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Hootons Farm Shop

Based in Brynsiencyn, LL61 6HQ Llanfairpwllgwyngyll
You can ring and collect 01248 430322 or pop over to one of their shops to get what you need.  All shops are quiet with social distancing.
www.hootonshomegrown.co.uk
Retail company · Speciality food shop
Hours 09:30 – 17:30

 

 

 

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Meat, Game & Poultry

Epic chef will champion Welsh beef and lamb at Llangollen Food Festival

A larger than life TV chef will be championing Welsh beef and lamb with an outdoor cookery demonstration at a top food festival.

Chris “Foodgasm” Roberts, who has his own television series on S4C, will also have a starring role at the popular Llangollen Food Festival on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20.

He went from being a man who cooked on an old-fashioned spit roasting fire with his friends, without anyone watching, to overnight fame as a Facebook foodie with thousands of fans.

The first TV series, Bwyd Epic Chris, produced by Caernarfon-based Cwmni Da, was a big hit on S4C and the second series will be going on air in November.

Chris, who lives in Caernarfon, is looking forward to his first visit to the festival.

The event has now established itself as one of the highlights in the culinary calendar and has been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK.

According to Chris, the inspiration for his cooking style has come from Patagonia, the Welsh colony in Argentina.

He said: “My dad went to Patagonia and told me how they cooked. I never really thought about it at first but a couple of years ago I thought I’d give it a try and cook the Gaucho way. Gauchos are basically cowboys.

“It just took off really and people just seemed to like what I was doing. I was asked to do a TV series for S4C and we are just filming the second series.

Chris added: “There is always variation when cooking on an open-fire, instinct needs to be used when adapting to the climate outdoors.

“You must feel the food, the heat, test the temperature and be patient. When the food’s ready, it’s ready. I’m not just putting food in the oven and waiting for three hours, I work with the elements and the experience is always different.

“I want to show that we have amazing local produce, to showcase and celebrate the local food. Food is the best way of bringing people together, it makes life worth living and makes everyone feel good.”

“I’ll almost certainly cook up some Tomahawk Welsh Black steaks in Llangollen as well as some lamb. We have the best meat in the world in Wales. It comes from animals that have had a good life. A happy lamb is a tasty lamb in my humble opinion.

“Welsh lamb that has been out on the hillsides eating succulent grass, berries and herbs and that comes through in the flavour of the meat. It’s the same with grass fed Welsh beef.

“And if you buy Welsh meat that has the PGI mark – Protected Geographic Indicator – then it’s fully traceable right down to the farm and the animal it originated from. That’s important.”

 “I’m looking forward to Llangollen and showing people what an amazing product we have in Welsh meat and how to cook it Gaucho-style. I can assure meat lovers they won’t taste anything better!”

Llangollen Food Festival committee member Phil Davies says the festival is the perfect platform for Chris Roberts to demonstrate his love of Gaucho-style cooking.

He said: “The idea of the food festival is to inspire people to try new products, and see what we have to offer here in Wales.

“Chris’ Facebook videos have been viewed an incredible number of times and his first TV series was so popular we thought he’d be the perfect fit for the Llangollen Food Festival.

“We are delighted he’s agreed to come along and demonstrate his amazing cooking. There is no doubt that Welsh meat, be it lamb or beef, is a really high quality product and deserves to be championed.

“Cooking meat the way people of Welsh heritage learned to cook when they arrived in Patagonia just makes it extra special.”  For more information about the Llangollen International Food Festival please visit www.llangollenfoodfestival.com

Categories
Meat, Game & Poultry

Trout farm with “007” fame unveils tasty new treat at Llangollen

A trout farm and smokehouse whose delicacies once tickled the taste buds of James Bond has lined up a legendary new treat for visitors to a top food festival.

Chirk Trout Farm Shop and Smokery, which has supplied smoked trout to the Orient Express among other prestigious establishments, will be unveiling its luxurious new smoked pancetta at the 2019 Llangollen FoodFestival.

It will be the latest in a growing list of delicacies to have won the hearts of food lovers near and far – including iconic silver screen star Sir Roger Moore.

The late Bond actor, who became an international star after playing the secret agent a record-breaking seven times, once described Chirk Farm’s smoked trout as “the best he’d ever tasted” while tucking into lunch at a local restaurant.

Now the family-run farm is planning on inspiring a new legion of foodies at one of UK’s best-loved culinary extravaganzas.

The event, which has been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK, will be held at the international pavilion at Llangollen on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20.

“It’s great to be returning to one of the loveliest food events in the country with a new product,” said former veterinary nurse Rachael  Simpson, 40, who joined the firm run by the Simpson family after marrying her husband Richard, 44, who manages the smokery and trout farm. 

“The smoked pancetta came about after an enquiry at a farmer’s market. The customer produced game pies and her supplier had stopped selling it. It’s not something we’ve done before but there was no reason why we couldn’t so we thought we’d give it a try.

“We probably started experimenting at the end of last year. Obviously, it takes a while to cure and turn the meat into smoked pancetta. It has to hang for six weeks in muslin cloth and we smoke it lightly to give it that extra flavour.

“Since the food testing results came back we’ve trialled it at some of our establishments and it really seems to have taken off. We’re looking forward to bringing it to Llangollen.”

One of the longest-established trout farms in Wales, if not the whole of the UK, Chirk Trout Farm supplies a growing list of high-end restaurants, hotels and delicatessens. One of the restaurants it supplied, the award-winning Sebastians in Oswestry, has provided catering for the Orient Express and Chirk Farm’s smoked trout featured on the menu.

The firm uses traditional methods to smoke a variety of fish including trout, cod, eel and mackerel as well as poultry and game, garlic and even quail’s eggs. Smoked camembert cheese is another new product in the pipeline.

Unlike artificial methods using smoked flavouring, Chirk Trout Farm carefully prepares its meat and fish with seasoning before placing it in a smokebox over a fire fed by mainly oak chips from the valley in Glyn Ceiriog.

The warm, smoky air gently dries and preserves the food during a 24-48 hour process, with the exact time and results dependent on wind, temperature and sunshine.  

One of its most successful contracts is with the Shropshire Cheese Company smoking its award-winning, creamy Abermwg cheese.

Its reputation for quality has grown rapidly and the farm now counts Gales of Llangollen, The Three Eagles in Llangollen, The Swan Inn at Pontfadog, The West Arms at Llanarmon and The Hand hotel in Llanarmon among its customers.

It was in 2003, while on tour and dining in The Hand hotel at Llanarmon, Sir Roger Moore discovered the region’s best-kept secret – Chirk’s smoked trout.

Such was his delight that he told staff it was the “best he had ever tasted”.

“There are not many people who don’t know who Sir Roger Moore is,” said Rachael, who has two daughters aged 12 and 14.

“The fact that 007 has actually tasted our food – and loved it – is really nice. It’s something we can always be proud of.”

The farm was bought by the Simpson family in 2000, originally for the purpose of trout farming. Two years later, a farm shop was built followed by the smokery the following year, which enabled the firm to develop a range of smoked products including trout, for sale in the shop and beyond.

“Fish farming is seasonal and trout farming in particular runs from March through until October,” said Rachael.

“We needed something to sustain us through the winter so we started the smokery and farm shop and started going along to all the food festivals and farmers’ markets.

“We’ve been coming to Llangollen for at least 12 to 13 years, if not longer. It’s an important part of the calendar and always helps to promote the farm shop. It’s a really good food festival.

“Business is always growing. We’ve picked up quite a few contracts from Llangollen. It’s all word of mouth.”

Over the years, the firm’s repertoire has expanded to include homemade meals including smoked salmon lasagne, fish pie, smoked salmon and trout quiche and the famous Chirk Trout Farm smoked trout sausages, which stock the shelves of the farm shop as well as being sold at food outlets across North Wales.

The farm has chosen Hamper Llangollen as a springboard for its new smoked pancetta and is eager to see the response.

“At the moment, because it’s a new product, we’re not sure how much to do, it’s still in its infancy,” said Rachael.

“The restaurants love it so it’s just gauging how much we actually need but it is a great product.

“Like all our products, it is freshly produced. There are no chemicals, it’s naturally made and you know exactly where it came from.

“The good thing about our pancetta, and all our products, is that they can be frozen. This is particularly helpful at Llangollen where lots of people are buying for Christmas.”

Llangollen Food Festival committee member Phil Davies is looking forward to tasting the new pancetta for the first time.

He said: “The festival is a great launchpad for new products because it is jam-packed with food lovers with discerning palates.

“Our aim is to provide a shop window for our growing army of artisan producers who are becoming an increasingly important part of the local economy.”

Categories
Meat, Game & Poultry

Chocolate and fudge bangers on the menu

A new range of sausages made with chocolate and fudge be launched a top food festival.

 

The special bangers are being developed by young farmer and trainee butcher Arran Davies and his butchery mentor Brin ((corr)) Kelly at Abbey Farm, just outside Llangollen.

 

Their meat counter at Abbey Farm Shop, which also supplies local hotels and restaurants, is just up the road from where the Hamper Llangollen food festival will be staged on Saturday and Sunday October 18-19.

 

Now recognised as one of the UK’s top 10 food festivals, Hamper Llangollen is supported by 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.

 

 

The event at the Royal Pavilion sees a wide range of food and drink exhibitors along with demonstrations by top chefs, plus a Rail and Ale evening excursion on board a steam train with Llangollen Railway.

 

Arran, 27, is the third generation to work on Abbey Farm, next to the historic Valle Crucis Abbey, which has been in the family since the 1930s.

 

The secret recipe for the sausages, which also use pork from pigs raised on the family farm, is still being tweaked, admitted Arran.

 

“It’s a recipe that Brin has previously made, though he used cocoa powder then. This time we are using chocolate chunks – there will be dark chocolate and milk chocolate versions, plus a fudge one, which we think caramelises the sausage as it cooks, so it’s a sweeter taste.

 

“Our customers at the farm shop are going to be asked to sample it over the coming weeks until we get the recipe just right,” said Arran.

 

“I am learning the ropes from Brin – he is a traditional butcher and I am like an old-style apprentice, learning at first hand-hand. I split my time between working in the Farm Shop with Brin and working on the farm with my older brother Jonathan, 30, and my dad John. My younger brother Billy, who is 23, also works on the farm, though he also does contract work elsewhere.

 

“I’ve been worked on the farm since I left school, like my dad, who worked with his dad,” added Arran, who admits that he prefers the more traditional style sausages he also makes for the farm shop.

 

Brin, from Penycae, used to run his own shop in Coedpoeth until he moved to take over at the Abbey Farm Shop butchery three years ago.

 

“I have previously made chocolate sausages and thought they would be ideal for our stand at Hamper Llangollen – in past years we discovered that visitors like to try something a bit exotic, something they can’t buy every day. These sausages will be savoury but with a sweet edge, especially the fudge ones.

 

“We will also be doing a pig roast at Hamper Llangollen, as pulled pork is so popular these days,” said Brin.

 

Arran’s dad John Davies is the one who helps select the porkers to be raised at the 500-acre Abbey Farm. He also rears beef cattle plus runs two caravan parks.

 

“I buy the pigs in as weaners to fatten up, I like a mix of traditional breeds such as Gloucester Old Spot, and the modern varieties, which are much leaner, and crossed with the Welsh White.

 

“One of my earliest memories of my dad is him cutting a slice of bacon from a flitch hanging down in the kitchen, to cook for his breakfast.

 

“He was a big Shire horse man, always preferred horses to tractors, and he won a lot of prizes with them. The stables, where he kept the horses, are where the Farm Shop, Tea Rooms and Bistro are now. I like to think he would have pleased to see what we have done with the farm, which he took on as a young man just after the depression.”

 

A quartet of Wales’s best chefs will have a starring role at the festival. Graham Tinsley, executive chef at Carden Park in Cheshire and Conwy’s Castle Hotel, will be cooking up a Welsh feast with Mike Evans, hospitality lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos on Sea, and Dion Jones, one of Europe’s finest young chefs.

 

The ever popular Dai Chef, now the resident chef at Bodnant Welsh Food, the centre of excellence for Welsh food in the Conwy Valley will be there too.

Robert Didier, a baker who trained with culinary legend Raymond Blanc will also unveil the UK’s most expensive loaf – made with champagne and 24 carat gold, at the event.

 

Cadwyn Clwyd agri-food project officer Rob Price said: “Hamper Llangollen is a prime example of how Cadwyn Clwyd is helping to stimulate the local economy. The event will bring a large amount of people – and extra money – into the area, whether they are visiting for the day or staying the weekend

 

“There’s been a lot of interest in stands at the festival, both from established companies who have been many times before, and from new food and drink producers.

 

“There will be many new products on offer  -such as Arran and Brin’s chocolate and fudge sausages – as well as more traditional foods, so there will be something for everybody.”