Last Friday, in preparation for St David’s day we packed our bags, loaded the van with cider and headed off down the M4. We had been invited to join a select group of producers in the Taste of Wales campaign, to promote Welsh food and drink in London around St David’s Day.
First stop was Partridges Saturday Market in the heart of Kensington and Chelsea. We set up our stall amongst organic bison burgers, Vietnamese street food, fresh breads and an oyster bar. London Fashion weekend was in full swing at the Saatchi Gallery but our wardrobe choices were rather more thermal than sartorial for the job in hand!
Our mulled cider served with orange slices proved extremely popular on a cold bright day. We made new cider-fans from Russia, Germany, and North America well as the stylish fashionistas who moseyed over for some refreshments between the fashion shows.
Highlights for us were a little food and cider matching with delicious Borough cheese, and discovering new but winning pairings with the Vietnamese street food and some very tasty Argentinian Pierogis. It really felt like bringing our own taste of Wales to an international food scene. Just to bring us back to our roots however we meet a lovely couple from The Hendre near Monmouth who know our neighbours in Skenfrith and promised they would come visit us back at on the farm.
No rest for the wicked, as Sunday saw us setting up our sampling pitch in the rather fabulous Fortnum and Mason Food Hall. We were sampling our product alongside succulent Welsh lamb and Brecon’s Cradocs Crackers. The Food Hall in itself was a feast for the sense. Francis’s head was turned by the dazzling array of sweeties. We were rather more impressed by the amazing wine and spirit selection.
We had some lovely feedback from the UK and International Tourists who enjoyed a Taste of Apple County. The shoppers obviously really enjoyed meeting the people personally responsible for making the cider. It was lovely to see our cider appeal to such a broad mix of people – all ages and many different nationalities. Today the Dabinett medium was the star of the show, praised for its depth of flavour and lovely caramel tones. Towards the end of the day we were tired but happy and the check-out staff told us how impressed they were with the quantity of our cider that had gone through their tills.
Given such a positive response and the current sparse selection of cider ranged, we would of course love to see Apple County become a permanent feature on the F&M aisles. Award winning single variety Welsh cider taking its place in London’s most hallowed food hall? Watch this space…