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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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 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)