Take A Foodie Tour of Wales

Llansantffraed Court chef, fine dining, restaurant

A hub of artisan producers, exciting restaurants and stunning boutique hotels, Wales is the perfect location for a foodie getaway.

There are few destinations that take the ‘eat local’ mantra more seriously than Wales. With stunning scenery, delicious food and a thriving restaurant scene, it’s fast becoming the location of choice for food lovers in the know.

The region has long since peeled off the ‘gastronomic desert’ label slapped onto it unfairly by critics who rarely ventured west of the Hammersmith flyover. In the sixties, it could even be argued that the esteemed Franco Taruschio – he of the famed Walnut Tree Inn at Abergavenny – was one of the first to popularise the concept of informal fine dining allied to the championing of fresh local produce.

So where’s the good food in Wales nowadays? And what are the trends that have seen Abergavenny become host to the best food and drink festival in the UK, and in the process acting as a barometer of the movement in Wales generally? One tried-and-tested introduction into Wales’s food scene is Welsh Rarebits, an exclusive collection of 36 hotels, membership of which is by invitation only.

When we say ‘hotels’ we don’t mean big, impersonal establishments and international brands. The vast majority of Rarebits are privately owned and run, and range from seaside hotels to country houses, historic inns to cool boutique boltholes, townhouses to restaurants with rooms. Since one of the criteria for membership is to be found in the kitchen, you can confidently expect to your chosen Rarebit to serve more than cheese on toast.

Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth, Cardiff, Michelin Star

Here’s a whistle-stop tour of just a handful of Rarebits – a good cross-section to give you a flavour of what to expect.

At the gateway to Wales near Abergavenny stands Llansantffraed Court. Its owner, Mike Morgan, is well known in Wales for his passion for food – and it shows in his menus. Provenance and food miles are high on the agenda. “Luckily for us,” says Mike, “Monmouthshire is blessed with amazingly dedicated small producers.” Specialities include Welsh Black beef, organic pedigree Welsh mountain lamb and succulent Brecon venison.

It’s the same story at Felin Fach Griffin near Brecon, named Dining Pub of the Year – a country pub redefined and reinvented. Laid back and properly comfy, with nicely worn sofas, log fires and a cosy winter warmth the Scandinavians call hygge, it’s serious only when it comes to its food, which is on a different planet from typical pub grub. Great ingredients are sourced right on the doorstep (including their own kitchen garden), so expect daily and seasonal menus to feature Welsh beef and lamb, plus game from local estates.

Restaurant James Sommerin at Penarth is the creation of one of Wales’s Michelin-starred chefs. Ask anyone who knows anything about food in Wales and the name James Sommerin soon crops up. His track record as an inspired and uniquely talented chef speaks for itself.

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Seafood is another Welsh top-notch speciality – so much so that much of it ends up on plates in France and Spain as well as locally. Shellfish include crab, lobster, mussels, scallops and even oysters (not forgetting Penclawdd cockles sold fresh in Swansea Market, with – of course – dash of vinegar and pepper). There’s plenty of fish too – sea bass, hake, mackerel, turbot and sole to name but a few.

St Brides mussels

And since Pembrokeshire is defined by the sea it’s no surprise that Rarebits hotels here make the most of the local catch of the day – taste the freshness while soaking up the clifftop views from St Brides Spa Hotel at Saunderfoot on the south coast, or Newport’s Llys Meddyg in the north.

Glyn Roberts has been cooking up a storm at Castle Cottage, Harlech, for longer than he cares to remember. Not that he’s lacking any of his original passion for the profession. He’s a typical top-end chef – get him talking about his favourite subject (yes, you’ve guessed it) and you might be there until dawn peeks over the battlements of Glyn’s historic neighbour, Harlech Castle. His dishes are inventive but full of honest-to-goodness flavour, a testament to the integrity of the local produce.

On the Isle of Anglesey, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is the colourful town of Beaumaris. The Bull has a destination restaurant renowned for its modern cuisine and boasts 3 AA Rosettes.  It’s a 400 year old Inn complete with original beams as well as having a trendy boutique hotel next door, The Townhouse.

The Bull, Anglesey, North Wales, fine dining, food

And any foodie tour around Wales has to take in Tyddyn Llan near Bala, where Michelin-starred Bryan Webb attracts accolade after accolade with the regularity of a metronome for the skill and quality of his cooking – not to mention the overall dining experience presided over by his wife Susan.

You don’t even have to travel to Wales to sample its bountiful larder; we haven’t mentioned its artisan farmhouse cheeses yet, which even the French have been known to praise. Rarebits’ ethos of quality has been applied to Gourmet Wales, a mail-order scheme that brings the best of Welsh food and drink to your doorstep. A variety of hampers for all occasions are available. Treats include top-quality meats, fine pies, terrines, coracle-caught smoked sea trout, marmalades, jams, pickles and chutneys, Anglesey sea salt, honey, waffles, shortbread, oatcakes, chocolates and an eclectic choice of wines – not forgetting those artisan cheeses.

Celebrating Father’s Day

Whether he’s seeking adventure, dreaming of luxury or just looking for a quiet place to have a pint, we’ve picked our top 10 destinations to spoil your Dad this Father’s Day.

Father's Day gift ideas

Fishing at Gliffaes Hotel, Crickhowell.

Father's Day gift ideas

Gastronomic adventure at Hammet House, Pembrokeshire

Father's Day gift ideas

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Hammet House on the Pembrokeshire coast for a gastronomic experience.
  2. Stay at The Metropole Hotel & Spa in Llandrindod Wells and visit the Red Kite feeding center nearby.
  3. Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa for activities along the lake including cycling, fishing, clay pigeon shooting, bird watching (the hotel is set in a 24,000 acre RSPB reserve) and many more water activities.
  4. Gliffaes Country House in the Brecon Beacons for a spot of fishing on the River Usk, they have 1.5 miles of trout and salmon fishing exclusively.
  5. Castle Cottage in Harlech has the famous Royal St Davids golf course nearby to test Dad’s skills.
  6. If he’s a pet lover, why not take the dog along with him to The Falcondale in Lampeter, with 14 acres of lawns, gardens and woodland on site to explore.
  7. Relax at St Brides Spa Hotel in Saundersfoot whilst treating him to a session in the alfresco Hydrotherapy pool which is heated to body temperature.
  8. Harbourmaster in Aberaeron – make sure he makes use of the mountain bike for some serious adventure in the local area. There are two mountain bikes available at the hotel for guests to use free of charge! Ask Glyn for some local cycle routes.
  9. For Foodie Dads why not treat him to a Michelin starred dining experience at Tyddyn Llan Restaurant with Rooms in Llandrillo.
  10. Indulge in the award winning real ales and ciders on tap at Y Talbot in Tregaron, the heart of the Cambrian Mountains. You could even stretch to a hearty meal in this historic and characterful Inn.
Father's Day gift ideas

Cycling recommended at Harbourmaster, Aberaeron

Father's Day gift ideas

Real Ales & Ciders at Y Talbot, Tregaron

Father's Day gift ideas

Alfresco Hydrotherapy pool at St Brides Spa, Saundersfoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t decide which destination to choose, check out our gift vouchers, he can use these towards booking his favorite break.

Enter our competition on Twitter and Facebook – just tell us where you would take your Dad using #WelshRarebitDads for a chance to win a £100 gift voucher. We will pick the winner on Monday 13th June and will post the gift voucher immediately so you can give it to your dad on Father’s Day – Sunday 19th June.

Weekend getaway to Wales this Spring!

Weekend getaway to Wales this Spring!

The Hip Horticulturist, a travel, interior and gardening blog, mentioned our website within their blog post on where to go for a UK weekend getaway!

We were thrilled to read that they picked Wales as a great place to venture for a nice couple of days and of course we couldn’t agree more. We were even more thrilled when they suggested to use our website, Welsh Rarebits, to find the perfect place to stay.

Wales weekend getaway

As mentioned in their post, Wales is a fantastic holiday destination for families and on our website we’re confident that you will find that perfect place for you and your family to enjoy.

Moreover, Wales isn’t just a family spot, it can become whatever holiday you want it to be; a romantic fling, an outdoorsy weekend, a carefree couple of days or an active adventures day or two! No matter what type of holiday you’re seeking we believe that anyone can find their perfect holiday in Wales.

As we’re an independent brand we’ve handpicked some of the best places to stay in Wales to save you time flicking through tons and tons of websites searching through different hotels. We also have a brochure that we would happily mail out to you.

weekend getaway - Harbourmaster Aberaeron

Harbourmaster, Cardigan Bay

However, we don’t just want to be a website where you discover where to stay we also want you to be inspired on how to spend your holiday! That’s why we’ve listed all the wonderful ways you can discover Wales, from where to enjoy a good bike ride, a scenic walk to what big events are happening around the time you plan to go away. In that way, you can enjoy Wales to the full!

Head over to our main website to search through our lovely selection of hotels! We also have an extensive list of offers which could not only save you money but also give you some inspiring ideas on where to go and what to do.

weekend getaway - coes faen spa lodge BB

Coes Faen Spa Lodge, Barmouth

You can also find alternative styles of accommodation in our extended Welsh Rarebits family by visiting The Great Little Places for B&B’s and Guesthouses and The Rare Hideaways for self-catering cottages.

Thank you The Hip Horticulturist for mentioning us within your post!

Exploring Mount Snowdon & the National Park

Year of Adventure- Exploring Mount Snowdon and the National Park

This month, spend a day exploring the beautiful scenery of Snowdonia National Park. Situated in north west Wales, there are over 150 attractions available to visitors. A highlight of the park is Mount Snowdon, the tallest mountain in Wales and England standing at 3,560ft. Choose from six different routes to climb the summit, or jump aboard the Snowdon Mountain Railway for a more relaxed journey. Once at the peak, you can enjoy stunning views of Snowdonia, Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and even Ireland.

As well as the mountain, Snowdonia is home to inland lakes with a range of watersport activities including canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and whitewater rafting. Bala Lake, also known as Llyn Tegid, is the largest natural body of water in Wales and plays host to many watersport enthusiasts. The lake is also renowned for fishing but whatever you fancy, Snowdonia has it all so be sure to prepare for an action-packed day.

Where to stay

Just outside of Snowdonia National Park is Tyddyn Llan, a picturesque country house with a relaxed, friendly feel. Run by couple Bryan and Susan Webb, this restaurant with rooms is a peaceful place to relax after a busy day. This month two guests can enjoy a six-course tasting menu, glass of wine, overnight accommodation and a full cooked breakfast for just £260. To find out more, click here.

Year of Adventure - Exploring Snowdonia National Park with Welsh Rarebits luxury hotel, Tyddyn Llan, North Wales,

Tyddyn Llan, Michelin starred Restaurant with Rooms

What to eat

With a Michelin star and countless restaurant awards, chef and owner of Tyddyn Llan Bryan cooks up a storm in the kitchen. Savour one of his renowned dinner menus, ranging from three to six courses, and includes mouth-watering dishes such as cassoulet of pork, morteau sausage and duck confit. Also be sure to try out a glass (or three) from the impressive wine list.

Year of Adventure - Exploring Snowdonia National Park, Tyddyn Llan Gourmet Michelin Star Dining,

Tyddyn Llan Gourmet Michelin Star Dining

 

During your visit remember to hashtag your pictures and tweets with #FindYourEpic #GwladGwlad and #WalesAdventure #AnturCymru

Slow Food is Best

Bryan Webb at Tyddyn Llan

Bryan Webb at Tyddyn Llan

Bryan Webb, the renowned Michelin star chef at Tyddyn Llan in Denbighshire, has become a member of the Slow Food Chef Alliance.

Slow Food UK developed the alliance in recognition of those chefs who share the organisation’s vision to promote small-scale producers and good quality local and sustainable food.

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