I really love Wales. Especially North Wales. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time there over the years. In fact, it was my Grandad John who taught me that very phrase! Both my Grandad’s are Welsh, so it’s actually a pretty special place to me. Nan and Grandad on my Dad’s side have a static caravan not far from Caenarfon and as kids we spent a lot of time there over the summer holidays and for weekends away. I still go there now and just love getting away to the Welsh countryside.
My other Grandad is from Rhyll, and although he worked hard as a young man to move away from his birthplace and make something of himself in London, his Welsh roots are in my blood and there’s just something about Wales that makes me feel nostalgic and strangely ‘at home’.
So when Food & Drink Wales wanted to send Sophie’s Scran on a foodie adventure showcasing some of the best Welsh food and drink hot spots, how could I refuse?!
So here are my top picks for what to eat and where to stay in Wales – Part I!
What to eat and drink in Wales
Excellent pub food at The Hand, Llanarmon
As far as
The rooms are comfortable, ours had a lovely roll top bath and was stacked with local walking guides and foodie magazines. The menu is traditional with some modern twists and their chefs clearly take pride in their work. We had the steak and ale pie (made by local pie makers in the nearby village of Chirk) and a stunning piece of trout with a comforting barley risotto and samphire. The homemade chips are fantastic and everything a generous portion size – perfect after a long journey or hike across the Welsh valleys.
Delicious, creamy yoghurt at Llaeth Y Llan Village Dairy
During the trip, we stopped off at the now rather famous Llaeth Y Llan village dairy. Their thick, creamy low-fat yoghurts are now on supermarket shelves around the country – and not surprisingly, following their upscale earlier last year from batch production to a much bigger operation. Their family has been in the dairy business for years, starting out with milk rounds, then selling cream and progressing to making yoghurts that became so popular they decided to specialise in just that. All their cows are grass fed on the lush Welsh countryside plains in the middle of the Denbigh valley.
It’s been success after success for this lovely, family-run company and it was fantastic to meet with Gruff – son of the owner – who told us all about how they come up with their flavours, packaging and branding. We even got to try their brand new Cherry Bakewell flavour which is not to be missed! Look out for it in your local Asda as they supply some stores in the North West.
Exceptional chocolate by Coco Pzazz, Caersws
Whilst exploring the Welsh countryside, we also stopped off in Caersws where the delicious homemade chocolate – Coco Pzazz – is made by Lori and her small team. You may have seen their stunning chocolates in and around Wales – the packaging is so distinctive and their exciting flavours are so memorable and moreish. We got to try their brand new flavour – when we arrived they were experimenting with crunchy caramelised cacao nibs and smoked almonds!
I had a go at making their signature giant buttons (it’s much harder to get the perfect circle than it looks!) And tried my own flavour combination – milk chocolate with caramelised cacao nibs and sea salt. Mmmm! Look out for their chocolates in delis, hotels, cafes and as wedding favours this year and if you spot them tag @coco_pzazz!
Amazing roast dinner at The Fat Boar, Wrecsam
On the way back home towards Manchester, we took a little detour to Wrecsam to try out award-winning foodie pub The Fat Boar. It was a Sunday afternoon in January and the place was buzzing – full of people relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family over some hearty Welsh food, and a drink or two.
Their menu highlights local ingredients, and to start we shared the Smoked Mackerel Pate which was absolutely stunning. Then for mains, it HAD to be their Sunday Roast – plates piled high with garlic and rosemary roasties, homemade Yorkies, roast carrots and parsnips and fresh, vibrant greens. Neil had rare roast beef and I had the pork with stuffing – both divine and with cauliflower cheese and extra gravy as standard, washed down with a stunning glass of Malbec you really can’t go wrong here for a lush roast dinner to end the perfect weekend in Wales! RECOMMENDED!
I hope you’ve enjoyed Part I of my foodie adventures in Wales! Part II is all about my stay in Mid-Wales and includes a gorgeous countryside walk to blow away the cobwebs after a weekend of eating and drinking! In the meantime follow me on Instagram to see what else I’m getting up to @sophiesscran.