Calling all foodies - Wales is the next go-to destination for food lovers. Wales has always had a long-standing tradition of natural farming, but not until recently has this common practice been elevated into an art.
In fact, they take food so seriously in Wales, that they have an Oscars of food - the True Taste Awards – recognizing the best in local Welsh food, drink and foodstuffs.
Prominent UK food critic and restauranteur, Simon Wright, expounds on this development, “At the heart of Wales new vibrancy as a food nation is the produce. The riches of the land are not new but the relish to refine them, treasure them and bring them blinking into the sunlight is more recent.”
The True Taste, held every year for a decade now, has certainly fanned the flames of the Welsh appetite for gastronomic interest and craft.
Held in the North Wales city of Llandudno, the 2011-12 Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards showcased and awarded Wales finest, from best lamb to fishmonger to cider, including best Farm Shop (farm shops are like stand-alone daily farmer’s market with local Welsh products as well).
Alun Davies, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, spoke about this newfound palate passion, “There is no doubt Wales has a talent for producing top quality, flavoursome food and drink. Food is an important part of the Welsh way of life and is inextricably linked to our culture; indeed it is part and parcel of our DNA.“
Forks Up, Welsh Food Fests Galore!
The sheer number of food festivals in Wales is a testament to the quality food DNA of the Welsh. Nearly every weekend, there's a food festival somewhere in Wales.
And the Welsh government is definitely putting their money where their mouth is (or more accurately, what their citizens’ mouths are eating). Over thirty food and drink festivals will receive over £350,000 during 2011/2012 to share between them in support from the Welsh Government.
15 Great Welsh Food Festivals
Some of the most popular Welsh food festivals are the Abergavenny Food Festival, the Anglesey Oyster and Welsh Produce Festival, and the Really Wild Food Festival. For more on Welsh food festivals, Visit Wales has compiled a comprehensive list of 15 Great Welsh Food Festivals.
Wales Culinary Vacations
With the food revolution in full swing, Wales is rapidly becoming the hottest destination for foodies!
Take an organic farm tour at Rhug Farm Estate, visit Halen Mon's gourmet sea salt factory, learn how to properly dress a crab at Gill's Fish Plaice, make chocolates at Black Mountain Chocolate, whiskey taste at Penderyns, have high tea at the five-star Angel Hotel in Abergavenny, go mushroom foraging with Fungi Forays or simply pack a lunch with local cheeses and cider over looking one of Wales' 641 castles.
The options are endless as long as you come hungry. For more on Welsh celebrity chefs, local produce and food news, visit A Guide to Eating in Wales.