Food for thought…

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority has linked up with four local pubs, a top food consultant and a renowned consultant chef to back a new food initiative aimed at bringing local produce direct to pub menus.

The White Hart Inn – Talybont on Usk; the New Inn – Bwlch; the Castle at Pengennfordd and the White Hart, in Crickhowell have teamed up with food consultant Nerys Howel and Consultant Chef for Capital Cuisine, Colin Gray to promote local and seasonal produce in their winter menus. 

All the chosen local pubs are situated in highly popular tourist areas, promoting activity routes such as the mountain biking, walking and horse riding.  And on their doorsteps there’s an abundance of superb local produce including wild mushrooms, venison, Welsh Black beef, sheep cheeses, ice-creams, apple juice and smoked salmon.

Visiting local farmers’ markets and food festivals, or looking on the internet for local food groups to see who is producing great food in the area can take up valuable time, so as part of the initiative a comprehensive list of local producers and suppliers who are willing to deliver to pubs in the National Park is being drawn up.

Jackie and Roger Griffiths from the White Hart in Crickhowell who took over their pub just three weeks ago said, “We are very keen to use seasonal local food. We create all our own dishes and we are looking forward to undertaking a mission to discover who and where our local food producers are.”

To start the initiative Nerys Howel and Colin Gray will be visiting each of the four pubs to discuss what they would like to offer on their menus, their location, type of customers, kitchen size and equipment.  Colin – who specialises in menu development – will then return to spend a day creating distinct dishes with each pub, resulting in flavours and styles that suit each individual pub.

The pubs will be highlighted on the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park web site as places where a selection of Welsh dishes that use local products can be enjoyed.

Carol Williams, Tourism Growth Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “This initiative builds upon research undertaken in 2005 from the South East Wales Survey by Research and Marketing Ltd. It found that locally produced food were major influencers for those eating and dining in the Bannau Brycheiniog, where even if the meal costs more, the majority of people said they favoured eating in places that use locally produced food.

“This initiative will hopefully encourage more visitors to stay overnight in the National Park to sample a truly local dish made from locally sourced food. This is aimed particularly at walkers, cyclists and horse riders who, at the end of their activity can look forward to a truly Welsh taste experience in their favourite local pub.”

In January 2008, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority plan to team up with four more pubs, so if you are interested in finding out more or would like to become involved please contact Carol Williams on 01875 620 478 or email