By Ilona Cabral
From zesty burgers to spicy cheese to delectable deserts, the senses were spoiled at the Blas Cymru/Taste Wales event. This B to B event, held at The Celtic manor Resort, took place thanks to Wales’ involvement in the €18m European project funded by Atlantic Area.
The conferences featured more than 100 food and drink business experts and new products were launched provided a packed schedule which kept al attendees busy. New products were tested on willing guinea pigs like me.
The main conference hall allowed for buyers and producers to network across the stalls and develop collaborative relationships. When speaking to most of the stall holders (as well as sample some of their delicious products), I learnt about each unique business. Other companies like “Future Foods” were also presented as innovators, committing to developing more environmental, longer lasting and more nutritious products.
On another level, Food & Drink Wales showed off their “Cluster Network” initiative, which brings together like-minded businesses to share their practices and develop new ideas. This innovative programme spans across several industries, including seafood, food and drink, honey, and agriculture. Each sector is involved in new and exciting projects, such as horticultural sector who showcased their ‘vertical framing’ programme. As Minister for the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“With the challenge of Brexit, it is more important than ever we support Welsh food and drink businesses in every way we can.”
Throughout the days, talks from inspiring and influential speakers also defined ‘what health means in the 21st century’. They examined how people are finding new ways to being healthy with considering factors like ageing populations and personalises technology. Several individuals highlighted projects which are using food to create new products whilst exploring the crucial issue of sustainablitity,
One of the most outstanding experiences of the conference was undoubtedly the ‘immersive dome’, which provided a four-dimensional culinary experience. You were engulfed in a stunning 3D Welsh scenescape, filmed using 3D cameras and virtual reality headsets when you entered the dome. The tone of William Thomas leads a journey from the Welsh coast to a Welsh hillside to a Welsh pub. Theses setting were accompanied by the sights and smells from each location. Nick Davies (Manager of the Welsh Culinary Team) and Chris Bason (Head of hospitality support for Cambrian Training Team) cooked the sensational food.
For our first course we were treated to mouth-watering pan fired scallops, beetroot and welsh gin, lavender blini, cockle cucumber yoghurt. Next, tender garlic glazed rump of lamb with butternut salsa, welsh sea salted leeks and a parsley jus. Then for desert a sinfully good Chocolate & Welsh whisky tart with honey nutmeg cream and ginger rhubarb. Finally, it ended with a syrupy and delicious blackberry whisky liquor which complemented the course. Though this was only their second showcase, the team provided an incredible experience.
Overall, The Blas Cymru / Taste Wales event gave all its participants “food for thought”. It brought together companies to grow and develop relationships through one of the oldest and reliable methods: food.