Tag Archives: Bodnant Welsh Food Centre

MSN food: twice in one month!

I’m really not very good at taking compliments. I have this irritating tendency to get flustered when people greet me with praise. I look for the nearest thing to hide behind, embarrassed, not quite knowing what to do with myself and turning a lovely shade of scarlet (not the most becoming colour). Despite this I am unbelievably proud of my supper club and how well its done. Despite my squirming-at-praise tendencies, like most people I like being recognised for my hard work and achievements (as long as its not too public!!). This is probably why I prefer being safely hidden behind the camera and not standing in front of it. It’s a case of thank you for recognising my work and talents, but please don’t make a big deal of it (as well as being horribly unphotogenic and terribly vain!)

I’m quite at home with my strange, psychological insecurities (in which I’m sure I’m not alone). I always doubt myself, find fault, waiting to fuck up. My second chef Mark summed it up when he announced to his students (that I was mentoring and giving a talk to) that I was a highly strung perfectionist. I wasn’t sure whether to take issue with the highly strung bit, but I guess he is correct in some ways, but then aren’t all chefs?

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This month I have received not one, but two nice little accolades from MSN. The first  was a MSN food review of Britain’s Best Home pop-ups.  I am now not only listed among the pioneers of the supper club scene (I started in 2009) but one of the stalwarts since I’m one of few that are still running since the early days. My formula has changed little; I have a laid back and intimate style with sometimes quite simple grub, while at other times it can be wildly experimental. With the former style in mind, it was with pleasure that I contributed to MSN again, this time as an ‘expert’ in my new role as a freelance tutor at Bodnant Cookery School. Contributing simple ideas for cooking, guidance on what to choose and recipes for Welsh lamb. Check out the article here.

Roast lamb (© Sainsbury's)

Image from Sainsbury’s courtesy of MSN

And now i’m off to cook for tonight’s Earth Hour Supper Club…see you on the other side!

 

 

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Filed under British food, in the press, living room restaurant, local produce, Organic meat, Recipes, reviews, secret supper, Sources and suppliers, Welsh food, Welsh produce

Five food themed activities to keep the kids entertained this summer

So here we go, the school holidays are upon us and if you are anything like me (a bit last-minute) then you’ve barely begun to think about what to do with the kids. Its fine if you are lucky enough to have the summer off, but for me it’s such a busy time. With work most weekends its difficult to plan a big holiday, so what I tend to do is save that big holiday for spring or Autumn and just do day trips, activities and maybe the odd weekend away camping. One of the things that takes up a lot of time is the Green Man festival. My work period stretches for a tiring three and half weeks and I’m away the whole time. That makes for a big chunk of the school holidays, but there is still the odd week where there are no exciting plans and we want something interactive to do, or sadly we have to work. So how to keep my boy entertained?

Well he and I checked out a few ideas for things to do in over the summer …when his boring parents are otherwise engaged and there are no friends about to hang out with. Between us we came up with a list of five fun food themed and outdoor activities (he likes food and this IS a food blog after all) ranging from the most expensive to the almost-free. Reviews are by me, with added comments from Aidan age 10 and a half.

1. Young Cooks Holiday Kitchen at The Bodnant Welsh Food Centre  runs courses throughout the summer. Kids get the opportunity to make their own nachos with refried beans, guacamole, salsa from scratch, a five bean chilli to take home and bananas with chocolate chimichanga sauce.

Courses cost £45 which makes them a more expensive option but this includes all the ingredients. They run between 10am and 1pm and take place on the 30th and 31st July and 9th and 29th August. They do get busy so booking is essential.

Call 01492 651100

On the 27th/28th July the centre will also be hosting a children’s fun festival with games and lots of food themed entertainment for all the family.

If you don’t live in Wales check out your nearest cookery schools online or give them a call to see if they have special activites planned for the holidays.

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childrens course with eira 5th April 4

Photos courtesy of Bodnant Welsh Food Centre

2. On a similar theme, but a little cheaper…how about spending the day making your own chocolate lollies? North Wales based chocolatiers Baravelli’s are offering bespoke courses where kids get to create their own delights. Prices are £15 per child for an hour and a half session, with a maximum 6 to a group. Kids must be accompanied by a parent (as this is a hands on exercise it’s just as fun for parents to get involved) and at the end you get to take home the things you’ve made….if they last that long!

They also run 3 hour courses for older teens/adults where you can make your own chocolate truffles or learn cake decorating techniques. These run for 3 hours and cost £40 per person and again, you get to take home all you have made (which is apparently a lot).

To book a course call Mark on 01492 338121

3. For a fuller day of child care how about giving the kids a taste of the great outdoors? The aim of  Wonderwoods is to ‘get kids back outside being kids again’ and what kid can resist a bit of den building, some foraging and the lure of cooking on an open campfire?

Sessions will be running on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the first two weeks of the school holidays starting this Tuesday (23rd July) and then the last two weeks.  Sessions cost £20 a day but they offer a £10 reduction for kids attending all three days (each week). The club runs from 10am until 4pm. For more information call Jon on the number on the poster below.

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My two guest reviewers Aidan (10) and his mate Maisy (11) spent the day and this is what they thought.

“The games at the beginning were a bit babyish for me, but it got better when we made fires and started cooking”. Maisy was the only girl and the oldest in the group. She enjoyed the hands on activities like fire and swing making and cooking pancakes the best but thought that perhaps it would be better to divide the kids in two age groups as she found some of the younger boys a bit annoying.

“I’d never made a swing or a hammock before and that was cool” Aidan was the second oldest, but was less irritated with the younger lads. He’s a laid back fellow generally and enjoyed all of the hands on activites, but agreed the games at the beginning were a little young for him. Nevertheless he want’s to go again so that’s as good a reference as any!

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chopping wood for the fire

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making the fire

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kids just love making fire!…Later they made and cooked pancakes and strawberry jam to go on top!

4. Celebrate fish! On the last weekend of the school holidays (31st August) it’s the inaugural Menai Seafood Festival. Based around the harbour and waterside in Menai Bridge it celebrates all things fishy, highlighting the coast and sea life that surrounds Anglesey and Gwynedd. Dylan’s Restaurant are the driving force behind what should be a busy, action packed, family day out. With rib rides, seashore safari’s with Anglesey sea zoo, educational talks from Bangor University marine biology team, watery themed art workshops, local music and a number of talented local chefs cooking up a  plethora of crustacean and pescatarian dishes to sample there is something for both adults and kids alike. All that and it’s free!

5. Last but certainly not least why not spend an afternoon picking your own fruit? Always fun. It whiles away a couple of hours in the sun (something we have plenty of at the moment), you can eat while you pick and still bring some home for tea. Hunt for your local pick your own farm online or ask at a farm shop, or just take a trip into the countryside surrounding you and see what you find….the two closest to me (one in Tregarth and one on Anglesey) are…

Moelyci Community Farm  is open for picking between 12 until 7pm everyday. They have plenty of strawberries, raspberries, loganberries and huge quantities of currants (red, white and black). Prices are very reasonable and the setting is stunning.

Hooton’s  PYO site is on the A5025 just one mile from Menai Bridge in the direction of Pentraeth – LL59 5RR (Look out for the signs). It’s open between 11am and 5pm during peak season.

Aidan says:”it’s great because it doesn’t cost much, you can eat loads and take stuff home to make all sorts of things like Eton mess” 8/10

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Blackcurrants ripe for picking at Moelyci

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***THIS POST WILL BE UPDATED WITH PICTURES AND COMMENTS AS AIDAN ATTENDS THESE ACTIVITIES. THE SEAFOOD FESTIVAL IS THE EXCEPTION AS IT DOESN’T HAPPEN UNTIL THE LAST WEEKEND OF THE HOLIDAYS

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Filed under chocolate, cookery courses, Food activities for kids, Food festival, Foraging for fruit, seasonal food, Travelling with kids

Sourdough and brioche at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre

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There is one thing I have to say……that Alex Gooch has singlehandedly ruined my post-Christmas diet.

Attending part two of his bread making course (this time the advanced class) was always going to be a struggle. It appears now that my resolution to cut out bread and cakes for the month of January was premature, especially as I seem to have given up smoking and drinking too. Smoking because I have long had a rule that I will only smoke if here is tobacco in the house and now everyone else has given up smoking too, so by default so have I and alcohol because it doesn’t mix with hefty doses of Cocodamol I’m taking for my back pain.

Now here we get to my other struggle, my slipped disc is not healing well and I knew I wouldn’t be able to lift, knead or stand for a long period but rather than cancel my place on the course, I took a helper along with me. That helper was none other than my teen.

You may laugh and raise an eyebrow as I know most teens would rather die than go make bread with their mother, but she did not scowl, moan or swear at me. She came totally of her own volition and even appeared to enjoy herself! It was also interesting for me to see how the course might appeal to someone who isn’t necessarily the ‘target audience’. Would she be bored or not keep up with instructions?

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looking slightly miserable as still not fully awake

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It is testament to Alex’s easy-going style and excellent teaching that she remained totally engaged (if a little monosyllabic early on, claiming that it was far too early for all this). Nothing was too complicated, it was well explained (even if she didn’t always listen or follow his instructions….but that is just being seventeen….clearly she knew better than anybody, even the expert!)

As a team we barely even bickered although she had the rest of the class tittering as she claimed I was sooo over controlling. She actually did most of the work while I sat watching and a bloody good job she did too.

But I have gone off on a tangent and you are probably still wondering why Alex ruined my diet….its totoally down to that apple brioche (this is where I sigh and drool in ecstasy) which was totally addictive. The teen and I ate our first chunk, still warm from the oven, glistening with the lemon, vanilla syrup in which it was doused and powdered with icing sugar in the car on the way home….and we haven’t stopped since. I promise I will share the recipe in my next post.

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I’m not sure yet whether Bodnant has sorted itself out organisation wise. Again we had to help ourselves to tea and coffee and there were no drinks provided during the day, in the end Alex had to find jugs and fetch drinks for lunch.  Lunch itself was enjoyable, although there was nothing there that Rosie liked except potato salad and coleslaw (but as a vegetarian that hates mushrooms that was just unfortunate). Alex however has been consistently good and if anything this was even better than the last, more relaxed and comfortable, although that might be because most of us had been at on the earlier course together.

We once again whizzed through the making of three different types of bread; rye sourdough, light rye sourdough, olive and rosemary sourdough and that fatal apple brioche.

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sticky brioche dough

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sticky hands!

Teen handled all of them exceptionally well, regressing to a child like state as she worked the sticky dough on the table (a memory of play dough perhaps!). If anything she played around poking and prodding the dough a little too much so that our light sourdough did not rise as much as it should. A lesson learned.

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sourdough in proving baskets

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the olive and rosemary sourdough in the proving baskets…this one didn’t rise so well due to too much teen prodding and not enough resting!

I told her to listen carefully as she might learn something when we discussed sourdough starters. Alex told us he’d had his sourdough starter for seven and a half years!! Deb, the only other woman on the course, told a story of how sourdough starters are often passed down through the generations from grandmother to granddaughter, a beautiful historic link to the past and a way of life that has slowly been eroded by the modern world. Sometimes they are given as a wedding present to daughters to carry on a family tradition….Rosie looked totally horrified at the thought of being passed on a sourdough starter. I said she could have it as a wedding present….to which she replied “What for? It’s not like I’m EVER going to make bread again in my life! ” I’m now looking forward to the day when she comes to me and says “Remember when we went to that bread course…what did that bloke say about…”

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Alex’s seven and a half year old sour dough starter

Her concentration only waned as the marathon bread baking began and we all stood chatting. She couldn’t be bothered talking to us boring lot so went to read her book, nipping back now and then as the next loaf came out of the oven.

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dark rye sourdough

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beautiful light sourdough

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almost a full set

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Rosie’s piece de resistance…..apple brioche, with run soaked prunes

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coating the brioche with syrup

She finally returned to wrap all the baked bread carefully in tissue and greased proof paper. Back at home she carried the box into the house with great pride “I made that” she said. I hope one day she will return to this memory and come back for her sourdough starter.

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A box of carefully wrapped bread to take home

A course with Alex is a joy. Although there does tend to be a ‘typical’ audience (very male) don’t let this put you off, the course is fun for everyone…even a stroppy teen!!

To check courses and dates go to the cookery school page on the Bodnant website, or email reception@bodnant-welshfood.co.uk for further information.

Moel Faban Suppers and Rosie McClearn were guests of Bodnant Welsh Food.

 

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Artisan bread making with Alex Gooch at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre

View through the kitchen window

On a bright sunny Sunday I headed off to the newly opened Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, for a day of bread making in their state of the art cookery school. Set in the beautiful Conwy Valley with views over the estuary and just a few miles from Llandudno and Llanrwst it is the perfect destination for a weekend retreat away from the cities of Liverpool and Manchester. In fact it is less than an hour and a half’s drive from both.

I live somewhat closer and set off with eager anticipation at the prospect of having a day of fun…plenty of cooking, without any responsibility for teaching others!

Now I love baking and make a lot of bread at home so I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert, but a day spent with award-winning artisan baker Alex Gooch. made me realise I’m but a mere novice.

The day began with a small hiccup; the course, which was advertised on the website as advanced, turned out to be a basic one. The confusion appeared to have arisen as a result of the recent change of staff and a break down in communication between the old and new. But what were essentially small teething problems were soon overcome. We were given the choice of rearranging but all participants were very laid back about the mix up and were keen to stay, so we did. Initially I wondered if it would be worth it as the course appeared to focus on stuff I already knew….and that is where I made my first mistake. Not that I stayed, but the presumption that I actually knew all there was to know about making focaccia!

Alex Gooch, our teacher for the day trained as a chef, working in lots of different restaurants and kitchens. Somewhere along the way he discovered and developed a love of bread making. His obsession grew until finally he moved into self-employment setting up his own organic bakery, leaving the world of restaurant kitchens behind. This was clearly a good move because the awards have come rolling in; The ‘Best Producer’ award at the Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards 2011, the Waitrose ‘Made in Britain’ Award to name but two.

Alex spent the morning teaching us some of the tricks that make his bread and bakery in Hay on Wye so successful. Who knew that perfect bread dough should be almost sloppy? It scared me at first looking at the sticky mass in the bottom of my bowl, my gut instinct was to add more flour as I would have done at home but no, he reassured us that all would be fine, and of course it was.

A very sticky dough…but apparantly perfect!

Bun dough ready to prove

More scarily sloppy dough…this time focaccia

Teaming up with Alex is a bit of a coup for Bodnant. He is a great teacher who in the space of a couple of hours talked us through the making of a bun dough,  focaccia dough, a basic spelt and a potato bread. Everything was incredibly easy to grasp, especially for the less experienced baker and he happily answered all the questions we threw at him, at times dispelling the bread making myths that hold people back. I always thought you had to dissolve fresh yeast in water with sugar, but no, we just crumbled it straight into the bowl. There was no lengthy kneading (another lesson learned…don’t knead the bread!) and no fuss. The class wasn’t rushed and everyone was able to work at their own pace.

A couple of people commented that they would have liked to measure their own ingredients. Alex explained it was to make the course run more efficiently and so he knew the measurements were all exact. I can see both points. I guess providing us with all the recipes meant we would be able to practise at home, but weighing would arguably have helped us remember the process more clearly. I suppose having a bit of faith in the classes abilities is necessary, although that is a bit of an unknown quantity early on.  A bit of extra time spent supervising us while we measured would have reduced the risk of baking failures due to inaccurate measurement and  we weren’t short of time, in fact we finished half an hour earlier than timetabled.

Alex certainly did encourage us to be bold and confident and brave with seasonings and extra ingredients. A good spoonful of salt, huge quantities of olive oil, plus tons of rosemary, pecorino, blue cheese, cinnamon or sugar. Once upon a time I would have been more cautious with my flavourings but these days I’m less nervous about it.

Focaccia dough liberally sprinkled with torn fresh rosemary and pecorino cheese

Bun dough with cinnamon and sugar; one half with raisins for buns, the other cut into twists

Buns and twists ready to prove

Spelt dough, divided into pieces and ready to be layered with rosemary and Perl Las, Welsh blue cheese

One plain spelt loaf and one blue cheese and rosemary

Well risen potato baps

Cookery courses are the next step for Alex and the hands on ones like this are always the best. PArticipants experience a childlike pleasure as they compare sticky hands, dough consistency and how much their dough has risen. The satisfaction gained from making, kneading and baking bread is almost primeval.  With very few ingredients we transform what begins as a sticky white mass into a puffy, heavenly scented, golden brown loaf. It’s a magical transformation and one that still gives me a tingle of excitement and brings a big smile to my face.

It struck me that bread making appeals particularly to men; us women were outnumbered five to two. I guess historically bakers were mostly men, while cooks were more often women. Before large industrial mixers took over the heavy arm work, all the mixing and kneading was by hand. Strength and muscle were pretty important and even the little kneading we did on this course made my poor arm ache. Back then I would have been useless…or just developed the arm muscles of a docker!

After a quick coffee break we added our extra ingredients and shaped our bread; rosemary for the focaccia and bread sticks, sugar and cinnamon for spiced buns and twists, blue cheese and rosemary to make spelt loaf and potato dough divided into four beautiful soft rounds. It was then left to rise on a covered trolley in the warm kitchen while we went off for lunch.

Top: foaccia bread sticks and focaccia flatbread

bread rising in the warm kitchen

The cost of the course includes a substantial buffet lunch. As we sat eating the heavenly smell of baking bread wafted from the kitchen (the first lot of focaccia had gone in the oven). I’m sure I ended up eating than I intended because of that smell!

As I sat back in my chair I felt a satiated tiredness creep over me. I could have done with a coffee to perk me up again but instead we headed back into the kitchen where the warm aromatic smell of garlic oil, rosemary and bread hung in the air. Now it was baking time.

We took the focaccia out of the oven and left it to cool, replacing it with spelt loaves and cinnamon buns. The buns cooked quickest and they were soon whipped out and replaced with our potato bread.

Focaccia straight from the oven and finished with a generous drizzle of rocket oil and Halen Mon sea salt

Spelt loaf

Cinnamon buns

Nice baps! Potato bread nice and brown

All in all I had a very enjoyable day. I met some lovely fellow bakers and Alex was a fab teacher. The best bit for me was the opportunity to work with a fellow chef and learn from his skills. I needed less in the way of hands on help but he was great at encouraging and assisting those who were less confident. I’m now looking forward to the rescheduled advanced course in January.

So what did I think about it over all? As usual I have my feet in two camps….I like really loved the course and gained a lot from it, as I think other participants would do. I also like the fact that Welsh produce and producers are becoming more widely known outside of Wales. Profile raising is very important but I wonder if the cost would be off-putting to locals.

At £145 its not a cheap course. Yes, the teaching quality is good (working with experts in the field is a real draw), we took home a lovely bag of swag, recipes and had a great lunch. I still think that perhaps the price might deter a lot of people and I think it is quite expensive compared to other classes of its kind. On the other hand I know participants will come from further afield, which is how it was on the day I visited and as I said in the beginning, what better way to spend a weekend than cooking and visiting beautiful Wales!

To check courses and dates go to the cookery school page on the Bodnant website, or email reception@bodnant-welshfood.co.uk for further information.

Moel Faban Suppers was a guest of Bodnant Welsh Food.

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Bodnant Welsh food centre and the Hayloft Restaurant

Although it opened in the summer, its only in recent weeks that I’ve had a chance to explore the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre. A twitter follower mentioned it was coming at the beginning of the year and later I received a couple of emails telling me to keep an eye out for the opening. I followed development with interest and hoped to attend the opening, but typically I was mad busy and away working so its only now that I’m becoming acquainted with the place.

Bodnant Welsh Food Centre is more of a Welsh food hub and has lots of different parts. The first thing you come across when entering the courtyard is the Furnace Farm Shop which sells an extensive array of Welsh food. They produce and make a lot of what they sell in the shop and serve in the tea room, plus a wide variety of goods from local suppliers.

The tea room across the courtyard has spectacular views over the Conwy Estuary and Carneddau mountains. You can sit and admire them with a warming drink, from a comfy sofa, knowing you are sitting where the cattle once stood. You also know that just next to the old cattle byre talented artisans are baking and making the ingredients for your lunch. The centre boasts its own dairy, butchery and bakery. You can’t get produce much more local than that!

The National Beekeeping Centre of Wales purpose-built visitor centre is just next to the tea room. You can visit and speak to the dedicated expert staff, visit on site apiaries, view bees in their natural environment at work via the live webcam and generally learn all you need to know about keeping bees. I always thought you needed lots of land and  plenty of distance from other houses, but I’ve since discovered that you can pretty much have a bee hive anywhere, apparently they have them on the top of the Waldorf Astoria in New York!

For a more substantial lunch you can visit the The Hayloft Restaurant. Its situated above the Furnace shop and has its own entrance and outside seating area (for when the weather warms up again). If you climb the stairs again you come to the The Bodnant Cookery School where a variety of cookery courses are held, usually at a weekend, although there are some midweek too. Of course since the centre is only in its infancy the programme is still under development ( I have recently attended a course there, but that deserves a post of its own!).

If this wasn’t enough there is also guest accommodation, a training/event room for hire and of course the most stunning views you can imagine!

Personally I’m thrilled that these once run-down farm buildings have a new lease of life . Their restoration has been sympathetically carried out and they are beautifully styled and decorated having retained every bit of their earthy traditional charm. You can sit by the open fire in the restaurant lounge and view original beams throughout, while little unique touches such as the antler chandelier on the stairs and the reclaimed wood tables give a modern yet rustic feel. It’s also good to see the place so busy. The quietest time was when I first visited midweek; small amounts of building and finishing work were still going on and you could tell it was still not yet complete,  but now that is all done and at the weekend it’s absolutely packed!

I recently dropped in for lunch at the Hayloft restaurant, eager to try their food after hearing good reports from friends. I booked a table just in case it was busy, but there was no need. I guess at the weekend it might well be fully booked, but on a Thursday lunchtime there was plenty of space. This may of course change as their reputation grows.

The lounge area is beautiful and the refurbishment project has really brought out the best in the buildings. The roaring open fire and comfortable sofas create a homely relaxed atmosphere. I could have sat there drinking gin and tonic all day and not felt any pressure to move on.

The restaurant itself is bright, modern and pleasant. My dining companion dislikes music in restaurants, he finds it distracts from good food and conversation so he was pleased at its absence, although I thought the jazz in the lounge was rather nice. I also liked that there was a variety of clientele; families with young children sat alongside retired couples, others had clearly dropped in for lunch after having a walk but no one looked out-of-place and staff were friendly and attentive, helpful and polite.

The lunch menu is not extensive, but offers enough choice for everyone to find something they like. I opted for Menai mussels in white wine, cream and garlic and my dinner partner chose pan-fried pigeon breast with orange and beetroot salad with ginger dressing.

Menai mussels with cream and garlic

Pigeon breast with orange, beetroot & ginger salad

The mussels were creamy and delicious. The sauce was quite rich and heavy and could have been too much had the portion size been larger, but it was spot on leaving me plenty of room for my main and not over filling me. The rich gamey-ness of the pigeon breast worked nicely with the sharpness of the salad. The contrast of sweet, bitter, sharp and meaty worked very well, although there could have been a little more ginger in the dressing as it wasn’t so obvious.

For my main course I chose Bodnant steak burger with juniper and morello cherries, salad and root vegetable shavings and my dinner partner chose a slow cooked shoulder of lamb on mashed potato, with garlic and rosemary sauce. I have to say my dining partner was very happy, no miniscule portions here! A really good hearty lunch put a big smile on his face; the vegetables were perfectly cooked, the lamb fell tenderly from the bone and his only gripe was that there wasn’t more sauce to soak into the mash.

My burger was sweet and juicy, well-flavoured with the juniper and cherry and the root vegetable shavings were deliciously crisp with a hint of sweet and salt. A small salad accompanied and a bun baked on site. The only thing missing was a dressing or relish for the burger. A home-made burger without any relish can veer on the dry side and as the salad not dressed either it just needed a little something. I wondered if I would be offered anything but after a minute or two I decided to ask the waitress if there was anything to go on the burger, or if she had any dressing of any kind. She offered a mustard dressing for the salad, which was very tasty.

Of course we couldn’t resist dessert, even though we were pretty full. I went for a lighter choice, the white chocolate and lemon parfait with raspberry coulis and home-made tuille while my partner (to my amazement after all that lamb) chose blackberry and apple crumble with fresh egg custard. Apparently he just HAD to go for all the winter options because it was cold outside. That’s his excuse!

The parfait was light and delicate but I could hardly taste the lemon in it. The coulis matched beautifully with the white chocolate and the crisp tuille finished the dish perfectly. The crumble was nice and crunchy, the apple well cooked; still holding its form so it had a good texture but not too crunchy, however it was quite tart (which I like, but others with a sweeter tooth may find a little too sharp). The egg custard was, well eggy and delicious.

The only criticisms we had, as I said above, were quite minor things really and mostly related to the finishing touches and rather cautious use of flavourings. They certainly didn’t detract from quality or our enjoyment of the meal.  As for cost, we both had three courses, a drink each and I finished with a coffee. The total bill came to £42.00 which I think is excellent value for money.

As a whole Bodnant Welsh food centre has impressed me. It makes a great stop off while exploring the surrounding area, a fab lunch destination and an interesting place to visit in its own right. I’m looking forward to checking out the Bee Centre and what courses they have on offer and I’m already booked on a course in the new year. I think there are still some pricing inconsistencies that might put people off; yes the restaurant is excellent value, but some of the products on sale in the shop are quite expensive in comparison to other outlets in the area, and courses are not cheap either. I know it’s still early days, but I suppose my hope is that Bodnant Welsh food centre becomes widely known both in and outside of North Wales. If it can make itself accessible to more than just those in a particular wage bracket or the tourist industry and raise awareness among locals of the food we have on our doorstep its on to a winner. Hopefully then we will see this rather unique centre thrive and grow.

Bodnant Welsh Food is open from 10.00am – 6.00pm, Monday to Saturday & 11.00am – 5.00pm on Sunday.
Hayloft Restaurant is open Mon-Wed 12pm-3pm, Thurs-Sat 12pm-9pm and Sun 12pm-4pm
Bodnant Welsh Food, Furnace Farm, Tal-y-cafn, Conwy, LL28 5RP T: 01492 651100
E: customerservices@bodnant-welshfood.co.uk

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