creamy blue, Perl Las, and Golden Cenarth, a washed-rind cheese with a powerful flavour – and winner of the Supreme Champion accolade at the British Cheese Awards 2010.
- Chutney – The Preservation Society, Monmouthshire - The Preservation Society produces award winning chutneys, sirops and preserves that are packed with flavour and made using local, seasonal ingredients. Their “Not Just for Christmas Chutney” is full of apples, cranberries and spices; it’s lovely with a cheeseboard and delightful in a turkey club sandwich.
- Biscuits - Cradoc's Savoury Biscuits, Powys – Based in the heart of the Brecon Beacons, Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits combine fresh vegetables, herbs and spices to create a colourful range of original flavours which includes beetroot and garlic, and leek and Caerphilly cheese.
All of these Welsh companies have worked with ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Met University and Food Innovation Wales’s Project HELIX, which provides funded technical and commercial support.
Project HELIX is supported through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Union.