One Planet Adventure in Llandegla has been crowned the winner of today’s North East Wales food challenge in a ‘taste off’ held at Coleg Cambria’s Deeside campus.
Wrexham County Borough Council’s Destination Manager Joe Bickerton opened the finals by welcoming the judging panel from Coleg Cambria, and explaining how 14 restaurants had taken part in the competition. Mystery eaters had tasted all the dishes, with voting taking place to make up the final three.
Explaining how the competition is helping businesses in Denbighshire, Wrexham and Flintshire Mr Bickerton explained: “It is the start of the Year of Adventure in Wales, and that is not just zip wires and jumping off cliffs but it can be tasting food and experiencing new menus. Competitions like this have a strong message and its creating a great buzz, driving new footfall into restaurants, allowing them to build relationships with new customers.”
Three dishes were prepared fresh on site for the judges at the Y Celstryn restaurant at Coleg Cambria’s Deeside campus.
The Cross Lanes Hotel presented first with a Home Farm (Overton) tenderloin of pork, slow roast belly pork, tomato & pork sausage bon-bons, dragon buttered mashed potato, ponche mipe, savoy cabbage with wicked wasp cider (from Rosie’s in Llandegla) and garden chive cream sauce.
Vince from The Cross Lanes Hotel explained how it was an eight hour cooked belly pork, and the cider overtones were a ‘proper reduction’ for their first ever entry to the food competitions. Jon from Deeside.com agreed noting a ‘nice bit of reduction with the jus’, and it being ‘a hell of a plateful’.
Second up was a braised steak and ale pie from Afonwen Craft & Antique Centre in Mold, where proprietor Janet told the room: “We use everything local anyway so it was hard to choose one dish. The quality is excellent, and has outsold anything that has been served for the last month. Food is massive in the tourism industry, it is part of everybody’s going out experience.”
The dish had local beef gently braised with Mostyn kitchen garden carrots, onions, leeks and bay leaf with a good dash of Hafod ale and served inside a golden baked short crust pasty base. Served with our tasty mash made from Mostyn kitchen garden potatoes & a hint of Y mwstard Cymreig (Welsh wholegrain mustard with Welsh honey & leeks).
The dish, like all, was delightful with Wrexham.com favouring the pie (for we are a pie and chips town) however Deeside.com focused on the veg, specifically the cabbage introducing us to the word ‘farinaceous’.
The third dish to emerge was a locally sourced lamb tagine (including their own crafted plate!) from the team at the cafe One Planet Adventure in Llandegla, the mountain biking centre. David Coates told the audience how the meat was sourced a farm ‘stones throw away’ from the centre, yoghurt from Denbigh, all following the strong theme of showing off what is out there in terms of north east welsh produce.
The Wrexham.com verdict was initially looking towards a Cross Lanes Hotel victory, however after tasting the effort from One Planet Adventure we felt it may have swung towards them… (written before the result was announced!)
After much deliberation from the judges, One Planet Adventure in Llandegla was crowned the winner of the 2016 food challenge. They were closely followed by Cross Lanes Hotel in second place and Afonwen Craft and Antique Centre as a runner up.
— Oneplanet Adventure (@OPALlandegla) March 11, 2016
The full range of entrants can be found on the NorthEastWales.co.uk site here, and we would of course encourage our readers to try as many as possible!