Lockdown or not, there’s still a huge variety of local Welsh businesses creating food and drink that’s not to be missed. Katie Hopkins guides you to what and where you can buy online.
While Wales is still being rocked by Covid, the pressure on independent retailers has reached a tipping point, and it’s more important than ever to support small businesses to ensure the future of artisanal, local produce that not only offers quality, but carries Welsh culture, too.
What Covid has showed us, though, is that it’s a lot easier to support Welsh producers than making do with limited “local” ranges at the supermarket. Online shopping has become the go-to and allows us to try the most exciting produce from around the country.
Headed up by a 6th generation master brewer, this is the place behind the flagship Double Dragon ale, alongside gold ale, stout and IPA.
Our pick: Celtic Gold Craft Lager for a crisp taste with a unique blend of hops.
Purple Moose Brewery
Award-winning beer from Porthmadog available in both bottles and mini kegs brewed with Welsh mountain water.
Our pick: the session bitter Madog’s Ale named after the creator of Porthmadog Harbour.
Once a two-man ‘cuckoo’ brewery borrowing equipment to create their signature ales, Untapped has since set-up shop in Monmouthshire and can cater for your ‘bubble’ parties with 36 pint pins.
Our pick: Diolch – the organic pale ale with Citra hops, and it’s only available until the end of the year.
Gwynt y Ddraig cider and perry
If cider is more your thing, we’ve got you covered. The Gwynt y Ddraig Scrumpy, Gold and flavoured ciders are sold across the world.
Our pick: the Black Dragon medium dry made exclusively by the chief cider maker.
Wye Valley Meadery
The brothers at Wye Valley Meadery have put a new spin on super-sweet mead with flavours including hops and ginger as well as their traditional sparkling variation.
Our pick: the honey and ginger mead for a spicy kick.
Aber Falls Distillery
From the foot of the Aber Falls waterfall comes the copper-distilled selection of Welsh spirits. Their gins have cornered a market in Welsh flavoured spirits and make for an ideal addition to a cocktail.
Our pick: Orange Marmalade gin is perfect for a sweet tooth.
Boasting the biggest craft distillery in Wales, Seadragon offers a range of rums you won’t find anywhere else. The Coles family distillery in Carmarthenshire started after a Caribbean holiday and the Seadragon name is a nod to its home country.
Our pick: the Gold rum combines hints of caramel and zesty orange and is lovely for cocktails.
Dà Mhìle Distillery
In 1992, a founder of Caws Teifi Cheese commissioned what would be the world’s first organic whisky. It marked the early beginnings of Dà Mhìle (pronounced da-vee-lay), which opened in 2012 and became Wales’ first craft distillery, based on a family-run farm in Ceredigion.
Our pick: Seaweed Gin is a ‘savoury gin’ that goes perfectly with seafood.
If you’re going to dip a toe into Welsh liqueurs then the oldest spirit company in Wales is a good place to start. Hailing from South Wales and now based in Anglesey, the company lives up to its name.
Our pick: the Celtic Spirit bauble box lets you try 6 different liqueurs that you can hang on the tree.
Celteg Wines’ products have been featured on The Great British Menu and even a Christmas episode of The Royle Family. They make use of ingredients that are abundant in the Ceredigion countryside to create fruit wines, liqueurs, preserves and vinegars.
Our pick: the Gold Sparkle elderflower sparkling wine is speckled with real 23 carat gold, so will cause a stir at a celebration.
White Castle Vineyard
Robb and Nicola Merchant converted their 12-acre small holding near Abergavenny into a vineyard back in 2009. Their select range of wines are based on what would thrive most in the soil before the grapes are hand-harvested and it includes pinot noir, sparkling white and ‘Gwin Gwyn’.
Our pick: 2019 rosé - for a summery drink to complement charcuterie.
Welsh Brew tea
This family-owned company on the Gower peninsula is a household name and creates a blend of tea to complement Welsh water. It was likened to Yorkshire Tea in flavour in The Great British Tea Test. The brand also makes coffee and herbal teas.
Our pick: rich and full-bodied Welsh Brew is one not to be missed.
It’s more important than ever to support small businesses to ensure the future of artisanal, local produce
Morgan’s Brew tea
The Morgan’s original black tea blend was born in a little tea shop in Shropshire, after being loved by the locals. Now, in its home of Welshpool, the brand has a full range of black, green and herbal teas.
Our pick: the Dragon’s Breath Chai with a mix of cinnamon, ginger and a hint of fiery chilli makes for a great winter warmer.
Two Dogs Coffee Roasting Company
Named after two lovely terriers, this little artisan roasters in the Rhondda Valley has a carefully crafted range of coffees for every occasion, even one with Brecon chocolate.
Our pick: the house blends – Jack is a lighter roast with a sweet flavour and high caffeine hit and Gelert is a full-bodied dark roast for a rich taste.
Llanllyr Source Mixers
For a tailored accompaniment to your spirits, Llanllyr’s crafted mixers are worth your time. Started on a family estate as a biodiversity project, the company has garnered fans worldwide.
Our pick: For gin fans, the tonic water with natural botanicals is a velvety smooth accompaniment.
Sweet treats, jams and honeys
Sarah Bunton Chocolate
If you’re looking for a beautiful treat, look no further than these chocolates. Sarah Bunton is an award-winning chocolatier working at Devil’s Bridge near Aberystwyth. She began making her own creations above her parents’ café and many of her chocolates include Welsh liqueurs and honey.
Our pick: the fruit and nut bar for an artisan take on a classic.
Coco Pzazz chocolate
These masters of chocolate buttons have a strong emphasis on sustainability and supporting their cocoa suppliers. They’ve got flavours to satiate every craving, from salted caramel to Buck’s fizz.
Our pick: salty spiced orange is a great combination of unusual flavours.
Little Grandma’s Kitchen
A whole host of preserves and chutneys made in a home kitchen in St Clears. With the classics perfected in family recipes, they’ve created their own original flavours including orange and gin marmalade, ginger curd and Bakewell chilli chutney.
Our pick: The Bah Humbug fig chutney ready is ideal with a cheeseboard.
Bee Welsh Honey
With 30 years’ experience keeping bees, Shane Llewelyn-Jones’ commitment to high-quality produce has allowed his company to flourish since it began in Builth Wells.
Our pick: the authentic honeycomb is an incredible treat.
Welsh cakes are at their best when they’re made with a family recipe, as they are at Popty on the outskirts of Bethesda. See their products in supermarkets nationwide as well as online.
Our pick: you can’t go wrong with classic Welsh cakes.
Sauces and spices
Pembrokeshire Sea Salt Company
The labour of love to produce hand-harvested, sustainable sea salt that captures the unique tastes of the Dinas Island Peninsula is what makes this worth trying, as well as their commitment to ‘o fôr i fwyd’ (from sea to food).
Our pick: the Salted Caramel Sauce is an indulgent treat.
Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company
A previous Best British Street Food Vendor winner, this online shop boasts a seaweed range you didn’t know you needed.
Our pick: Mermaid Confetti is a dried seaweed and salt mix to bring your seasoning up a level.
The Coconut Kitchen
Beginning as a restaurant in Abersoch, the Coconut Kitchen has morphed into bottled sauces, pastes and meal kits to perfect your Thai cooking.
Our pick: try the Massaman curry paste to perfect a favourite.
Started in Llangollen and later moving to a factory in Ruthin, Patchwork Pate mix sweet and savoury with their bacon jam, chicken liver and Cointreau pate and liver, herb and brandy pate.
Our pick: the wild pheasant pâté with calvados for a touch of luxury.
The perfect accompaniment to your cheese board, Brecon-based Cradocs have a great selection of savoury biscuits made using different vegetables to pack in taste.
Our pick: the leek and Caerphilly cheese biscuits embrace Welsh flavours.
A family-run business that brings more than 40 years of expertise from Wales, New Zealand and Australia to churning in Caerphilly.
Our pick: a generous helping of salted butter on warm, fresh bread is heavenly.
An artisan dairy based in Carmarthenshire with a family cheese-making tradition dating back to 1903. Their speciality is in Caerphilly cheese, but they also have a Perl Las and Perl Wen.
Our pick: try a cheese box for a chance to sample different flavours.
Dà Mhìle’s parent company, Caws Teifi fuses Dutch and Welsh traditions in their range of cheeses, including a Gouda based on a 500-year-old recipe.
Our pick: the Teifi seaweed based on the classic natural cheese recipe with an added hint of saltiness.
This collective of 130 farms across Wales already produce cheese sold across most major supermarkets, but they have also created a handcrafted artisan range that incorporates treasured Welsh ingredients like Halen Môn salt and Penderyn whisky.
Our pick: the Maplewood Smoked Cheddar is expertly smoked by hand at Halen Môn.
Based near Aberystwyth, Merlin are the purveyors of exciting flavoured cheddars. From mint to mustard seeds, there’s something to suit every taste.
Our pick: Lady of the Lake is cheddar infused with nettles for a herby, savoury flavour.
From Our Farm biltong
Although biltong is traditionally South African, it’s given the Welsh twist on this farm in Pembrokeshire. They offer a range of eco-conscious flavoured beef jerky-style snacks.
Our pick: the Carolina Reaper super-hot biltong for any chilli fiends.
Welsh Homestead Smokery
Bringing quality and craftmanship back to meat, this little farm in the Cambrian Mountains artfully smokes small batch bacon, burgers, chilli and salt using amazing flavours including chocolate, coffee and honey.
Our pick: smoked rum and molasses bacon make surprisingly wonderful pigs in blankets.
Trailhead Fine Foods jerky
After sampling his first taste of beef jerky in a little gas station in South Dakota, Arwyn Watkins made it his mission to create the best of the snack in Welshpool. Their award-winning jerky comes in eight different flavours and is even sold in London’s Selfridges.
Our pick: black pepper beef jerky for something simple and delicious.
Blas ar Fwyd
A fantastic range of Welsh food and drink, along with their own specialities including soups and cheesecakes.
Another all-rounder that champions Welsh food including organic handmade butter, spicy ginger ale and fruity yoghurts.