ffresh is the first restaurant to become a
the True Taste partner. They
have a commitment to sourcing Welsh products, with around 30% of ingredients
coming from Wales
the True Taste partners. For their annual spring showcase, ffresh
invited some of their Wales the True Taste suppliers to exhibit and served a range
of taster dishes from the restaurant menu that feature award-winning Wales the True Taste ingredients. Wales
To start the event, there were short speeches from Janet Davies, from the Board of the WMC, and the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Agriculture Alun Davies AM. Shaun Hill, the Michelin-starred consulting chef at ffresh further extolled the importance of
’ world-class food and drink
products to the country’s economy and culture. Shaun thinks there is room
for expansion in the high-end restaurant sector in Wales, and would like to see
more chefs in Wales “getting the credit” for serving Welsh products. Wales
My first taster was
asparagus risotto with Hafod cheese. This was a creamy and very satisfying
dish. Peli Pabo goats’ cheese and beetroot salad was next, with small
balls of the fresh soft cheese nestling on attractive salad leaves. Hafod
cheese is made by Sam and Rachel Holden on Wye Valley ’ oldest certified organic
dairy farm, Bwlchwernen Fawr, near Lampeter (Gold winner in the cheese small
producer category). Peli Pabo Garlic and Herb Goat’s Cheese is produced by Y
Cwt Caws on Wales Anglesey (Bronze winner in the
My next dish was Welsh Venison Centre faggots, mash and peas. The faggots had a meaty density and a rich liver flavour; just how I like them. The Welsh Venison Centre in the Brecon Beacons was a multiple award-winner in the 2011-12 awards, for its Venison haunch steak, Welsh rack of lamb, and Welsh belly of pork.
The fish course was fillet of Welsh seabass, Puffin potato cake and salsa verdi. This is wild Welsh line-caught seabass (from Pembrokeshire-based South & West Wales Fishing Communities Ltd.). The nature of the product and the skillful cooking (crispy skin and perfect timing) ensured this was a treat; seabass with a full-on fishy taste (and totally unlike a farmed seabass I had recently).
Puffin Produce Ltd grow potatoes and other vegetables (e.g., leeks, cabbage) in Pembrokeshire. Their red-skinned Rudolph Potato won gold in the Vegetables category of the recent awards. They are bred to be so tasty that you don’t need to add butter or salt. As well as being on the menu, Puffin had an attractive display of their vegetables on show, which included Rudolph potatoes, small Maris Pipers and gigantic baking potatoes.
The final dish was bread and butter pudding with Baravelli’s lemon and Brecon gin marmalade. This was my first chance to taste the marmalade that won the
the True Taste Product of the
Year in the 2011-12 awards for Mark and Emma Baravelli (The Little Deli,
Llandudno). A small blob was sitting by the side of the pudding on some crème
fraiche, so its intense sweet-tangy flavour could be savoured alone. Wales
Among the exhibitors, The Carmarthenshire Cheese Company were promoting their Boksburg cheeses. The Bronze-winning Boksburg Blue was a very creamy, relatively mild though very tasty, soft blue cheese. I particularly liked the Boksburg Smoked Cheese, which had a striking depth and complexity of smoky flavours.
Gorno’s gourmet Italian sausages had some fine-looking examples on display and cooked up some samples. My favourite was the Piccante Calabrese. The Black Mountain Smokery displayed some classy smoked food gift hampers, which included their Bronze-winning traditional smoked salmon. Capital Pâtés & Terrines of Caerphilly had some interesting pâté flavours (and colour combinations).
Subzero° Ice Cream (with chief ice cream maker Kevin Jenkins) displayed a range of their ice cream desserts, made in the
Rhondda mainly for the catering
industry. I finished my highly enjoyable evening’s browsing with a small cone of
their rich Gold-winning Luxury Vanilla Dairy Ice Cream.
The ffresh showcase highlighted some of the great food products of
. Many more companies, large
and small, that supply high-quality artisan foods can be found via the Wales the True
Taste website. In conjunction with retailers and restaurants that source
locally, these products are becoming more accessible and more widely known. Now is a good time to be exploring the food of Wales. Wales
ffresh restaurant and bar: www.ffresh.org.uk
Holden Farm Dairy: www.hafodcheese.co.uk
Y Cwt Caws: www.ycwtcaws.co.uk
The Welsh Venison Centre: www.beaconsfarmshop.co.uk
South & West Wales Fishing Communities Ltd: www.welshlinecaughtfish.org.uk
Puffin Potatoes Ltd: www.puffinproduce.com
Carmarthenshire Cheese Company: www.carmenthshirecheese.co.uk
Black Mountain Smokery Ltd: www.smoked-foods.co.uk
Capital Pâtés: www.capital-pates.co.uk
Subzero Ice Cream: www.iamsubzero.com