This year’s Slow Food UK award winners have been named – and four of the Welsh winners are based right here in Cardiff.
Elsewhere in Wales, one of my favourite food businesses, Wrights Food Emporium (pictured above), picked up two awards for best Welsh deli and best Welsh restaurant.
What is Slow Food?
Slow Food is a global, grassroots organisation, founded in 1989 to combat the dwindling interest in where food comes from, and how our food choices affect the world around us. Since its beginnings, it has grown into a global movement involving millions of people in over 160 countries, working towards a food system where everyone has access to good, clean and fair food.
Slow Food believes that through the food we eat, we can collectively influence how it is cultivated, produced and distributed – and change the world as a result.
The Slow Food Awards celebrate the food producers and businesses who embody these values, and the winners are simply chosen by public vote. Each nation has its own winners, with the highest number of votes in each category also being the overall UK winner.
All the Slow Food Cymru Winners for 2022
Best Butcher: Oriel Jones, Cardiff
A fourth-generation farmer and butcher, Oriel Jones is a sustainable, traceable farming business, practicing and promoting regenerative agriculture. They take pride in having the highest animal welfare standards, farming in a sustainable way, and have even planted 6,460 native broad leaf trees at their farm, as well as protecting an area named ‘Cefn Blaenau‘ which has been designated as a ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ for the rarity of its biodiversity and wildlife.
Their farm is based in Carmarthen, but the butcher shop can be found on Cowbridge Road in Canton; they also have a hot baguette shop in Pontcanna, and run Ansh restaurant in Canton, specialising in smashed Welsh beef burgers.
Best Baker: Pettigrew Bakeries, Cardiff
This family run, independent business uses long, slow fermentation and bread baking skills and techniques which date back millennia. The Pettigrew house sourdough – a staple in our house – is made in the traditional way, with no additives, using only organic flour, water & salt. Each loaf is real a labour of love which takes over three days to complete.
Best Fishmonger: Ashton’s, Cardiff
Ashtons is Wales’ largest independent fishmongers and one of the largest fish retail outlets in the UK. Established in Cardiff in 1800, Ashton’s has been based inside Cardiff Central Market since 1890. As well as the retail business, they also supply seafood to many of the major hotels and restaurants in Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and the surrounding areas.
Best Market: Cardiff Farmer’s Markets
First launched by a group of local food enthusiasts more than 20 years ago, the original and most successful of Cardiff’s weekly farmers markets can still be found on Fitzhammon embankment (opposite the Principality Stadium) every Sunday; these days there are also weekly markets in Roath and Rhiwbina too. A varied roster of regular traders includes Slow Food Award winners Pettigrew Bakeries and Paul’s Organic Veg (see below).
Best Greengrocer: Paul’s Organic Veg, Abergavenny
Farmer Pawel grows his organic vegetables and fruits on a 16-acre plot in Monmouthshire; you can find him at Cardiff Farmers Markets’ Roath and Riverside locations every week. He also supplies indie restaurants and cafes in and around Cardiff.
Best Deli & Eatery: Wrights Food Emporium, Carmarthen
This pub/cafe/deli in the middle of Llanarthne is oozing with laid-back charm and is renowned for serving great produce cooked simply and well. The Wrights Cubano is the stuff of foodie legend (rightly so) but it’s near impossible to stop for lunch without leaving with armfuls of goodies from their network of local suppliers; think cider, beer, coffee, fruit, veg, fish, meat, cheese, home-cooked pies and pasta – and loads more.
Best Cheesemonger: The Little Cheesemonger, Prestatyn
The Little Cheesemonger – a.k.a Gemma Williams – says she’s not interested in cheeses with fancy marketing or packaging, she only wants to “know each cheese maker and how they treat their produce and cattle.” This attention to ethics is Gemma’s main consideration behind what’s on sale in her shops and the cheeses she chooses to champion.
Champion Product: Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Pontypool
Combining innovation with traditional artisan methods and the finest quality ingredients, Trealy Farm produces a range of over forty different charcuterie products. Specialising in using traditional breed meats raised on smaller UK farms (or wild-sourced), their range includes air-dried, fermented, hot-smoked and cured meat products made using free-range British pork, beef, lamb and duck, wild venison, and wild boar.
Person of the Year: Jane Powell
An independent writer, editor and activist, Jane writes about how our food system is an expression of the values we hold, and how it might change so that we can all become healthier and happier. Her work aims to create spaces in which people can be heard and make their best contribution. Jane was nominated by Debbie Handley, Director Slow Food Cymru Wales for her work on Maniffesto Bwyd/Food Manifesto, for her work on the annual Wales Real Food & Farming Conference and for her food activism in schools and communities around Wales.
To find out more about the Slow Food movement in Wales, check out @SlowFoodinWales on Twitter.