Yesterday I mentioned I’d been making Christmas hampers. There are several people in my life who are difficult to buy for – who never ask for anything specific and for whom there’s nothing I can immediately think they need (there’s always a few…). However, since we moved here two years ago we’ve discovered some lovely local shops and producers that I was keen to share with my family. So, this year pretty much everyone is getting a hamper. Because who doesn’t always love something good to eat and read? This is how I got on – local producers called out below.
For those who love baking
Unbleached strong white flour from Talgarth Mill – a restored flour mill which makes the best bread and has a great cafe attached. Their flours are currently fuelling my own sourdough obsession. Nom nom ridiculously good chocolate from Pembrokeshire.
For coffee and beer lovers
We’ve been loving Grey Trees JPR pale ale this year, but try their Caradog’s Bitter for something darker this winter. Coaltown Coffee Roasters have the best packaging and their Black Gold Signature Blend is ideal for mornings (afternoons, evenings…). Strong coffee and beer requires a good read, so here’s Richard Hell’s autobiography to accompany your drinking, and remind me of watching Television at Green Man this summer.
For those in search of something good to put on toast
Having eaten at Y Polyn a few years ago, I was intent upon going to Wright’s Food Emporium this year and a few months ago we headed over for a day trip to Carmarthenshire. It was 3pm on a rainy Saturday and Wright’s was heaving but we shopped for a few things and browsed Simon’s record collection whilst waiting. They sell their own range of produce – this plum and vanilla jam for example – and a careful selection of other producers like this honey from Coedcanlas. Sadly not available online, you’ll just have to visit yourselves – and try the rarebit with nduja whilst you’re there, I’m still dreaming about it.
For dark reading on dark nights
Admittedly, this would be one for me. This selection of iconic photos from Kevin Cummings came out a few years ago now, but remains on my coffee table/footstool for regular flicking through. Dark pictures on dark days require cosy scarf-shawls – this one from Number 46 in Abergavenny is ideal.
For lovers of Welsh art and craft
Every time I visit family on Anglesey I always visit Oriel Ynys Mon in Llangefni, Wales’ national collection of Kyffin Williams paintings. This beautiful book is a curation of his portraits with annotation and anecdotes on each by the artist. Fforest is a place I’ve wanted to stay at for a long time (one of their granary lofts in Cardigan please) but until then I’ll settle for one of their blankets.
So that’s my selection, I’m off to finish my wrapping.