More than 100 buyers from hospitality businesses of all sizes attended a showcase of local produce.
The third ‘Blas Lleol – Meet the Producer’ event, organised by the Llangollen & Dee Valley Good Grub Club and the Clwydian Range Food & Drink group in collaboration with Denbighshire County Council’s Economic Development team, was held at Ruthin Castle Hotel as part of Denbighshire’s March for Business month.
Blas Lleol – Meet the Producer gave restaurants, pubs, cafes and food retail businesses from across North Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire the chance to sample food and drink produced by Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham businesses.
This year 24 food and drink producers hosted stalls showing off traditional baked goods and gluten-free variations, meat products, a range of vegan options, locally produced ciders, beers, gins and liqueurs, ice-cream and more.
Business support organisations including Business Wales, Development Bank of Wales and Welsh for Business hosted stands at the event, which was financially supported by both Flintshire and Denbighshire county councils, providing businesses with the opportunity to discuss ideas for growth, development or diversification.
Robert Dowell-Brown, head chef at Nant Y Felin Restaurant, and demonstration chef for the event, kept buyers mouths watering throughout showing off locally sourced ideas for breakfast, lunch and canapes.
Lesley Haythorne, from Pant Y Foel Gin, said: “Of the 14 potential customers I spoke with at the event, we have already had two sales. So two new customers already and we are now following up others we met on the day.”
Another producer, Martin Godfrey from Hafod Brewing Company from Mold, said: “It was potentially a very productive event for us, great meeting new and old customers and being able to show off our current range face to face.”
Robyn Lovelock, from Llangollen & Dee Valley Good Grub Club, said: “It was a fantastic event that showed off the range and quality of products we have in our region. Whether buyers were looking for large, long-term contracts or just to replace a few key products with a locally-sourced alternative, we’ve been able to get them talking and doing business with the producers themselves – helping keep more money in our local economy.”
Jane Clough, from the Clwydian Range Group said: “There was a buzz throughout the whole event of business being done, hopefully laying the groundwork for another great year of food and hospitality in the region. Hospitality businesses are increasingly seeing the benefit using local produce as both visitors and locals are looking for a taste of the area and are keen to know the provenance of their food & drink.”
The two organising groups are hoping to build on the event for next year, with even more producers and a new location. They are also part of the team responsible for delivering Taste North East Wales, a new month-long celebration of local food and drink to be launched in October 2019. See social media for more details.