A Welsh centre of excellence has been named as the top butcher’s shop in North Wales.
Bodnant Welsh Food Centre was the only finalist from North Wales at the prestigious 2015 Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards.
Organised by the highly-regarded Meat Trades Journal, it is renowned as one of the premier events in the UK food industry calendar. The awards aim to recognise excellence in craft butchery and winners enter an exclusive group representing the crème de la crème of the trade.
Picking up the award on behalf of the Bodnant team was master butcher Jason Fraser, who has just celebrated his first year in charge of the centre’s meat operations.
He said: “I’m extremely pleased that Bodnant was a finalist in this competition, it’s a real honour for the whole butchery team, who all take great pride in their work.
“We only sell the highest quality meat from some of the finest local farmers, many of which are based close to the centre and whom I’ve known for years, during my three decades in the trade.
“Customers can see exactly where their meat was raised, as we chalk up every day which farmer has supplied our beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Also, they can also see the team preparing the cuts of meat, thanks to the open plan farm shop.
“It’s a much more personal shopping experience, and allows us to chat to customers about the items they are buying, and perhaps offer advice on cooking it.
“The team is also kept busy preparing meat products for the restaurant and tea rooms, our satellite counter on the Wirral and our home delivery service.”
Bodnant managing director Chris Morton said: “Our butchery department has gone from strength to strength, and this award recognises the hard work of the whole team.
“We now have a mini-Bodnant, with our fresh meat sold at Gordale Garden Centre on the Wirral, we deliver it directly to our local customers, and our online meat sales are also increasing.”
Bodnant was a finalist in the Welsh Butcher of the Year contest, which was sponsored by HCC – Meat Promotion Wales. The other two finalists were from south and west Wales.
“HCC is proud to sponsor this award, and it is the icing on the cake for us that all three finalists are members of HCC’s Butcher’s Club, which has become a sign of customer assurance and quality wherever it appears,” said HCC market development manager Laura Pickup.
The win comes as the latest in a long line of awards for Jason, who now lives in Llandudno Junction, starting when he was crowned Young Butcher of the Year while he was still while training at Coleg Llandrillo. He has since worked in butcher’s shops around North Wales, and also worked with the Food Standards Agency as a meat hygiene technician. He also raises rare breed pigs, chickens and turkeys.
He joined Bodnant in autumn 2014, and saw his team collect a host of awards at the Welsh Awards for Excellence in Meat Products.
Against tough competition from across the country Bodnant’s pies, sausages and specialist cuts of meat – all produced on site from the finest local ingredients – won five golds and three silvers.
Bodnant Welsh Food is located in a building dating from the 18th century which has been lovingly restored and includes a farm shop, tea room, restaurant, wine cellar, cookery school and farmhouse accommodation.
The centre had its fanfare opening by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.
More details at www.bodnant-welshfood.co.uk or call 01492 651100