A top chef is on a mission to showcase “world class” North Wales produce at a two-day show for countryside lovers.
The region’s lamb and beef are recognised worldwide but the region’s mountains, moorland, rivers, lakes and coast are a treasure trove of wild food, according to Cai ap Bryn..
The chef, who was brought up in the heart of the Eryri range in Llan Ffestiniog, will be tantalising tastebuds at the second annual Welsh Game Fair at the Faenol Estate near Bangor on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10.
On the menu at the pop up Cwtch Kitchen restaurant will be Welsh Lamb cooked Argentine-style over an open fire and Venison with Chimichurri, a South American sauce of parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano, red pepper and red wine vinegar.
Bangor-born Cai will be teaming with celebrity farmer, influencer and TV personality Gareth Wyn Jones, a star of the television series, The Family Farm who farms at Ty’n Llwyfan in the foothills of the Carneddau Range above Llanfairfechan, in Conwy.
Sponsored by the Association of Meat Suppliers, Gareth is supplying the lamb for the asado and will also be the official mine host of the restaurant, as well as barbecuing some squirrel burgers which hit the national headlines after TV presenter Richard Madeley ate one live on Good Morning Britain.
Other suppliers include Wales’s favourite butcher, Edwards of Conwy, and the organic Rhug Estate near Corwen in Denbighshire.
The show, organised in association with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, will also cover everything from axemen to conservation, shooting and wildlife, as well as gun dogs and fishing, and is expected to attract 20,000 people to the estate’s magnificent 500 acres overlooking the Menai Straits.
Cai, of wild food specialists Game and Flames, said: “Welsh lamb and beef are world class and the wild food offer is excellent too.
“There are sea trout and trout in the rivers and fishing for salmon and fantastic sea fishing off the coasts of Wales..
“There’s so much potential because there is a lot of land that could be used for deer and with that you would have more wild food on the menus of the region’s hotels and restaurants which is also something I’d like to see.
“We do have small herds of deer around St Asaph and Bala and there are some up on the Llŷn and Eryri could support a healthy population because red deer thrive on the hills and would be up on the tops of the mountains and it would be great to see them back in the Welsh countryside.”
It’s all a long way from Top of the Pops but the event’s compere, Lowri Ann Richards, is still a country girl at heart.
The girl from Cricieth was one of the original New Romantics of the early Eighties when she sang and danced with Visage, Tight Fit and Soft Cell and backed Gary Numan at Wembley.
But brought up on farm she had hunted and fished long before she topped the charts.
She said: “I still shoot and fish and do a lot of beating these days as well as wild swimming.
“I love the Welsh Game Fair. I came last year and really enjoyed the Clwyd Axemen and the fishing demonstrations and I’m delighted to be involved again this year.”
There is a mouth-watering programme of activities over two days at the famous estate which hosted the Royal Family for the Investiture of King Charles as Prince of Wales at nearby Caernarfon in 1969.
At the heart of the event is the main arena which will stage a rolling programme of events and displays including demonstrations by the Clwyd Axemen and wildfowler Chris Green, the Cornish Countryman, and teams of spaniels and retrievers battling it out in the Four Nations International.
Angling is well represented and compered by world champion Hywel Morgan, son of the legendary Moc Morgan, and an internationally recognised expert in his own right who will also be hosting the UK Casting Championships.
Countryside issues of the day will be addressed in the Countryside Conversations Theatre while there’s also the chance to get hands-on at a range of rural activities including archery, fishing, airgun shooting, clay shooting and gundog handling and learn how to survive in the wild with bushcraft master Huw Jones of Ynys Twca.
As well as having an exhibition stand at the show, the Carneddau Mountain Pony Society will give a twice-daily demonstration in the main arena to show visitors how versatile and easy-going the diminutive ponies are.
The event is also an important fund-raiser for countryside charity the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust – a 92-year-old charity that conducts vital research into Wales’s most vulnerable species and a major retail event with 150 stands including major clothing and equipment brands alongside small independent retailers and artisans.
James Gower, chief executive of Stable Events which organises the show, alongside The Game Fair and the Scottish Game Fair, said: “Our aim is to celebrate everything that is best about the countryside and rural pursuits, including the wider benefits of conservation and field sports.
“We’ll have gundogs, clay shooting, archery, fishing, food and falconry – not to mention the amazing shopping at the wide range of stalls.
“Over the two days we have a jam-packed itinerary of displays, demonstrations, have-a-go attractions and exhibitors.”
The event is open each day from 9am to 5.30pm with free parking and children under eight admitted free. For more on the Welsh Game Fair go to https://www.welshgamefair.org/