Prince Charles congratulates Conwy’s Bodnant Welsh Food for award win

Prince Charles has taken to Twitter to praise Bodnant Welsh Food Centre for landing a top title.

The Conwy Valley centre was named as the UK’s number one farm shop by the influential BBC Good Food magazine.

Now aides for the Prince of Wales have used social media to express his delight – in both English and Welsh  – that the centre has picked up the coveted accolade.

Bosses at the Conwy Valley centre say the tweet, which has gone to 600,000 people around the world, is a real boost for Bodnant.

The Prince formally opened the centre with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, in July 2012, leading to international coverage.

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The tweet from @ClarenceHouse  reads: “The Prince is delighted to hear that @FoodCymru, opened by HRH in 2012, has won the @BBCGoodFood award for best farm shop in Britain.”

The tweet was also sent in Welsh: “Y mae’r Tywysog yn falch o glywed bod @FoodCymru, a agorwyd ganddo yn 2012, wedi ennill gwobr @BBCGoodFood fel siop fferm orau Prydain.”

Bodnant Welsh Food centre managing Director Chris Morton has retweeted the Prince’s comments.

He said: “I was amazed when I read the tweet from Clarence House – this is really flying the flag for local businesses.

“It is excellent praise both for the centre and for the many local suppliers whose produce is sold in the farm shop.

“The Prince, when he came to visit two years ago, made clear that he is a strong supporter of Welsh produce and especially locally produced food that benefits rural economies.

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

“Since the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall visited, we’ve made a lot of progress as a business, so I will be inviting them to make a return visit to see what we’ve achieved in the last two years.”

Clarence House represents the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge plus Prince Harry. During its four years on Twitter, it’s sent out 6,000 tweets about the Royal family to its 390,000 followers.

The latest tweet has also gone to the BBC Good Food’s 197,000 followers on Twitter, along with Bodnant’s 5,000-plus followers.

The BBC Good Food accolade was made in the July issue of the magazine – known as one of the food industry’s bibles – which includes a feature on the top ten farm shops, researched and written by its acclaimed local and seasonal food editor Clare Hargreaves.

The introduction to the two-page article makes it plain that farm shops are well past the days of being just makeshift sheds selling their own-reared meat and local vegetables and are rapidly becoming destinations in their own right offering a wide range of artisan stock alongside restaurants and cookery schools.

Bodnant Welsh Food is located in a building dating from the 18th century which has been lovingly restored and includes a farm shoptea roomrestaurant, wine shop, cookery school and farmhouse accommodation. It has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies.

Industry guru Clare Hargreaves was impressed by the artisan-produced food which could be bought in the shop or eaten in the tea room or the Hayloft restaurant.

She also praised the “deliciously dense and crumbly” Aberwen cheese made with milk from a neighbouring farm.

Clare added: “Ice cream and bread are also produced on site, plus Furnace Farm’s own Welsh lamb.

“There’s a cookery school upstairs and B&B accommodation, so you can make a weekend of your visit.”

Chris Morton added: “We are only just coming to the end of our second year of operation so to win such an important accolade as Number One Farm Shop in Britain is just amazing.

“It’s a testimony to Bodnant’s owners, Michael and Caroline McClaren, who saw the need for a food centre of excellence in North Wales to help local artisan producers promote their products on a wider scale.

“If you look at the farm shops which have come below us in the top ten list, some of them are extremely well established and have been around for a decade or more and have become household names, so it’s just mind-blowing that we have been chosen as number one against such formidable competition.”

The team at Bodnant are no strangers to being in the honours. Just a few months ago the centre was named as a Rising Star at the UK FARMA Awards.

More recently Bodnant was voted champion pie-makers and won a total of 15 major prizes in the Welsh Awards for Excellence in Meat Products handed out at Kinmel Hall, near Abergele.

They beat 270 other contestants from around Wales to be named Welsh Champions in the Hot Eating Pie category.

Judges gave 99 out of a possible 100 to their Stilton and Steak Pie and their Pork Pie.

Headed up by Bodnant’s master butcher Tony Gibson, the team also picked up a further 13 awards.

They took away Gold Awards for their Bodnant Lamb Cushions, Steak Melt Burgers, Pork and Pear Burgers, Chilli Bomb, Huntsman’s Pie and Pork, Wholegrain Mustard and Black Pudding Pie.

In addition, they won Silver Awards for the Bodnant Traditional Pork Sausage and the Lamb and Mint Burger.

If that wasn’t enough, the team also took Bronze Awards for the Bodnant Pork, Aberwen and Apricot Sausage and the latest addition to the sausage range – the Bodnant PLG Sausage.

Another accolade came when the centre was runner up in the Great British Food Produce Awards for its rib eye steak.

For more information about Bodnant Welsh Food, go to:

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