by Charlotte van Praagh, 22nd July 2021
Eat local to help local and feel at one with the coast, insists Charlotte van Praagh in the latest issue of Welsh Coastal Life Magazine
Heady vinegar splashed over chips, pastel-pretty dairy delights waiting to be scooped and still-in-their-shell prawns… Food is as much part of the seaside holiday experience as sandy toes, salty air and over-exuberant herring gulls. One reason why I love self-catering is the luxury of being able to cook and eat when we want and, rather than being restricted by someone else’s menu, we can cast our net and there’s a bounty of gastronomic gems just waiting to be discovered. For the last few years my husband Jim, our little girl Daisy and I have rented a tiny whitewashed cottage on the Ceredigion coast. Part of my holiday ritual is perusing the nearest village for local treats we can take back to prepare and devour, such as fresh fish for the barbecue, cheeses and bread to make a beach picnic, and a few refreshing Welsh ciders. Great produce needs so little doing to it, there’s more time to savour the actual eating (and drinking!).
I’m not alone in relishing this aspect of the holiday experience. Caroline and Aidan Savage, who live in Shrewsbury with daughters Claudia and Hannah, are regular visitors to the Welsh coast and love the freedom a self-catering getaway allows them. Caroline, a keen cook, actively avoids supermarkets while away, enjoying the chance to browse independent shops. “We deliberately look for produce, whether beers, cheeses or a veg box, from the area as we like to support local businesses, and it gives us a different experience too,” she explains. “When you go on holiday somewhere beautiful, eating food that’s come from its land makes you feel more of a connection with the place.” Kate Jones, who lives on the Welsh Border, agrees. She and her husband Henry rented cottages in Newport, Pembrokeshire, several years running. She thinks another pull is the calibre of produce. “There used to be a fisherman who’d go out fishing in the morning and then sell fresh fish from the door of his cottage down a side street. Even though I’ve eaten in some of the top restaurants in the UK, this was the best fish I’ve ever tasted and it was always one of the highlights of the holiday."
To read the rest of this article and find out about the Welsh Coast’s local food heroes, such as Dai’s Shed, a fishmongers in Aberdyfi, Loafley Bakery and Deli in Tenby, In the Welsh Wind, a distillery in Cardigan and Jaspels fine cider, Angelsey, download the latest issue of Welsh Coastal Life here: www.walesandborders.com/ourmagazines