Taste and Talent
The Gwynedd Taste and Talent Awards recognise the people behind the food, drink, arts and crafts scene in Gwynedd, from farmer to brewer, potter to painter. Here are some of the latest winners. For more details go to www.facebook.com/BlasDawnGwyneddTasteTalent
• Craft Worker/Artists of the Year: Helen Sutcliffe, Eleanor’s Attic, Llanelltyd
• Food/Drink Producer of the Year and High Percentage Content of Local Products of the Year: T J Roberts & Son, Bala
• Local Produce Eatery of the Year: Fron Goch Garden Centre Restaurant, Caernarfon
2013 Good Food Guide
Snowdonia is again well represented in the latest edition of this foodie bible. Here’s a taster, based on the main recommendations.
Abersoch: Porth Tocyn Hotel. ‘Abersoch’s long-standing “smart” option, but remains relaxing and notably childfriendly… the welcome is genuine and reflected in the care lavished on details such as good homemade bread.’
Caernarfon (Llandwrog): Rhiwafallen. ‘There is much to be said for the glorious sea views and Rob’s sharply tuned cooking. Dinner is the main event in this amicable restaurant-with-rooms.’
Conwy: Dawson’s at the Castle Hotel. ‘Fresh ingredients lay a secure foundation for the food, with plenty of local produce.’
Cricieth: Tir a Môr. ‘Comforting local food… The name translates as “land and sea” – an epithet that sums up (the) location and the scope of its menu.’
Dolgellau: Bwyty Mawddach. ‘A beautiful farm barn conversion (that) relies on excellent local ingredients to fuel a menu of modern classics.’
Dolgellau: Dylanwad Da. ‘Relaxed all-day café-bar-bistro, Dolgellau’s focal point for 25 years. A busy place, serving everything from daytime soups and tapas to threecourse meals.’
Harlech: Castle Cottage. ‘From the canapés in the bar, through the chef’s appetiser (maybe seafood bisque), to almond and raspberry tart, dinner is an accomplished affair. Dishes are multifaceted.’
Penmaenpool, near Dolgellau: Penmaenuchaf Hall. ‘Oak-panelled opulence’ at this stylish country house hotel. ‘The kitchen produces a well-wrought version of modern British cooking.’
Pwllheli: Plas Bodegroes. ‘A landmark hotel in the dutiful hands of Chris and Gunna Chown… (Chris) applies impeccable technique and years of experience to thoughtfully sourced produce.’
Talsarnau: Maes-y-Neuadd Hotel. The Good Food Guide was impressed with the five-course dinner and the historic mansion’s ‘vegetables, fruits and herbs from the walled garden’.
Shopping hot spots
Caernarfon’s historic town centre and contemporary Doc Fictoria waterfront offer a healthy mix of shops. Bangor also serves up stylish contemporary shopping at the Menai Centre. Betws y Coed has many speciality shops – you won’t find a better choice of outdoor gear and crafts.
Art and craft, galleries and workshops
Creative Gwynedd is your one-stop shop for all arts-related news plus a comprehensive directory or arts associations, centres and individuals (www.creativegwynedd.com). For details of the Helfa Gelf Arts Trail to studios and workshops throughout North Wales go to www.helfagelf.org
Creativity is in our DNA
Snowdonia’s scenery has always inspired creative activity. Artists, sculptors, metalworkers and potters display their work in galleries large and small. There are mills at Bryncir (near Porthmadog), Trefriw and Dinas Mawddwy. Corris Craft Centre is an entire village made up of individual craft workshops. You’ll also come across more intimate centres like Aber Uchaf, Abersoch, where four creative skills – photography, jewellery, wildwood furniture making and watercolour painting – come together in converted farm buildings.
There are lots of individual spaces too like the IARD craft workshops at Parc Glynllifon, Caernarfon. Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, Llanbedrog, and the Royal Cambrian Academy, Conwy, are two of Wales’s leading art galleries. Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery, Bangor, stages varied exhibitions of painting, photography and sculpture.
Bodnant’s big news
The £6.5-million Bodnant Welsh Food Centre near Bodnant Garden in the Vale of Conwy is now open. The only one of its kind in Wales, it’s a mustvisit for foodies. Located in a beautifully renovated farm complex, it’s a food shop, tea room, restaurant, bakery, butchery and cookery school all rolled into one. The new National Beekeeping Centre Wales is also based here. Ask about their plans for a bee-friendly garden at Tŷ Hyll (better known perhaps as the Ugly House), Betws y Coed.
The True Taste/Gwir Flas
True Taste promotes the very best food and drink that Wales has to offer. It’s all about quality and natural taste – real food that tastes how it was meant to, food that isn’t fast and deserves to be savoured. www.walesthetruetaste.co.uk
Winner of the Best Butcher category in the 2012 True Taste ‘People’s Choice’ Food Awards is Edwards of Conwy.
I’ll drink to that
A vineyard in Snowdonia? Yes, at Pant Du, Dyffryn Nantlle, which produces red, sparkling and rosé wine plus cider and apple juice. Porthmadog is home to the Purple Moose Brewery, winner of a barrelful of awards for its great local beer.
Look, it’s local
Local produce markets are held at Porthmadog: Last Saturday of every month (9.30am–2pm) at
Y Ganolfan, Harbour. Ogwen: Second Saturday of every month (10am–2pm) at Llys Dafydd, Bethesda and Jerusalem Chapel, Bethesda (November–March).
Shop locally. Meet the people. Buy fresh from the field. Check out the provenance. It’s all on a plate at our farmers’ markets, farm shops, food festivals and fairs. For more on real food from real people go to www.fork2fork.org.uk
and Sunday (summer only). Blaenau
Ffestiniog: Tuesday. Caernarfon:
Saturday (all year) and Monday (May–
September). Llanrwst: Tuesday.
Porthmadog: Friday. Pwllheli: Wednesday.
Tywyn: Monday (summer only).
For more details contact one of our Tourist Information Centres