Food to try in North Wales and where to try it

Wales is well known for countless things. Our unique culture and heritage, the language, the incredible landscapes, the rugby… we could go on! But one thing that doesn’t tend to spring to mind when thinking about Wales is food.

While North Wales might not be a well-known culinary destination, it’s up-and-coming and beginning to make its mark on the foodie map. We have plenty to offer in the way of superb food festivals, restaurants serving delicious locally-sourced food, and, most importantly, some fantastic local producers.

In this and future blogs, we’ll bring you platefuls of food inspiration for your stay at the Royal Victoria Hotel as we take you on lip-smacking sightseeing tours of some of North Wales’ best-known towns, including Conwy and Caernarfon. In short, we’ll show you what’s good to eat and where.

With so much food to enjoy in North Wales we’ve decided to whet your appetite with some of the culinary highlights of the region – guaranteed to get your taste buds tingling.

food North Wales

Award-winning restaurants

Did you know 41 North Wales eateries feature in the current Michelin Guide? Restaurants of all budgets and styles secured a coveted spot but there’s simply too many to mention here (although they’re all worth a visit) so why not take a look at them here?

Sosban & The Old Butchers, Menai Bridge

This restaurant is located in the heart of Menai Bridge and has gained a fantastic reputation for food and service. After winning almost every local food award going, it recently gained its first Michelin star. Sosban offers a 6-8 course surprise menu using locally-sourced fresh produce. Our advice? Book well in advance, the waiting list is rather long!

Plas Bodegroes, Pwllheli

This Pwllheli restaurant is located in a beautiful Grade II listed Georgian house set in charming grounds. Expect a unique experience, with eclectic modern art decorating the interiors. The team focus on creating modern interpretations of traditional classics, again spotlighting local Welsh produce as much as possible.

Tyddyn Llan, Corwen

Run by a husband and wife team, Tyddyn Llan is considered one of Wales’ finest restaurants. It prides itself on serving the finest seasonal produce and locally-reared meat, both reflected in the ever-changing menu. Unlike a lot of Michelin-grade food, the dishes are hearty and comforting and the menu features something for everyone – it’s guaranteed to leave you feeling satisfied.

Craft Beers

The recent revival in microbrewing has created a massive buzz in North Wales. With no less than seven new breweries opening in the past twelve months, the craft beer and real ale scene here is thriving.

Our favourites include the long-established and well-loved Great Orme Brewery; it produces a range of craft beers highly regarded the world over and newcomer, the Wild Horse Brewing Company that uses pure Snowdonia water to make three tasty signature brews.

You can’t beat a pint of local real ale on a weekend away, so why not sample a pint yourself?

Albion Ale House, Conwy

The 1920’s public house is considered one of the finest in Britain. You’ll be able to find four hand pulls which date back to the 1920’s – all still in use today! There’s a relaxing snug for you to wind down in, or a main bar room which is never short of interesting conversation.

The Bay Hop, Colwyn Bay

The Bay Hop opened in 2016, and has proved a hit with locals and tourists alike. As Colwyn Bay’s first micropub and bottle shop, you’ll find real ales, cider, and beers from Wales and around the world – all excellent value for money.

Wine

It’s not just North Wales brewed beer that’s proving popular with drinkers. You might be surprised to learn the region is home to several well-regarded wineries too. Thanks to our very special micro-climate, we enjoy temperate conditions all year round. It’s an ideal environment ideal for growing grapes!

Pant Du Vineyard & Orchard in Penygroes just outside Caernarfon, has been growing its own grapes for just over ten years. The result is a tempting, award-winning trio of red, white and rose wine blended from well-known varieties, including Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Rondo.

If wine’s not you thing, Pant Du also produce a delicious range of ciders, grown from 18 acres of cultivated orchards – a mixture of cider and native Welsh apples.

With wine and cider tasting courses and vineyard/orchard tours, plus a cafe serving light bites and shop to stock up on your favourite tipple, it’s a great place to spend a day.

Cheese

food North Wales

It’s no surprise Wales has an abundance of great quality cheeses when you consider the rich and fertile landscape that surrounds us. In fact, Wales could lay claim to being the UK capital of cheese making, with a homegrown industry that, like brewing, has boomed in the last 5 years.

Snowdonia Cheese Company, Rhyl

The Snowdonia Cheese Company produce a family of cheeses ‘bursting with character’. The star of the show, ‘Black Bomber’ cheddar, has won heaps of awards, and we can vouch for it being incredibly moreish. One of the best known Welsh cheese companies, you’ll find the range at food festivals and speciality cheese stockists around the region.

Castell Gwyn Cheese, Llandudno & Anglesey

This artisan cheese is handmade by talented cheese maker Jackie Whittaker on Anglesey. Castell Gwyn is a relative newcomer to the Welsh cheese scene but has already made a big impression, winning acclaim from Tyddyn Llan’s Bryan Webb and Silver for ‘Best Welsh Cheese’ at the International Cheese Awards!

But the proof is in the pudding (or cheese in this case) and we suggest you try it for yourself. As Jackie says, “what’s better than tucking into a warm gooey Camembert with toasted ciabatta bread and perhaps a glass of something special?”

Meat

There’s a reason Wales is famous for its meat. The wide open spaces and rolling green hills of Wales are perfect for lamb and beef farming so if you enjoy high quality, free-range meat, you’ve come to the right place.

Teyrdan Hall Farm, Colwyn Bay

Pigging Good Pork’s goal is to produce quality over quantity and the farm, on the outskirts of Colwyn Bay, provides a wonderful free-range home for hand-reared cattle, sheep and rare breed pigs. The stock are happy in superb living conditions and enjoy heaps of individual attention. And, you know what they say, happy animals equal tasty meat!

Edwards of Conwy, Conwy

Edwards of Conwy meat is so successful that you can now find it in supermarkets across Britain and gracing TV screens across the nation with the memorable ‘Edwards of…’ adverts. Awarded ‘Britain’s Best Butcher’ several times over, this team of master butchers, sausage and pie makers pride themselves on using only the highest quality, extra-mature Welsh meat.

What was once a well-kept local secret is now on its way to becoming a national treasure and we couldn’t be prouder.

Sweet treats

After all that cheese and savoury goodness, are you craving something sweet? With Welsh classics including as Bara Brith and Welsh cakes, North Wales won’t let you down on the dessert course either.

Snowdon Honey Farm & Winery, Llanberis

Just a stone’s throw from the hotel, you will find Snowdon Honey Farm, a quirky and fascinating little place serving some delicious sweet treats straight from nature’s larder. What started out as a hobby soon turned into a passion and the shop and tea rooms have now become a must-visit for many visitors to Llanberis.

Producing a range of honey-related items, including jars of honey, truffles and mead (an ancient alcoholic drink made from fermented honey) you can enjoy a free tasting session before making your purchases. But, if you don’t get change to sample everything, visit again and enjoy a snack at the tea rooms.

Aberffraw Biscuit Co., Llanrwst

These biscuits are said to be the oldest in Britain and have their origins in medieval pilgrimages of the 13th century. Today these scallop-shaped shortbread inspired by the Anglesey coastline come in a range of flavours and are a real Welsh treat.

Like Edwards, Aberffraw are putting Wales firmly on the foodie map being stocked in high street and luxury stores both at home and abroad. What a journey for a little biscuit to make!

Baravelli’s, Conwy

Baravelli’s are Wales’ ‘first real bean to bar chocolatiers’, with all chocolates being made on the premises in Conwy. Having won 15 food awards in the past few years alone, it’s hard not to give into temptation, especially as the team are always experimenting with new flavour combinations.

Dark chilli truffle or Penderyn Whisky? Tasting is believing!

Dining at the Royal Victoria

 

If the thought of all the food has got your tummy rumbling, we’ll leave you with this final serving. The Royal Victoria has some great dining options to enjoy during your stay too.

Whether you fancy a spot of fine dining in the Victoria Restaurant or a quick snack to refuel in the Eryri Bar & Lounge, all our food is locally sourced and expertly prepared by our team of chefs. Our dining areas were fully refurbished and tastefully decorated in 2016 and make a great choice for a bite to eat after a busy day on the food trail.

Using only the freshest locally sourced ingredients from carefully selected suppliers, we pride ourselves on preparing delicious meals that change with the seasons, making the best of all the Welsh countryside has to offer.

Highlights of our menu include, ripe tomato bruschetta, topped with Pant ys Gawn goat’s cheese; homemade steak and Clogwyn Ale pie; and, for those of you with a sweet tooth, our signature sticky toffee pudding with Welsh farmhouse ice cream.

We look forward to reserving your table soon.

Images: © Crown copyright 2016 (Visit Wales)

The top 5 most romantic places to propose in North Wales

You’ve had the approval of the in-laws, spent days looking for the perfect ring, and you’re absolutely certain that this one is for keeps. But what comes next is the most nerve wracking part – popping the question to your loved one. It’s daunting enough without the added pressure of finding the perfect moment and place!

Picking the day

This time of year is very special for Welsh lovers. Did you know, we have our very own patron saint of love, Saint Dwynwen?

Dwynwen was a 4th century Welsh princess who, sadly, was unlucky in love. You can read her tragic tale here. Dwynwen become a nun, making her home on nearby Llanddwyn Island, and dedicating her life to praying for lovers to enjoy the happiness she was deprived of.

We celebrate St Dwynwen’s Day on 25 January, making it the most romantic day on the Welsh calendar. Besides Valentine’s Day (why wait?), could there be a better day to start your new adventure together?

Setting the mood

We think the Royal Victoria is a charming romantic getaway. Many of our recently-refurbished rooms have stunning views. The mesmerising waters of Llyn Padarn; the constant cliffs of Pen y Pass; and the heroic silhouette of Dolbadarn Castle are just some of the vistas that can be enjoyed from the hotel.

Our beautiful and intimate Victoria Restaurant overlooks the lake, and its decadent surroundings are right out of a romantic movie. Afterwards, you can relax with a nightcap in the Eryri Bar & Lounge and maybe even start planning for the Big Day!

But, whilst we can most definitely set the mood, it’s down to you to find the perfect place to pop the question…

Finding the place

To help, we’ve come up with our five favourite romantic spots in North Wales. We think your special someone will be bowled over by a proposal if you choose one of these legendary places!

1. Dolbadarn Castle, Llanberis

Most romantic places to propose North Wales

If you read our last blog, you’ll know that Dolbadarn, a medieval castle built by Welsh princes, is actually located right here in the grounds of our hotel!

It’s a magical place and often overlooked by tourists because of it’s out-of-the-way position, set back from the road. But seclusion is exactly what makes it perfect for a proposal. Seclusion and the jaw-dropping views, that is.

If you’ve always imagined sweeping your partner off their feet like a valiant knight from days-of-old, this could be the place to win your fair maiden.

2. Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey

Most romantic places to propose in North Wales

Without doubt, this is one of the most romantic destinations to be found anywhere in Wales. Llanddwyn translates to ‘the Church of St.Dwynwen’ and Dwynwen, indeed, retired to a life of seclusion here after she lost the love of her life.

It is said that Dwynwen’s dying wish was to be taken to watch the sunset through a cleft in a rock, which still stands on the island. Find this place with your partner, tell Dwynwen’s sad story and let the atmosphere do the rest!

3. Swallow Falls, Betws y Coed

Romantic places to propose North Wales

Swallow Falls is hard to beat for back-to-nature romance. It is the highest continuous waterfall in Wales, located two miles west of Betws-y-Coed in the Gwydir Forest.

From the A5 (the road that runs out of Betws into the Snowdonia National Park) there are numerous short walks and picture postcard viewpoints to admire the falls from. However, it’s a popular tourist attraction and can get very busy. And busy doesn’t really equal romantic, does it?

Instead, we suggest you take a walk through the woods and be rewarded with a really dramatic – and secluded – view of the falls. You’ll have time to work up the courage for your big moment and, hopefully, your partner will be spellbound by the beautiful natural surroundings! How could anyone say ‘no’ in such an idyllic place?

4. Plas Newydd, Anglesey

Romantic places to propose North Wales

Does your other half love historical romance? Downton Abbey? Victoria? Poldark? Plas Newydd is a National Trust stately home set on the banks of the Menai Strait on Anglesey.

Inside, the house features impressive interiors from days-gone-by; you could be mistaken for thinking you’ve just stepped into a lavish period drama. Outside, you’ll be dazzled by breathtaking views of the Menai Strait and Snowdonia before getting lost in acres of romantic woodland, beautiful in all four seasons.

Take a walk… see where your feet lead you. We’re certain you’ll stumble across a spot that feels just right for that special question.

5. Portmeirion, Porthmadog

Romantic places to propose North Wales

Portmeirion is a fascinating place, perched above an estuary, close to Porthmadog. It’s often described as a fantasy village, which is true; it’s just like being in an old fashioned movie (think Roman Holiday or La Dolce Vita).

Built over several decades, the village was a labour of love for it’s creator, the architect Sir Clough Williams Ellis, and this somehow makes it all the more romantic.

Constructed in the Italian Riviera style, you will feel like romantic leads in your own silver screen love story.

Stay with us

We’d love you to visit the Royal Victoria for your romantic getaway and we even have an exclusive package just for lovers. Alternatively, why not join us for an intimate Valentine’s dinner for two on Saturday 11 February? Full details are available here, but booking is essential!

Proposing can be one of the most daunting things you’ll ever do but we hope this blog helps you choose the perfect location for that much-anticipated, special moment – pob lwc (good luck)!

Images: Dolbadarn Castle: Tori Smith (own work), 2017. Swallow Falls: © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.​ Plas Newydd: Robin Leicester (own work) under the Creative Commons Licence via Wikimedia Common. Llanddwyn and Portmeirion: © Crown copyright 2016 (Visit Wales).​