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A Cut Above

There’s more to locally sourced produce than ‘meats’ the eye

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without good food and drink and this year should be no exception. We may be restricted in terms of the number of people we can cater for under one roof, but the quality of the food we serve on our plates shouldn’t be compromised.

We’re blessed in Wales with our homegrown lamb, beef and porc and each product lends itself beautifully to a range of dishes and make perfect winter warmers.

So if you’re looking for show stopping centrepieces over the festive season, you won’t be disappointed. A festive ‘Welsh Lamb with gin and cranberry’, a hearty ‘Welsh Beef Bourguignon’ or tempting crispy ‘Porc tenderloins with a cranberry and port gravy’ – they are all delicious ways to serve quality meat, and just like the traditional turkey, they can be enjoyed as leftovers the following day. That’s great news if you’re catering for fewer people.

Working with Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales to help encourage people to enjoy the taste of local lamb, beef and porc locally this Christmas is Pembrokeshire-born chef Tom Simmons. Tom has been at the helm of Tom Simmons Tower Bridge in London since 2017 and is a former Masterchef quarter finalist. Recently returned to Wales, he has now opened Thomas by Tom Simmons in Cardiff with his partner, Lois.

With a lifelong love of cooking and a deep respect and passion for nature and homegrown Welsh ingredients, Tom said: “We always pay attention to detail on the quality and taste of our food - that’s why we only use the best produce from our local suppliers and farmers. We believe that locally produced meat tastes fresher and better than produce that’s been mass produced and has travelled further to get to people’s plates.

“I know exactly which farms my butcher sources his meat from, so I trust that what we put in front of our customers is what it claims to be. I’m not only getting a quality product, I’m supporting the local economy and helping the environment by cutting down on food miles. Everyone can play their part in helping our smaller local food and drink retailers this Christmas.”

The story of the food begins with our farmers. However, it’s not just about producing a delicious quality product. How our food is produced and the impact it has on the environment have increasingly become important factors for consumers in recent years. For generations, Welsh livestock farmers have played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining our rural landscapes that we know and love.

Low-intensity livestock farming in Wales has a vastly different story to tell than the systems in other parts of the world that have been criticised for their environmental impact. Meinir Howells, who farms a 450-acre farm in Shadog near Llandysul, believes strongly that farmers must work with nature, to help maintain biodiversity, as well as producing high quality food.

“If you look at a lot of the Welsh landscape, it’s not there by accident; we’ve had generations of people working so hard and tirelessly looking after that land. It is a natural process, how we rear our animals, because they are free to graze outside on the lush variety of grass that we have got, like herbs and clover.

“At the end of the day, you know that you’re producing something very special - a good product which is healthy and full of vitamins and minerals.”

So, if you’re tired of the same old turkey this Christmas why not give one of the following delicious Christmas recipes a try instead? And remember to visit the Welsh beef, lamb and porc websites or social channels over the coming months as they post new videos, recipes and much more to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen!

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