A brand new Food Trail aimed at introducing visitors to the gastronomic delights of the scenic Clwydian Range has been launched by Wales’s own Minister for Food.
And Alun Davies AM, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries reckons that once tourists have had a taste of Wales they’ll be hooked.
He was at the award-winning Caffi Florence restaurant at Loggerheads Country Park near Mold for the launch of the Clwydian Range Food Trail which has been produced by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd and will guide foodies through the county’s culinary culture.
Caffi Florence and the Tweedmill Factory Outlet, near St Asaph, are the twin gateways to the new trail and Alun Davies said: “Not only is Welsh food and drink a big part of our daily lives, it is also a vital part of Welsh culture. Food is so important to tourism and the Welsh economy, and the Welsh Government remains committed to strengthening the industry.
“For most visitors, sampling local food and drink is a highlight of their trip, and it is something they take home and tell others about.
“This food trail is a great way to introduce visitors to the wealth of good food that rural Denbighshire produces and sets a good example for others looking to follow suit.
“Good food attracts tourists and encourages them to return. And tourists in turn, provide a very important market for food producers and the hospitality industry.
“Throughout Wales we are producing excellent food and drink and we need to make sure that the rest of the World knows this.”
The Clwydian Range Food Trail, available in leaflet form, has been developed with funding from the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd’s Agri-Food Project Officer, said: “This is a very special project about creating a direct link between visitors and the producers and retailers of what are top class products.
“This is not just food, this is food from the hills and valleys of Denbighshire.
“It is special and of the highest quality and it is produced and prepared to the highest standards and the people on this Food Trail really care that the consumer enjoys it and wants to come back for more.
“Through this Trail we want to help them discover the richness, variety and quality that we have to offer in this part of Wales and to be able to tap into the knowledge that we have here about food.”
The Trail has also been welcomed by Dewi Davies, Regional Strategy Director for Tourism Partnership North Wales, who said: “We have a wealth of fantastic scenery in the Clwydian Range and it’s great to capitalise on that with the fantastic food offer here.
“The Trail will introduce our visitors to all those great tastes that are produced by our countryside economy and to start at the popular visitor destinations of the Tweedmill and Loggerheads is a
great way of ensuring that they stayin the area longer and spend more thus protecting local jobs.”
The Trail is a gourmet guide to the region, starting either at the Tweedmill or at Caff Florence and taking in butchers, bakers, delicatessens, farm shops, a trout farm, cheese and yoghurt makers, a
pate producer, a cider maker and even a chocolate shop.
Ron Squire, Café Manager at Tweedmill, said: “Here at Tweedmill we have up to 2,000 visitors a day and it is important to us that we give them a taste of Wales so we’re delighted to be a gateway to the Food Trail.
“We are branding ourselves as Blas Clwyd, the Taste of the Vale of Clwyd, and we try wherever possible to use local and regional produce – even our coffee is roasted in North Wales even if
it’s not grown here.
“We are really committed to supporting local business and to promoting Wales and that certainly applies to the food and drink that we serve.”
Jane Clough, of Caffi Florence, who lists the local producers who supply her on a board at the restaurant, said: “This is a fantastic way for us to better promote the great local produce there
“We always list our local producers because our raison d’etre as a café is to use locally-sourced food and the more we can enourage our customers to buy from local producers the better.
“Now the Food Trail will help them go straight to those producers and retailers and buy from them.”
David Jones, Chairman of the Food Trail Group, who runs a Bed and Breakfast at Efenechtyd, near Ruthin, said: “The Vale of Clwyd really is a hidden gem and we hope this will attract more people to the area.
“This is the first such trail in North Wales and we believe as well as attracting visitors it will make people here more aware of what they have and help tourism providers and food producers network among themselves to source local products and services.”
An Open Day to celebrate the Clwydian Range Food Trail will be held next Saturday, April 21, at Loggerheads and the Trail also has its own website www.foodtrail.co.uk
Cadwyn Clwyd continues to look for innovative projects to support which help safeguard the area’s natural, cultural and heritage assets and maximise their economic potential for local businesses and communities.
To find out more or share your idea for a project call 01824 705802 or email email@example.com