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Foodie Trail In The Conwy Valley

26 Jun

Follows in full is a press release just received from Conwy County Borough Council:

 A taste of chocolate heaven awaits walkers who complete a food trail which showcases some of the finest food producers in the Conwy Valley. The Foodie Trail is the finale of Conwy Walking Week which is the third of four North Wales walking festivals taking place this year which are being supported by Tourism Partnership North Wales (TPNW). Organised by Conwy County Borough Council’s Community Development Officer, Haf Williams, the Foodie Trail, on Wednesday, July 11, will showcase the best of local produce from individually prepared ready meals to handmade chocolate.  

The five mile circular walk, which will take in Ysbyty Ifan and Pentrefoelas, also includes stunningly spectacular scenery.

Haf Williams says Conwy Walking Week is now in its ninth year and offers a warm welcome to local and visiting walkers. She said: “The County Borough of Conwy has a unique landscape of coast, valley, mountain and moor. Once again, this year we have a great variety of walks on offer during the week. However, for me a highlight of the week will be the Foodie Trek which gives us a chance to introduce people to the area while promoting the very best local food on offer. It’s about celebrating those that make their living from the land by adding real value to the traditional fare of the region. The walk takes in a five mile circular route and will stop off at five local producers including a cake maker, a free range egg producer, a ready meal producer and a dairy farm which sends its milk to Anglesey to be turned into mozzarella cheese. Also included will be a trip to Siop Pentre, the local store in Pentrefoelas which stocks all local produce, apart from the milk, so those taking part in the walk can purchase what they have seen and tried along the way.”

This year, the organisers of Conwy Walking Week have joined forces with three other festivals to promote their events thanks to financial support from Visit Wales and the European Regional Development Fund, and advice and guidance from Tourism Partnership North Wales (TPNW).  Conwy Walking Week from July 4-11 is the third in the calendar following on from the Prestatyn and Clwydian Range Walking Festival in May and the Anglesey Walking Festival which took place this month.
Carole Startin, Marketing and Events executive for TPNW, helped the four festival committees apply for grant funding to promote the events. She said: “Between the four festivals there is such a rich array of fantastic walking on offer and so it makes sense to bring them all together and make the most out of all they have to offer. The foodie trail is a terrific example of the imaginative and interesting walks which the organisers have come up with and I can’t think of a nicer way to stay refreshed during an energetic walk!”
One of the highlights of the trail is likely to be the final stop at The Riverside Chocolate House and Tea Rooms which is famous for its range of hot chocolate drinks.

Run by husband and wife team Janice and Clive Hague, the shop stocks a range of hand-made chocolates alongside its busy tea room.  In 2007 Clive and Janice took over the reins of the business, originally set up by top chocolatier Roy Starkey-Nesling in 2000, and have never looked back. Clive said: “We moved to Wales in 1989 and bought the business in 2007. We try and do things a little bit differently and I have to say we are becoming famous for our range of hot chocolate drinks which are all made using real chocolate. We make our own chocolate on site although we do buy in the couverture which is not tempered. We then put the raw product through a temper kettle to make milk, dark or white chocolate to our own recipe. That chocolate is then crafted on site into handmade bespoke truffles and individual chocolates or used to dip other products, such as Turkish delight and fudge. Since taking over the business Janice has perfected her craft at the Slattery Chocolate School and now makes all her own truffles and moulded chocolates.”

But it’s their hot chocolate drinks that really carry their customers to chocolate heaven according to Clive. He said: “We simply don’t use any powder in our hot drinks, everything is made from our own real chocolate. We have a selection of different spices and flavours, similar to the syrups you can have in latte coffee, with ginger being our most popular. Janice and I just love the area and what it has to offer. We are also delighted that Conwy Walking Week is taking place for the ninth time and is taking in Pentrefoelas which is definitely walking friendly. The Foodie Trail is a great idea and all those using and making local produce are helping to put Conwy on the map and we are certainly delighted to be part of it.”

It’s a change to have some positive news to report, it shakes off my current foodie doom and gloom. I must say I’m impressed with what Conwy are doing. This is such a great idea and if it puts local food more on the map, brings trade into the producers taking part, then it must be a winner for them and also the Conwy area. Let’s have more stories like this one.

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  1. well done

    July 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

    well done Conwy
    this sounds a good idea, hope it works
    pity more councils in Wales can’t be more proactive like Conwy