Food lovers from across North Wales and beyond will be heading for Gwledd Conwy Feast later this month (October 28-29) and along with them producers of some of Wales’ most iconic products.
Featured at Conwy Feast will be the growing ‘family’ of Welsh products safeguarded under the European Union Protected Food Name scheme.
These diverse products will step into the limelight in displays, demonstrations and tasting sessions as food and drink take centre stage in the Welsh Government EUPFN marquee on the Saturday and Sunday of the annual festival.
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths commented “It is great to see the array of Welsh Products that have received EU recognition growing. I wish to congratulate all that have gained this important achievement which will safeguard their products for future generations. I am proud of our food and drink industry which is recognised globally for its high quality products”.
The EUPFN Scheme was introduced in 1993 to protect food and drink products on a geographical basis, and among the famous products protected are Champagne, Parma Ham, Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Welsh Lamb, and Welsh Beef.
There are three designations within the scheme: Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG).
The 14 Welsh PFN products to date are: PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef, Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes/Pembrokeshire Earlies (PGI), Anglesey Sea Salt/Halen Môn (PDO), Carmarthen Ham (PGI), Conwy Mussels (PDO), Welsh Wine (PDO) Welsh Wine (PGI), Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork (TSG), West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon (PGI), West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin (PGI), Welsh Laverbread (PDO), Traditional Welsh Perry (PGI), and Traditional Welsh Cider (PGI).
The Welsh Government is committed to supporting Welsh producers to achieve Protected Food Name status and develop collaborative opportunities to promote the Welsh ‘family’ of food and drink products.
At Conwy Feast, there will be a marquee where people can learn more about the PFN scheme and taste and buy some of Wales’ protected products.
Hybu Cig Cymru will be cooking with PGI Welsh Beef and PGI Welsh Lamb, Blas y Tir will be raising the profile of Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes (PGI), and visitors will be able to sample and buy the iconic local delicacy – Conwy Mussels (PDO).
While other stall holders will include Anglesey Sea Salt (PDO), Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork (TSG), and Welsh Wine (PDO/PGI).
In addition to those products already protected by the scheme, there are several other Welsh products in various stages of the PFN application process which will be featured, including the Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum, and Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/ Traditional Welsh Caerffili.
The cheese will be featured at the event by Bodnant Welsh Food Centre whose own Traditional Welsh Caerphilly won three stars at the 2016 Great Taste Awards.
Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum
Hot on the heels from holding its own festival earlier this month is the Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum, which is hoping to achieve PDO status.
Grown in the area for centuries the Denbigh Plum had been in decline, with many people mistaking the fruit trees for the more widely known Victoria Plum.
However, the turning point came at a local business group’s meeting ten years ago, and since then the number of orchards has grown from 30 to 50, with more discovered all the time and land being donated for new orchards.
“It is a delicious and very versatile fruit which may be eaten straight off the tree or included as an ingredient in amazing products - ice cream, chocolates, bread, pork pies to name just a few,” explains Nia Williams, secretary of the Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum Group, the body driving the plum’s resurgence, and which has as its patron chef Bryn Williams.
Says Nia, “We are increasingly being called in to identify trees, as people are now realising what they have in their garden isn’t necessarily a Victoria Plum but rather is a Denbigh Plum.
“If the Denbigh Plum receives PDO status then it will put the whole of the Vale of Clwyd on the map, and it will secure the fruit’s future. It could also prove to be a new enterprise for farmers too as the trees can be grown alongside grazing sheep.”
Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/ Traditional Welsh Caerffili
Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffili is hoping to soon become Wales’ 15th PFN product - and if successful will be its first cheese to be awarded protected status.
Already a household name, Traditional Welsh Caerphilly is viewed as Wales’ ‘native’ cheese, with references to its recipe and manufacture going back centuries.
“Mainly associated with South Wales, it is the only cheese recipe that has survived the generations, and there are records showing cheese being exported from Cardiff to Bristol in the 17th century and dairy products exported from Glamorgan as far back as 1552,” says Welsh cheese consultant and international cheese judge, Eurwen Richards.
Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/ Traditional Welsh Caerffili is a hard cheese made in Wales from Welsh cow’s milk. Created to be eaten young from 10 days old it can be matured for up to 6 months. It has a smooth close and flaky texture and a mild slightly “lemony” taste and a fresh lingering after taste which develops on maturity to have a more pronounced, fuller, but still mild flavour.
Currently at European Union consultation stage - which is the last stage of the PFN process - Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffili is likely to be the next Welsh / UK protected product.
Says, Eurwen Richards “It’s high time Traditional Welsh Caerphilly cheese was recognised, and if it gains PGI status it will be further recognition of the quality and diversity of produce from Wales.”