Business is booming at Bodnant Welsh Food in the Conwy Valley

Business is booming at a centre of excellence for Welsh food.

Trade at Bodnant Welsh Food in the Conwy Valley is up by almost 35 per cent on last year with the help of a surge of visitors from across the Atlantic combined with a growing band of local shoppers.

Increasing numbers of visitors are going to the farm shop, wine cellar, tea rooms, restaurant and farmhouse accommodation along with the Welsh Bee Centre.

The latest figures show that from July 2013 to July this year, revenue was £2.4m, up from £1.77m in the centre’s first year of trading.

The centre also saw 243,000 people calling in, up from 214,000  – an increase of 13.5% over the whole year.

The coming months are likely to bring even more overseas tourists, with inquiries from North America coming in, after Bodnant retail manager Rebecca Williams met more than 90 tour operators during a visit to Las Vegas with resident chef, Dai Chef, who was promoting the delights of Welsh food.

BODNANT WELSH FOODS . Pictured is Chef Dai Davies at Bodnant Welsh Foods.

The centre’s farm shop was recently named as the best in the UK by the prestigious BBC Good Food magazine – bringing a congratulatory tweet from Prince Charles who officially opened the complex in 2012.

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In addition, the centre’s home-made produce, from cheese to pies, have picked up a host of awards, including Rising Star at the UK FARMA Awards, while the Hayloft restaurant was named as a Good Food Guide’s Little Gem.

“This is a big vote of confidence for the quality of Welsh produce, and for the commitment from staff to make sure our customer service is the best possible,” said managing director Chris Morton, who oversees the £6.5m centre at Tal y Cafn.

“We are getting better known and more people are seeing us as a day-trip destination – a place to visit and enjoy themselves – as well as a good place to stop off and pick up something delicious to eat.

“We have a growing band of loyal customers, who return time and time again, to buy the products we make on site – our range of cheeses, ice-cream and butter, plus our pies and butchery goods.

“Overall, 45 per cent of all products sold in the shop are produced at Bodnant Welsh Food centre, and three-quarters of what we sell comes from Wales, including specialist foods from over 100 artisan producers.

“So our increase in trade is good for those local producers and the local economy as well – as we’re selling more and more of their goods, getting their wares known around the globe.

“We have welcomed more than 50 tours from North America – the States and Canada – who come for a cookery demonstration with our Welsh wizard, Dai Chef, who then cooks them up a culinary treat to eat as well.

“Dai has been in America promoting the best of British – and especially Welsh food and Rebecca went over to help him. She took the chance while she was there to meet a lot of tour operators to explain just what’s on offer in this part of the UK – we’re already seeing inquiries from that.

“We’ve had groups from elsewhere overseas: there’s a real interest in Wales by visitors from places such as Japan, plus we’ve had groups from cruise ships coming into Holyhead. We’d like to welcome more of them.

“Our research shows that we’ve also had plenty of UK visitors, who have made the most of the good weather since spring to come to Snowdonia for a day, a short break or a longer holiday and want to explore what’s on offer away from the beach.

“We have been promoting Bodnant heavily – for example, we are now part of the Attractions of Snowdonia marketing group – and that investment has paid off.”

Bodnant was voted champion pie-maker, and picked up 15 major prizes, in the Welsh Awards for Excellence in Meat Products. It was runner up in the Great British Food Produce Awards for its rib-eye steak, while Bodnant cheeses – made with milk from a neighbouring farm – took prizes at the International Cheese Awards.

Bodnant Welsh Food centre at Furnace Farm, Tal-y-cafn, in the Conwy valley, has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies. There’s also a wine store and tea rooms plus the Hayloft restaurant and farmhouse accommodation. More details at or call 01492 651100.

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