Children taste for healthy eating in Conwy at their own food festival

Young foodies flocked to the only food festival in Wales dedicated to children.

The Children’s Food Festival at Bodnant Welsh Food centre in the Conwy Valley was designed to give kids an appetite for healthy eating.

Bodnant Weksh Food Childrens Festival. Isla Sturrock, 5 and her sister Emily 3 with Will Hamilton from The Old Chapel, Mold show them his magic dragonfly

Youngsters busied themselves in a host of activities, including cooking healthy kebabs, making candles out of beeswax, arts and crafts, cupcake decorating, creating animals out of veg and a treasure hunt.

Bodnant Weksh Food Childrens Festival.Alan and Mary Cooper from Colwyn Bay with their grand daughters Emma, 10 and Holly Cooper in the Craft Corner with Donna Davies 6

Bodnant Welsh Food is located in a building dating from the 18th century which has been lovingly restored and includes a farm shop, tea room, restaurant, cookery school, and farmhouse accommodation.

Bodnant Weksh Food Childrens Festival. Ten years old Grace Stephens with her masterpiece made in the Craft Corner with Grandfather Ray Valadini from Glan Conwy

The centre was officially opened by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.

Cookery tutor Rhona Morris, who’ll be at Bodnant on September 14 to lead a healthy eating course, was on hand to help children make healthy kebabs.

Bodnant Weksh Food Childrens Festival. Pictured with their vegetable Kabob creations are Emily Bowen, 14 and her sister Ellie, 10 and Rhona Morris who teaches cookery in the Bodnant kitchen.

She said: “I only used fresh ingredients so nothing here is processed. I think it’s really important to for children to learn about healthy eating at a young age, and it’s actually really quick and easy to make healthy food.

“The children have been enthusiastically making their own kebabs and dipping them in the homemade tomato sauce.”

Emily Bowen, 14, from Colwyn Bay. said: “The kebab is really tasty. I put on peppers, tomatoes, grapes and bread.”

Becky Williams, retail operations manager at Bodnant Welsh Food, said: “We had our first children’s festival last year and that was really popular so we decided to do it again. We want people to know that this isn’t just a place for adults. It’s a great place for children as well.

“It’s really important to educate children about good food from a young age.

“We’ve also got some food tasting here with things like pate, cheeses and olive oil.

“Most of our food is sourced locally so it’s supporting the local economy.”

Ethan Davies, six, from Llandudno, had a great time making candles out of beeswax at the National Beekeeping Centre Wales with his sister Olivia, three.

Bodnant Weksh Food Childrens Festival. From left, Olivia Morrisey, 12, Chloe McArthur, 6 and her sister Ellie, 6, all from Abergele watch as Rich Edwards, the visitor centre supervisor makes a beeswax candle.

He said: “I used to me scared of bees but I’m not anymore. I really enjoyed making the candles out of beeswax.”

An artisan furniture designer from Flintshire brought a little bit of magic to the food festival.

Bodnant Weksh Food Childrens Festival.Brigid Coffey from Rhos on Sea with her two twin grandchildren Caoimhe and Ailbhe Coffey are shown how to use a magic wand by Mal the Woodman from The Old Chapel in Mold.

Hand-crafted magic wands, made by Mal Dawson, from Mold, were a huge hit with children.

He said: “We also carve the children’s names on. Children love having them personalised. As soon as they got their wand they go out and perform spells on each other. It’s bringing a little bit of magic to Bodnant Welsh Food.”

The ex-professional DJ, whose workshop is in Mold, makes everything from wine racks, chairs, and tables, to fairy houses, furniture for narrow boats, and of course magic wands.

He added: “Every single piece is unique. That’s what makes it stand out from the crowd. All the timber is hand carved.”

Ray Valadini, 76, from Glan Conwy, came to Bodnant with his granddaughter Grace Stephens, 10, from Hemel Hempstead.

Ray said: “I brought Grace here because there are lots of activities for children. I think the Children’s Food Festival is a marvellous idea and I hope they do it more often.

“I think Bodnant is brilliant. It’s just what North Wales needs.”

Grace added: “I like doing the arts and crafts. I entered the cupcake competition and I bought a magic wand.”

Gareth Jaggard, 32, from Ruthin came to the event with his wife Charlotte, and his sons Finley, three, and Daniel, who is just a few days old.

Gareth said: “We’ve wanted to come to Bodnant for a while and we thought that this was the perfect opportunity because there were so many activities for the children. They’re kept busy and we can look around and try the food.”

Bodnant Welsh Food Centre’s restaurant maestro Dai Chef and his daughter Megan will be hosting children’s cookery workshops at Menai Seafood Festival on August 30.

The dad and daughter duo will be serving up bouchons, blinis and Welsh cakes while Eira Roche, head of Bodnant’s cookery school, will be making pasta shapes and creating ravioli, tortellini and mezzaluna.

For more information about Bodnant Welsh Food, go to:

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