One of the highlights of last week was my visit to the International Food and Drink Event 2013 (http://www.ife.co.uk/) at London’s Excel Exhibition Centre. It was an amazing showcase of some of the best British and global food brands that may be appearing on our supermarket and speciality food shop shelves in the near future. With diverse countries like Japan, Austria, India and Ecuador being represented, visiting this biennial event was like walking around the world of food under one roof.
I was really excited to see that there was a sizable contingent of about 30 Welsh food companies at the ‘Food and Drink Wales’ area at this year’s event. As I explored the producers’ stands, I was fascinated to learn about the diversity of both large scale and smaller artisan food production that form the current Welsh food landscape. These producers are being expertly mentored and supported by the Welsh Government under the umbrella brand of ‘Wales the True Taste’ (http://www.walesthetruetaste.co.uk/). Bethan Jones, who works with the food and drink team and runs their mentoring programme, gave me an overview of the Welsh presence at the show, as well as about the Welsh food industry as a whole.
One of the the many producers that caught my eye was Brecon-based artisan snack producer, Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits. I loved their natural, versatile, tasty, innovative crackers and savoury biscuits. To me they encapsulated the spirit and essence of modern Welsh artisan food production at its best. Allie Thomas, the founder, creator and owner of Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits told me about her journey from working in the ceramics industry to becoming part of the food industry. She also gave me an insight into what life is like as a relatively small scale producer of high quality artisan food.