Putting Welsh food on the map.
Recently launched online shopping deli Discover Delicious aims to connect food, drink and flavour lovers with the hidden gems on offer from all corners of the country.
As flag bearers for the flavours of Wales, they scour the country's valleys and abundant coastlines to select authentic, local and sustainable delights that are reared, grown or crafted in Wales in order to help customers discover the new, the novel and the nutritious.
The team behind Discover Delicious aim also to support their food and drink producers, often independent or family-run businesses, and showcase their wonderful and sometimes wacky products to a wider audience.
These selected farmers, fruit growers, fishermen and many more often observe old practices as well as break new ground in their passionate pursuit of the palatable.
Foodepedia was keen to discover more about Discover Delicious: the chance to do so was offered by the launch dinner held at Welsh chef Tom Simmons’ (of MasterChef fame) London Bridge restaurant.
Before the dinner itself, the company's founder Laura Pickup introduced the evening explaining how she got the idea of a Welsh focused online store: it was in fact through her background in the food industry and her willingness to help small producers reach out farther than the country's localised distribution.
Spreading the knowledge and enjoyment of Welsh produce became thus the mission for Laura through Discover Delicious. She'd already done the groundwork and had already been able to establish valid connections with a number of producers, whose products ended up being offered on the website.
The way the site works is that there is no single distribution point: orders are placed directly with the producers, with the site itself only taking a small percentage of the price the consumer pays, and effectively, only acting as a shop window.
Deliveries are done by each producer individually to ensure each product is packaged and delivered in a timely and safe manner to the end consumer.
The range is extensive, there is something for everyone and judging by what we were able to taste during the dinner, the quality is exceptional.
Our snack for example, was a crab croquette served with Welshman's Caviar mayo – the caviar itself is actually dried and roasted laver seaweed flakes from Pembrokeshire: the saltiness and the aroma of the sea was beautifully paired to the croquettes.
The starter of Salmon cured in Pollination Gin & beetroot was as delicate as ever, with textures provided by the pickled cucumber and horseradish garnish.
The main was truly memorable: a melt in the mouth Jacobs ladder with smoked potato (made with kiln smoked ingredients that delivers a powerful smoky taste and aroma), shiitake mushrooms from Snowdonia and asparagus.
Finally, a very tropical, light dessert of Coconut pannacotta and rum roasted pineapple, the rum being the Welsh element in the pleasant, summery pudding.
Barti Rum is a heavily spiced rum infused with laver seaweed too. The seaweed gently mellows the vibrant vanilla, Christmassy clove and zingy citrus create a smooth spiced rum.
And that's exactly what we experience as an after dinner drink, blended with a Welsh mixer of course ( Lavender Spice, a dry soft drink with Lavender, Ginger and Horseradish).
The spices and the colour of the drink reminding us all of the festive season, a little odd on a warm summer's night but nobody was complaining!
Before the night was over, we had a chance to meet one of the producers, Catherine from Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher. They are a family run butchers established in 1887, and source their Welsh meat from three local farms including the famous Salt Marsh Lamb from the Gower coast.
If the excellent meat we sampled is anything to go by, we're ready to place our first order!