By Royal approval - the new £6.5m Bodnant Welsh Food centre
PUBLISHED: 17:52 18 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:52 18 April 2013
It’s not just Charles and Camilla who give the thumbs up to the Welsh produce at Bodnant Food
Budding chefs can try their hand at creating delicacies at a special Welsh cookery school, following in the footsteps of no less than the Duchess of Cornwall.
The school, part of the new £6.5m Bodnant Welsh Food centre, was officially opened by HRH Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
During her visit, the Duchess enjoyed making fresh pasta, under the watchful eyes of qualified chefs.
Bodnant Welsh Food centre is the biggest investment in an independent consumer development in Wales for several years.
The centre includes a Welsh food shop, dairy, bakery, butchery, and a tearoom and restaurant serving food made with ingredients from the farm shop. It also has training facilities, farmhouse accommodation, regular wine tastings and wine appreciation courses.
The school teaches hands-on cooking skills from some of the country’s top artisan craftspeople and chefs. Courses, from one to four days, include mastering the arts of charcuterie making and Aga baking, some led by Michelin-starred chefs.
People taking part in cookery classes use locally produced ingredients and are encouraged to cook with the seasons. Courses include sugar craft and truffles; Asian cookery; tapas; the art of sourdough and master-classes in cooking seafood.
Situated in the Conwy Valley, Bwyd Cymru Bodnant Welsh Food is the brainchild of Bodnant estate owners, Michael and Caroline McLaren.
Their vision to create an innovative centre for the production, promotion and enjoyment of Welsh food, has seen the transformation of a range of 18th century farm buildings at Furnace Farm, just off the A470 (Glan Conwy to Llanrwst).
More than 50 per cent of the produce sold at the shop comes from North Wales, while more than 70 per cent is sourced from across Wales.
The centre, near Bodnant Gardens, is also home to the new National Beekeeping Centre for Wales.
Bodnant Welsh Food Managing Director Chris Morton, said: ‘The vision for Bodnant Welsh Food is to give local suppliers of high quality produce an outlet, they would not otherwise have, to sell their goods and we are also committed to paying a premium to farmers.
‘Our customers can buy products made with the finest ingredients, sourced as locally as possible. We’ve recruited more than 60 people, 95% of whom live in this area and will spend their wages locally. In addition to the support of local people, we also expect thousands of tourists to visit the centre each year, bringing further economic benefits to the area.’
The centre, which is also becoming popular as a conference and wedding venue, has been backed with £3.3m from the Welsh Government including the European Regional Development Fund, Targeted Match Fund and a Processing and Marketing Grant as part of the Rural Development Plan.
Future plans include developing the farm shop with an interactive cookery demonstration area, as well as a specialist wine shop and the development of Bodnant Welsh Food’s own cheese. A play area for children will also feature, with outside tables to enable customers to enjoy refreshments while taking in the views.
The farm shop is open daily from 10am to 6pm and 11am to 5pm on Sunday, with the tearoom open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sunday.
The restaurant is open daily from noon to 4pm, and from Thursday to Saturday noon to 11pm.
For more information visit www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk