We have fantastic food traditions in North Wales stretch back centuries taking advantage of all that the land and sea has to offer often using meagre ingredients. There is a real “Foodie” scene on Anglesey and great restaurants that showcase all that the area has to offer.
We insist that you don’t take a break on Anglesey with enjoying some of the following -
The village of Menai Bridge sits on the Menai Straits where the fast flowing water and tides mean the freshwater and salty seawater combine to give these plump, amber-coloured meaty molluscs the edge over any of their competitors. Meticulously kept beds and strictly observed time off for breeding means that Menai mussels are very much a seasonal treat, loyal to the great tradition of only eating shellfish in months with the letter ‘r’ in the name. Click here for more information of this local delicacy.
Sewin (Sea Trout) and Samphire
Seafood and shellfish provide much of North Wales’s freshest ingredients. This is no surprise given how much of the country is coastal. Seabass, mullet and mackerel thrive off the coast of North Wales. We are also known for our Sewin, otherwise known as sea trout, which is only fished during a short window in the summer. Often caught by coraclers, fishermen happy to float downriver in a tony dinghy. Enjoy it simply cooked and paired up with wild samphire, which grows in plentiful supply along the coast. Forage and enjoy. You can even try to cacth your own fish. Click here for more information.
This traditional dish was originally known as Welsh rabbit, though at no point was rabbit one of the ingredients! This is, quite simply, the world’s finest cheese on toast. Use a flavour-packed local cheese instead of the usual strong cheddar. Try a French-style Croque Madame and serve it with a fried egg on top, at which point it becomes Buck Rarebit. Cook up some variations of your own. Add some locally sourced sausages and try bangers with Welsh Rarebit mash. We love this website and this recipe.
The star of the show in any North Wales afternoon tea is the famous Bara Brith, a traditional fruit cake with a unique flavour. This is a historic dish and one suspects that the addition of half a pot of cold tea into the cake mix was the result of an accident made centuries ago, but it works and makes this recipe unique to Wales. No visit to Anglesey is complete without at least one “Brith encounter.” Ann's Pantry is only a short drive from the cottages and they serve up a fabulous Bara Brith. To read more about this lovely restaurant and cafe, click here.
Associated with St. David’s Day, this dish may well be one of the first augers of spring, but let’s face it, it’s still pretty chilly out there in March. Help is at hand courtesy of this classic Welsh dish of slow-cooked lamb and leek broth whose foggy provenance means that you can embellish it with your own ingredients and little personal touches. The crucial ingredients are well-sourced lamb, which isn’t hard to find in North Wales, time and your patience. It is best enjoyed on a cold night in front of a roaring fire.
Salt Marsh Lamb
The wet conditions that sometimes bedevil Wales in the winter are paid for in part by an expanse of lush green countryside that feeds some of the most prized livestock and our world famous Salt Marsh Lamb. Grazing on coastal areas of Anglesey and other parts of Wales, that are often waterlogged by seawater, a salt marsh lamb feeds as much on samphire as they do grass, and their constant free-range roaming makes them much leaner and the meat is luxuriously tender and sweet A salt marsh lamb is allowed to age for much longer that spring lamb and is generally available between July and October. For fantastic Welsh produce, you should visit Hooton's Home Grown on the island. Click here for more information.
Known as one of the emblems of Wales, worn in miniature form on the lapels of proud Welsh folk for centuries on St. David’s Day. It is said that St. David himself ate only leeks during his fasting period. Leeks are firm, almost meaty vegetables with a subtle sweetness that make them versatile and adaptable. A good homemade leek and potato soup is without rival in the stomach-pleasing, inner warmth-providing stakes, but there are plenty of inventive ways to spring leeks upon your dinner guests.
Known as “Welshman’s caviar” this seaweed dish that’s often mixed with cockles or forms part of a traditional Welsh breakfast. Like oysters, laverbread offers an intense taste of the sea, and healthy-eating-types should note that it contains blood-purifying levels of iron. You must try it when you visit. It’s the Marmite of North Wales in terms of people’s love it or hate it attitude towards it!
Welsh pancakes made with buttermilk, are much thicker than normal pancakes. Crempogs tend to be served hot, piled into a stack and drizzled with butter and honey. It’s also a great Welsh word to learn and say!
There has never been a better time to try your hand at some dishes featuring famous Welsh ingredients. As the nights draw in, shop local and get cooking. Our cottages all feature well equipped kitchens and great dining spaces so make the most of your time together after a day spent exploring.