Monday, 7 November 2011

Farm to Fork: The Pork at St Fagans

We took visitors to St Fagans National History Museum yesterday and had Sunday lunch in the museum’s Vale Restaurant.

The open air museum, on the edge of Cardiff, is Wales’ most popular heritage attraction. The large site contains over 40 historic buildings from all around Wales, which have been moved and rebuilt. They show how people have lived in Wales over the ages. Our visitors are never disappointed by St Fagans.

I had the roast pork for lunch, which came with boiled and roast potatoes, cabbage, fluffy mashed Swede that had an unexpected hotness, some parsnip and stuffing, gravy and apple sauce. The meat was delightfully tender.

All the pork served in the restaurant is from pigs reared at St Fagans: at the Llwyn-yr–Eos Farm just a few hundred yards from the restaurant. The farm is in its original site, with the farmhouse preserved as it would have been at the end of the First World War. The pigs are traditional Welsh pigs, kept in traditional sties. The larger pigs have access to a field. You can see that the pigs and other animals are well-cared for.

I approve of the trend for suppliers to be listed on restaurant boards and in menus. I think that knowing more about how your dinner has travelled from farm to fork really adds to the dining experience.

In addition to the home-reared pork, St Fagans sources ham and potatoes from Pembrokeshire, butter from Swansea, and cheese from south Wales: Smoked Caerphilly, Welsh cheddar and Perl Lâs. The latter is described by its makers, Caws Cenarth of Carmarthenshire, as a mature Caerphilly cheese that has become naturally blue.

St Fagans: National History Museum, Cardiff CF5 6XB

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