Some people are happy to go on holiday without giving much thought to what they’ll eat and where it’s come from. But if you’re a bit of a foodie, then a visit to Snowdonia is an absolute joy…
It’s possible you’ve never given a great deal of thought to the subject of the foods and drinks that are made in Snowdonia. That’s fair enough; the region is probably better known as a world-class outdoor activities centre and an area packed with family attractions than it is as the gastronomic centre of Britain.
But Snowdonia has a great deal to offer if you’re interested in cooking and eating amazing produce. From locally reared lamb and beef to local honey, preserves and even wines, you’ll be spoilt for choice when you visit Snowdonia.
1. Glasfryn Parc Farm Shop
The farm shop at Glasfryn Parc near Pwllheli is a real treasure trove of both local produce (including meat reared on Glasfryn’s farmland) and luxury ingredients from around the world. The Welsh Black beef from Glasfryn is especially good, but look out also for the ‘freezer pick ‘n’ mix’ where there’s a great selection of frozen fruit and vegetables for you to buy in any quantity you like. Just need a few berries for a cheesecake or enough veg for a casserole? No problem – you’re in full control!
2. Bodnant Welsh Foods
Bodnant Welsh Foods in the beautiful Conwy Valley isn’t just a shop – it’s a gastronomic experience! At Bodnant you can enjoy a full day out, to include cookery lessons, a look at local beekeeping, a visit to the garden centre and of course plenty of shopping! The farm shop at Bodnant stocks a fantastic array of produce from the estate itself as well as from other parts of Wales; in fact, around 75% of the produce sold at Bodnant is Welsh.
3. Hooton’s at Fron Goch Garden Centre
A visit to Fron Goch Garden Centre, just outside Caernarfon, is a treat in itself. Apart from the excellent selection of plants, garden furniture, gifts for the home and garden and other such delights, there’s a wonderful (and very popular) cafe serving delicious food and beautiful cakes. But there’s another great reason to visit Fron Goch, and that’s the Hooton’s farm shop that’s based there. This is a great place to shop for locally grown veg and locally reared meat, as well as a fantastic selection of luxury foodstuffs from all over Wales and beyond.
4. Pant Du Vineyard and Orchard
People are often surprised to learn that there’s a vineyard in Snowdonia! Pant Du in the Nantlle Valley isn’t just a producer of award-winning wine: it also produces excellent cider and delicious spring water. You can visit Pant Du for a tour and a tasting – or if you’re pushed for time, just pop to their shop and stock up your cellar!
5. Purple Moose Brewery
You’ll find Purple Moose Brewery’s excellent beers in pubs and shops all over the region and beyond. What’s more fun than drinking it in a pub or buying it from a shop, though, is visiting the brewery in Porthmadog and having a tour and a taste. The tour costs just £5 and at the end you’ll get a free glass and a tasting session – now that’s a bargain!
6. Y Pantri Cymraeg
Y Pantri Cymraeg is a little Aladdin’s cave of gastronomic treasures on the Maes in Caernarfon. It may be a small shop, but it stocks a fantastic range of Welsh baked goods, confectionery, preserves and pickles – not to mention an excellent selection of Welsh alcoholic beverages. It’s also a great place to grab a spot of lunch for eating on the move, so pop in and fill your picnic basket!
There are branches of Bwtri – a fantastic deli and local produce stockist – in Pwllheli, Porthmadog and Wrexham. Here you can stock up on fantastic Welsh cheeses, luxury pates, and a wide range of other local and exotic produce. You can even make up your own hamper to give away as a gift – though with the quality of food available at Bwtri, giving the hamper away is the difficult part!
8. Edwards of Conwy
Most notable for its award-winning sausages, Edwards of Conwy is a wonderful butcher in the heart of the medieval town. But it’s not just the sausages that make Edwards special (and incidentally, you can buy these in most of the local supermarkets too); their bacon is also fantastic, and as well as a great selection of meat the shop stocks a variety of other local produce too, including some excellent chutneys and other preserves.
9. Cadwalader’s Ice Creams
You can’t write an article about food in Snowdonia without mentioning Cadwaladers Ice Cream; it’s so delicious, so special, that it’d be a travesty to leave it out! There are branches of Cadwaladers all over Wales, but we’ll focus on the Criccieth branch for now – for this little town is where it all started, and it’s still quite possibly the most famous and best-loved branch of this 88-year-old business. What’s so special about the ice cream? You’ll have to taste it yourself to find out, but suffice to say, with ingredients including “6 lbs of shan’t tell you” and “a great deal of love and care” the recipe is a very closely guarded secret!
10. Blas ar Fwyd
Last but by no means least let’s look at Blas ar Fwyd, which is a bit of an institution in Llanrwst. Not only is it one of the UK’s biggest delicatessens outside of London, but it’s also a bistro – so if you want to taste those wonderful ingredients as part of a hearty meal, you’ll be at the right place! With a vast selection of fantastic products from Wales, the UK and the world beyond, you’ll be hard pushed to find a more interesting place to shop for food – so pack a few shopping bags into your suitcase next time you visit Snowdonia, and head over to Blas ar Fwyd for the food shopping trip of the year!