Planning a UK cottage holiday in 2017? You may wish to take a look at Expedia’s new UK Food Map, which lists some of the best food and drink events taking place across the UK this year. Showcasing the UK’s year-round food scene, the map can be filtered by month-to-month to help holidaymakers plan some foodie fun for their next UK visit. Once you’ve found an event you’d like to attend, Expedia will even show you a list of nearby UK cottages that you could stay in.
This weekend, I went along to the January Food Fair at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthney, Carmarthenshire. Showcasing the best food and drink that West Wales and surrounding areas has to offer, the event featured a number of independent exhibitors selling fresh produce to eat there and then, or take home to enjoy.
Set in the Great Glasshouse, a large, glass-domed building nestled within acres of beautiful countryside and landscaped gardens, the National Botanic Garden of Wales provided an idyllic setting for the Food Fair.
With around 30 different food and drink producers exhibiting at the Food Fair, there was something to suit all tastes and everything was reasonably priced, too.
Here are some of my highlights from the Fair, including my favourite exhibitors and some of the tastiest food I bought to enjoy both on the day, and at home:
The Rhosyn Farm stall was perhaps the busiest in the entire Food Fair, attracting constant queues with mouth-watering hot meats, in addition to chilled meats available for purchase to take home. Their lamb cawl was the best thing we tasted throughout the whole day; melt-in-your-mouth, tender lamb in a rich, broth-like sauce interspersed with carrots, swede and potatoes, topped with grated cheddar cheese and accompanied by a soft bread roll.
Meanwhile, their sausages on sticks made for the ideal snack to eat whilst exploring the other stalls.
We made a bee-line for Little Welsh Deli’s collection of freshly baked breads, cakes, muffins and pasties. Their Welsh rarebit muffin particularly caught my eye, given that the name of my blog was inspired by this popular Welsh classic dish.
Cusan (Welsh Cream Liqueur)
Named after the Welsh word for ‘kiss’, Cusan produces its own version of the popular Irish cream liqeur, Baileys. Available in a variety of flavours including whiskey-based, Tia Maria and Malibu, this Welsh cream liqueur is incredibly smooth and creamy. After tasting this, you’ll be turning your nose up at Baileys.
We liked it so much, we took home two 330ml bottles of the Tia Maria liqueur for just £20 (£12 each usually).
Mr Nice Pie
Port-Talbot based Mr. Nice Pie bakes tasty vegan pies packed full of fresh veg, aromatic herbs and spices. Flavours include the Moorish Moroccan tagine, Drunken Mushroom, Swedey Todd and Rendang Curry. By the time we left the Food Fair on Saturday, they’d pretty much all sold out.
Little Grandma’s Kitchen
From chutneys, curds and preserves, to jams, jellies and marmalade, family-owned Little Grandma’s Kitchen specialises in artisan homemade products made in St Clear’s, Carmarthenshire. Products include both traditional classics, like strawberry jam and lemon curd, alongside more creative concoctions, like Jamaican marmalade and strawberry and prosecco preserve.
A traditional, independent fishmonger’s set within Carmarthen Market, Towy Fishmonger stocks a range of quality fresh fish and shellfish. Unfortunately they didn’t have any tuna on their stall at the Food Fair (my fish of choice at the moment) but they told me that the shop sells sushi-grade tuna, ideal for sashimi. So, if you live nearby or happen to be visiting Carmarthen on a UK cottage holiday, it’s well worth popping in for your fish fix.
My Vintage Delights
Peddling their wares from a vintage ice cream tri-cycle kitted out with a candy cart, My Vintage Delights enticed passers-by with homemade ice cream in assorted flavours including Turkish delight, Baileys liqueur and jaffa cake, served in either a tub, or a milk chocolate-dipped cone covered in coloured sprinkles. I treated myself to a Turkish delight cone, which was creamy, sweet and fragrant.
Pontardawe-based Cwm Farm rears rare breed pigs and produces snack salami and chorizo in a variety of flavours. We enjoyed nibbling on the laverbread salami, pictured below. However, the chorizo with brandy looked equally as appealing.
Ele’s Little Kitchen
While the Food Fair focused on showcasing fine Welsh produce, a number of other cuisines were also highlighted. Based in Gorseinon, Ele’s Little Kitchen specialises in delivering home-cooked Spanish dishes to your door. Their stand tempted fair-goers with several savoury Spanish snacks, like choripan; a spicy Spanish sausage drizzled with fresh chimichurri, wedged between a white ciabatta roll.
Joining Ele’s Little Kitchen in dishing up international cuisine to the people of Carmarthen was Sorai. Owned by Borneo-born Maria, Sorai produces a collection of Malaysian sauces and marinades perfect for use as condiments, dips or as a tasty addition to home-cooked meals.
To view Expedia’s UK Food Map, please click here.
Will you be enjoying a UK cottage holiday this year? I’d love to hear where you’re going, and where you plan to visit during your stay.
This post was sponsored by Expedia.