The Perfect Gift from Wales

Special offer Snowdonia Cheese Gift Box

The Snowdonia Cheese Company is famed for its deliciously moreish cheddar cheeses. This selection of truckles forms the ultimate hamper for any cheddar connoisseur. From the highly acclaimed classically creamy Black Bomber, to a wonderfully warm Ginger Spice with chunks of crystallised ginger running through it, this cheese is hamper is bursting with character.

Covid 19 Dairy The Welsh Market

Red Boat donating free ice creams to health care workers

Red Boat has been kindly delivering free ice cream to hospitals, hospices & care homes, throughout North Wales.

Whilst their outlets are closed, if you want to pick up a tub of their ice cream, they have recently announced that they are now available at Siop Ellis Spar in Llangefni and Mercado in Beaumaris.

Facebook: @redboatgelato


New cheese…300 years mature

Ever wondered what a 300-year-old cheese tastes like? Stop for an hour at the new Bodnant Welsh Food Centre in the Conwy Valley and find out.

For three centuries, farmers here made cheese to sell to travellers passing along the trade route between Cheshire and Holyhead port.

Influenced by the passers-by, Aberwen cheese was made Cheshire-style but matured quickly over a few months, so they could make and sell more of it.

So while the recipe has matured for over 300 years, the cheese itself is a little quicker to make!

But that’s not the reason why Aled Rowlands, Dairy Manager at Bodnant Welsh Food, chose to revive this cheese-making tradition.

“We want to keep alive the old recipes, but give them a modern flavour,” he says. “The milk comes from a single farm just a mile away. It would be difficult for the milk to be any fresher!

“Where possible the cheese-making process is by hand. It’s the way it used to be, but now we also take into account food miles and traceability. It’s tradition mixed with modern techniques.”

Aled and assistant Debbie also make Afongoch, an orange version of the cheese that did the reverse of Aberwen and influenced cheesemakers in England.

As well as selling cheeses, butters, yoghurts and creams from the farm shop, their wares are fresh ingredients for other food making at Bodnant Welsh Food.

They mix with flours stone ground in Welsh mills to make breads and cakes in the bakery. Milk becomes ice-cream and sells from the parlour, or it is made into cream and poured on slices of homemade cake in the tearoom.

“We are bringing back artisan cheese-making and traditional ingredients, and using them locally as they once were,” says Aled.

“It’s an exciting place to work. We’re supporting the local community, and visitors get a real taste of North Wales.”

Visit Bodnant Welsh Food –


Anna buzzing about new ice cream

An ice cream maker is buzzing about a new flavour it’s launching.

Chilly Cow Ice Cream will be unveiling the honey and lavender variety at the popular Hamper Llangollen food festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18.

Anna Taylor who runs the company based at Llanychan, near Ruthin, will be using honey farmed just down the road from her by enthusiastic beekeeper Brian Dacre, a carpenter who makes hand-crafted bee hives as well as farming bees.

Anna, who started Chilly Cow Ice Cream just 15 months ago, has seen her business grow from having just a handful of customers to 45 outlets.

She said: “Brian’s honey is pure gold, just delicious and there’s big demand for it, plus it’s local to us, so perfect for using in a new flavour of ice cream. I am about to start work on developing it and testing to create a unique new flavour. The idea is to combine it with lavender, which will be an ideal foil for the honey. I plan to launch it at Hamper Llangollen so I can offer foodie lovers the chance to taste it before they buy.”

The popular event in Llangollen’s Royal Pavilion is recognised as one of the UK’s top 10 food festivals.

Cadwyn Clwyd has provided financial support over the past few years to ensure the festival’s long term viability, this was funded through the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.

The honey and lavender flavour is the latest in a growing range of ice cream produced by Anna in a specially converted building at Stryt Fawr Farm, the family home where her husband, David and his father farm a herd of 75 Brown Swiss diary cows.

Anna said: “The Brown Swiss cows produce a rich, creamy milk, with high buttermilk content. It’s great for ice cream. We are so lucky to have them. Their milk makes a far nicer ice cream product than any other. I know I’m biased, but I love it.”

The idea to start producing ice cream professionally came after she had a go at it as a dessert for herself and David and their two children, Harry, seven and Ellie, five.

Anna said: “We started making a small quantity and it was so delicious that we decided to take the idea further. We looked into production costs, had some batches made up professionally using our milk and recipe and they were so good that we decided to go for it and set up a manufacturing unit here at the farm.”

Helped by local authority grants and advice from small business support organisations, the couple converted a former garage into a brand new production unit and it was not long before Anna had become a full time ice cream maker.

She said: “I used to have a job as a mortgage advisor and at first I thought I would be able to make ice cream part time and continue with the job I trained for during the rest of the week. But demand grew so quickly that was just impossible.”

Anna now has a part time employee who helps with the ice cream manufacturing, while she herself is also there most of the week, as well as taking to the road to distribute her orders across the region on a Friday.

She supplies delicatessens, pubs, hotels and food shops from Rossett to Llandudno.

“We also supply the shop at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, which I’m really proud of,” she said.

She also sells ice cream tubs direct from the farm.

Her growing flavour range includes traditional favourites such as vanilla, strawberry ripple, and chocolate, more unusual sticky toffee fudge, lemon meringue, chunky chocolate mint, and exotic flavours like mango and passionfruit and cherry cheesecake.

She said: “I taste all the flavours myself to make sure they work and I never sell any flavour that I’m not totally happy with. One of our most popular varieties, though, is the one called Just Chilly Cow, which has no additional flavourings at all – it is made purely of our own fantastic milk.”

Anna is a big fan of food festivals, like Hamper Llangollen and is also a member of the Clwydian Range Food Trail, which includes small artisan food producers around the region.

She said: “It is great to be part of the trail as I get to meet so many other excellent local producers and often we can help each other out by including each other’s links on our websites. Word of mouth also helps spread the news about all our products. That’s why Hamper Llangollen is so good. Once people have tried our ice cream there, they will often go home and tell friends and family about it, which is a great way of getting our brand more widely known.”


For more information about Chilly cow range visit


Say cheers with chocolate

It’s chocolate heaven for lager lovers.
Innovative chocolatier Jo Edwards is launching a new milk chocolate truffle with a heady ingredient – Wrexham Lager.
Jo, 40, whose company, Aballu Truffles, is based in Rossett, near Wrexham, will be unveiling the new truffles at the Hamper Llangollen food festival on October 18-19.
The new truffles are already a big hit at Wrexham Lager, the iconic brand that was first brewed in the UK back in 1881 and served on the ill-fated Titanic in 1912.
Jo sent a batch to be tested by the discerning palate of company director Mark Roberts.
But the Wrexham Lager Truffles were intercepted by head brewer Ian Dale, a self-confessed chocoholic, who promptly scoffed the lot.
Ian said: “I must say they were absolutely delicious. The texture was really creamy – definitely my idea of chocolate heaven.”
Jo is a regular at Hamper Llangollen – recently named as one of the top 10 food festivals in the UK – which is being supported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd.
Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution comes via the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
Jo came up with the idea for using Wrexham Lager when she was considering how to develop a chocolate treat aimed particularly for men.
And being Wrexham born and bred, and with her parents having run a pub, including a taste of Wrexham Lager in her new creation was the obvious choice.
Jo said: “I was looking at coming up with some ideas for a new truffle which would be particularly aimed at the male of the species.
“I grew up in Wrexham and Wrexham Lager is closely associated with the town.
“I remember the old brewery in the town and with my parents having run a pub in Brymbo near Wrexham, I thought Wrexham Lager was a great choice.”
Although the new truffle is aimed at men, the taste has gone down a treat with women who have been lucky enough to try out the new creation.
Jo said: “I am still in the process of developing the exact taste but I asked some local food producers who I know to give it a try as part of the trial process.
“They all happened to be female and they really liked it so the truffle will go down well with men and women.
“It has been really well received so far and although it is still under development I think it will do really well.”
Jo said fans of Wrexham Lager will be able to identify the unmistakable taste of the well loved lager when they bite into the truffle.
She said: “The lager is used to get the texture and flavour of the truffle.
“There is enough in there to get the Wrexham Lager flavour coming through.
“You can tell there is that lovely maltiness you get in the lager.”
The talented chocolatier said she was delighted to be able to launch her new product at Hamper Llangollen.
Jo started her Aballu truffles and artisan chocolatier business in 2006 and has attended the festival every year ever since.
She said: “There is always a great atmosphere at the festival and you get a real variety of top class food and drink.
“People always enjoy it and it is great to be involved with something so successful.”
The festival was named by the Independent newspaper as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK and Jo predicted the event would have another successful year this year.
She said: “I have always done well there and it is a fantastic event.
“Exhibitors come from all over the area and from further afield because people in the food and drink industry know it is a fantastic showcase for their products.”
Jo added she would be continuing to come with more unusual and innovative concoctions in the future for her chocolate creations.
She said: “I am always looking to do something different, something a bit unusual.
“I have put together ingredients just to see how they work out and they have been successful.
“There is chilli ginger and lime for example or blackcurrant and rosemary.
“There is always something different to do.”
Jo’s innovations have also secured her a host of prestigious awards.
Her chilli ginger and lime treat won her a prestigious Great Taste Award.
She said: “It was great to have it recognised. I have won two Great Taste Awards now.
“We were also named the 2nd Most Loved Confectioner in the UK as part of the Best of “Local and Loved” competition.
“It is based on the number of testimonials that your customers take time to write and submit to Best Of.
“It means a lot to us that we got the award because of testimonials.”
Also starring at Hamper Llangollen 2014 will be two of Wales’s top chefs.
Graham Tinsley, the star of ITV’s Taste the Nation and a former captain of the Welsh Culinary Team, will be joined in the show kitchen by the ever popular Dai Chef, who is now based at Bodnant Welsh Food, the centre of excellence for Welsh food in the Conwy Valley.
Cadwyn Clwyd’s Agri Food Officer, Robert Price, believes this year’s festival is going to be one of the best ever.
He said: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies like Aballu Truffles, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
“The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular – I can’t imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting.”
For more information about Aballu go to


New after dinner combo is a cracker

Forget the cheese, how about chocolate and crackers? The unusual after dinner delicacy is being launched by an award-winning North Wales chocolate maker. The spreadable chocolate will be unveiled at Hamper Llangollen 2012, the annual food festival that’s celebrating its 15th anniversary on October 20-21.

The chocolate and crackers combo is the brainchild of chocolatier Jo Edwards, whose company, Aballu, is based in Rossett, near Wrexham, A long-time supporter of the Llangollen festival, Jo has also just won Gold in the Great Taste awards for her Chilli, Ginger and Lime flavoured truffle.

She said: “For the first time at Llangollen I will be taking my chocolate truckles which are a sweet alternative to the cheeseboard.

“This is a chocolate that you can spread on crackers and several cheese companies have already shown an interest in it because it would make a great addition to a Christmas hamper.

“It’s a nice alternative to cheese and not too sweet. Someone asked me if I could make a chocolate cheese and I know people make chocolates to go with cheese and some cheese is produced with lumps of chocolate in, but I wanted to come up with something different.

“It took about 18 months to get it right and to develop the right packaging and the initial response has been good so we will see at Llangollen what the public thinks. Among the cheeseboard selection is a Spiced Port flavoured chocolate, a Praline, made with a Welsh praline liqueur from Condessa, and Lemon & Ginger.

“Llangollen is my favourite show of the year. If I was not there people might think I had gone out of business because they come looking for me at the show.

“It’s very important to me because it is the last show I do in the year and the last chance to get people to think about me and my business when they think about Christmas presents.”

This year’s festival is being supported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd. Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution came via the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.

Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd’s agri-food project officer, said: “The chocolate and crackers combination sounds like a fantastic idea, I can’t wait to give it a try!”

Jo, who began Aballu in 1998, has just wowed an international audience when she spent three days at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair at the Olympia exhibition centre with some of Wales’ best artisan food producers as one of the ‘Wales The True Taste’ exhibitors.

She said: “It was absolutely incredible in London and I’ve met some interesting contacts and have a lot of leads to follow up.”

Jo has also just become a Welsh Government “Dynamo Role Model” – business people who inspire youngsters to start up their own business. As a Dynamo role model Jo has started going into schools to talk to students about setting up in business, but she has also just gained her teaching certificate and is hoping she might be able to start a night class for budding chocolatiers at Yale college in Wrexham. Jo’s business mentor was Lorraine Whinn from Rural Foodies, a Powys-based organisation which helps promote quality artisan food producers in Wales.

The company’s not-for-profit sister organisation is Going Home that’s based in Mid-Wales. She has come up with some unusual flavours for a Christmas range to help organisation re-home and rehabilitate horses that would otherwise not have a future. She’ll be showcasing the range – which includes Christmas Tree flavoured chocolate drops, along with Winter Spice and Bucks Fizz – at Hamper Llangollen 2012.

Jo said: “The Winter Spice is a dark chocolate with a fresh range of winter spices and Bucks Fizz, a creamy white chocolate with orange oils and a fizz of popping candy.”

She also hopes to encourage more visitors to attend courses at her base in The Cocoa Rooms in Station Road, Rossett.

Built in 1881 The Cocoa Rooms were meant as an alternative to pubs, part of the temperance movement of the day and a reflection of the growing opposition to alcohol in the late 19th Century.

“It meant that during opening night here I could not offer guests any champagne or wine because it would breach the covenant on the building which was a little bit restrictive but it’s such a nice place to be,” said Jo.

Also starring at Hamper Llangollen 2012 will be a trio of Wales’s top chefs. Graham Tinsley, the star of ITV’s Taste the Nation and a former captain of the Welsh Culinary Team, will be joined in the show kitchen by S4C favourite Dudley Newberry. Completing the hat-trick will be the ever popular Dai Chef, who is returning to the event after an absence of several years.

Robert Price added: “Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.

“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.

“The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular – I can’t imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting.”

For more information about Aballu go to