About the Campaign

The Great British Food Cycle is a nationwide campaign aimed at getting people back in touch with the great British food that’s on their doorsteps.

Led by eccentric foodie Tim Keates, tweed-clad and moustachioed, who picks up & drops off delectable samples of Great British food to Great British people as he pedals on his merry way through these islands. Organic butchers, artisan bakers and box scheme makers – and the people who enjoy their great local food – are all invited to get involved.

As more and more people are asking about the providance of their food, and how they can get the most flavour & nutrition for themselves and their families we are turning a spotlight on great local farmers, growers, retailers & chefs the length of the country.

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A delicious swop Cader Ales for Eboni Ac Eifori fudge

Dolgellau has been a goldmine of producers and has a thriving High Street and Square. A real sense of community and belonging. Shops nessle together and start to open around 07.30, like the baker, Crasdy’r Grader run by Trevor & Lisa Jane Humphreys. All the little doors creep open over the next hour or so and the hub is bustling by 9am.

My port of call was Cwrw Cader (Cader Ales) situated just out of town in the industrial estate.
Owner and Brewer Stephen Warner received me and we soon did a swop beer for fudge. They actually go well together.
I picked up their Aur Cader and a TPA, a classic Indian pale ale brewed in honour of the Talyllyn Steam Railway which runs in Southern Snowdonia. Amber sent n colour with a distinctive hoppiness.
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My swop was Eboni ac Eifori fudge a real success story on the edge of Snowdonia National Park.
they can be found at:
Eboni Ac Eifori
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The breakfast bap is alive & well all across Wales

It is really important to set myself up to win.  Cycling long distances everyday with a full pack and heavy bike takes its toll on my body. I take supplements to make sure my joints stay strong and muscles get additional nutrients.

A hearty breakfast keeps me going and sometimes I can’t get my porriage oats with fruit & honey.

What I can be assured of is a breakfast bap in every town to line your boots with.

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Casdy’r Gader who can be found in central Dolgellau and online through their active Facebook page, serve up a great selection of breakfast goodies.
My delight was bacon & egg on a white bap. With two double-thick rashers and a runny egg, on a fresh (baked that morning) roll.
What’s not to like?

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I’m very pleased to say the artisan breakfast bap is alive & well and feeding the workers of Wales.

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GBFC is about fabulous small producers

The GBFCs journey is at a grassroots level and I love it as such. By traveling the roads and lanes we get to visit and meet many of the great producers who are just that- great artisans.

They are often farmers, crofters or growers who have diversified to add value to their original product by first growing it then processing to a finish product which they have honed over time.

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They are not internet fluent, or social media savvy. Many don’t need to be as their products sell themselves at local markets and through small outlets. Perhaps they don’t have a web site or social media account. They are busy doing what they do best. Make delicious food, but to the wider market they are invisable.

One such example is Roots Jams & Chutney at Ruthin Saturday market. A husband & wife team who make tiny batches of lovely preserves from literally homegrown fruit & vegetables.

They have some unusual and interesting flavour combinations which including a really well made raspberry marmalade.

As part of my journey I was able to make a swop of their marmalade with a manager within a company whos wider remit is to supply the very best produce far across the  country (and world) to top restaurants run by the chefs who we know simply by their first names.

If the marmalade hits the right note, in his palette who knows where it could lead for one small stallholder from Ruthin?

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Rhug Estate a clear winner

Rolling in to the car park at the Rhug Estate farm shop, restaurant & grill is not your average farm shop experience.
The grill is wafting tantalizing smells of minute steak and prime burgers with liveried grill chefs preparing the orders in double-quick time.

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Even on a drizzly day when I visited there is a queue of people wanting hot food on-the-go. Mums with kids retirees and builder and tradesmen passing the venue know where to get great estate prepared grub.

If you want to eat high on the hog, so to speak you can dine in the restaurant which comes with the highest accolade Best on farm restaurant in the UK 2013

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I could see the many staff readying the shelves for the Christmas onslaught. With all manner of choice sweetmeats both sweet & savory and preserved goodies of every description. All of the highest calibre. The majority of suppliers are very local from down the road or across the valley. A very high percentage are Welsh, with a few supplied by neighbouring counties. Exotic items like olive oil is harvested exclusively for Rhug from a single estate.
I can only image the cash registers having to be hosed down at night as they will be running hot from now until New Year.

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Banoffee yoghurt, can break a man of steel.

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Llaeth y Llan (The Village Dairy) make lots of delicious dairy products but surely the best, as a pure luxury has to be banoffee probiotic yoghurt.

I am a man of steel, who cycles the byways of Great Britain in rain or shine, on a bike with no gears, but my metal was tested by resisting such a yummy dessert.

I stayed over at The Castle Hotel in Ruthin and an excellent service & accommodation it was. I highly recommend it. The staff both day and night went out of their way to furnish my every need.

They found special parking for Betsy and organized fridge space for my foodstuffs in transit. To make sure my produce was kept in tip top condition ready for delivery at the next stop. A great hot shower & a good nights rest is a recipe for success.

Breakfast was perfect -hot porriage with sliced banana and honey. A breakfast of champions.

Spool foward many hours and getting in to Bala after a tough cycle against a 16mph wind and rain right in my face for 6hrs. Soaking wet and arriving in town in the dark & cold is not my best option.

I needed a boost when I got to my nights rest on the High Street.
Protein and carbs in an easily digested package….banoffee yoghurt was the complete package.
Sorry everyone you’ll have to buy your own, because I scoffed it!

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Edwards of Conwy an amazing shop

A brief stop at Edwards of Conwy, famous butcher in the area to pick up one of their famous pies.

I was given one of their Huntsmen pies. Which i was recommended to a day before by a cyclist near Bangor. I was told they are very popular at the nearby real ale pub The Albion.

A wholesome pie with quality crisp pastry and a well filled interior in tandem with a  glass of craft ale is a meal fit for a king.

Ironically I had neither, as I had to get cycling on to Colwyn Bay by the old highroad.

If you are in the area please pop in to Edwards at 18 Stryd Fawr/ High St. LL32 8DE to see the newly renovated shop with an incredible spread of meat products and deli items.

All the girls behind the counter on the cold meat counter were so generous with their time & loved the idea of the food cycle.

http://www.edwardsofconwy.co.uk

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New bakery on the high street, Menai Bridge

A chance meeting on the High Street of Menai Bridge had me sit & have a cuppa and delicious potato cakes with Claire Rolland, owner of Pumpkin Seed Bakery who opened six months ago.

She shared that the whole of the local community has been very supportive to make the business a success. Pleased to see an artisan producer back on the high street.

Popty Hadau Pwmpen (Pumpkin Seed Bakery) freshly bake regular loaves and specialist dark & light sourdoughs which are a special hit with overseas visitors.
I quality tested the potato cakes (purely for research) and I can confirm they passed with flying colours!

A member of the Real Bread Campaign Claire learned her trade travelling the world working for top bakeries in UK, Europe & USA.

If you are on the Isle of Angelsea this weekend for the fun fair or visiting for a late holiday they will be open all weekend with some great baked treats. Claire also stocks homemade jams, jellies and local Angelsea honey.

Pumpkin Seed Bakery, 49 High Street, Menai Bridge. LL59 5EF

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Y Pantri Cymraeg, Caernarfon.

Thank you to Elaine Morris & Kevin McKeown for being my first pick up in Caernarfon. Their shop is filled to the ceiling with all Welsh produce and what you can’t get there, can’t be had in the local area. They have a deli counter too. Where I had my lunchtime wrap made up too.
The shop is a treasure trove of Welsh produce and thank you Elaine for participating in the food cycle by giving me my first parcel of Bara Brith, a traditional moist fruit cake made by Menter Fachwen just down the road from Pantri Cymraeg, which can be found on the side of the square at 6, Y Maes Caernarfon. LL55 2NF

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What a start

Well what a start to the journey I have had. Two punctures and a 3hr push into Caernarfon. I was exhausted. Up in the morning and thank you to Trotters independent hostel for such a warm welcome and help in finding someone to help fix the bike.

Gary at Beic Menai Cycles was brilliant at fixing Betsy up to full strength. It was quite a dent in my schedule and I left the castle at lunchtime instead of early morning. I had a lot of time to make up.

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Betsy learns yoga, while I let the train take the strain.

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After a silly mix up around my ticket to Bangor, North Wales I took a later train and found the staff at Euston incredibly helpful.

While waiting to resolve the issue I got talking with a lady staff member about Betsy as a butcher’s bike in the ticket hall at Euston is an unusual sight. She  remembered when she was very small the baker delivering on her street bread and pastries on a similar bike.

I got to board the train early as a huge wicker basket and rusty bike doesn’t mix well with business travellers.
I found the bike storage area and after a couple of attempts worked out the best way to store Betsy!

Fun and games changing at Chester for our final destination Bangor.

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