It’s crunch time for two North Wales food icons.
Bwydydd Madryn (Madryn Foods) have teamed up with South Caernarfon Creameries to create a new variety of all-Welsh cheese and onion crisps.
Launched under the popular Jones Crisps brand, they have been given “extra flavour and tang” thanks to the creamery’s award-winning Dragon cheddar that’s won a clutch of gold medals including top honours at the International Cheese Championships.
The potatoes used to make the crisps are also Welsh and come from Anglesey, Pembrokeshire or Monmouthshire, depending on the time of year.
Madryn managing director Geraint Hughes said: “As well as creating a fantastic new addition to our range of Jones Crisps, we are passionate about promoting Welsh food and Welsh producers.
“From that point of view, working with South Caernarfon Creameries was a no-brainer and their brilliant Dragon cheddar provides the perfect flavouring.
“I have a strong emotional attachment with the creamery, with relatives from both sides of my family having close ties over the decades, and the home farm where I was brought up is a supplier member of the farmers’ cooperative.”
“The farm is just a few miles as the crow flies from the creamery in Rhydygwystl near Pwllheli and I came here on work experience when I was 15.”
The Dragon Cheddar Cheese & Onion Crisps are the latest in a series of new products unveiled by Madryn who have opened new bases in in Pwllheli and Llanrwst to cater for their growing order book.
The new variety comes hot on the heels of a beer-laced chutney made in collaboration with the Purple Moose brewery in Porthmadog.
Perfecting the new cheese and onion flavour was a labour of love for Geraint and the company’s five-strong team.
He said: “We were very eager to bring provenance into the taste because in a big competitive market you have to be distinctive and different.
“Cheese and onion is a classic taste and it’s one of the staples. It doesn’t matter what intelligence you look at, cheese and onion and salted are the two go to flavours.
“We made loads of trial batches before we got the taste just right with the perfect balance between the cheese and the onion. We wanted the cheese to be prominent and the flavour to be strong.
“The standard of ingredients is all-important because we want to be the best and offer value for money.
“I’m very proud to be able to work with South Caernarfon Creameries – the company is a cooperative where farmers have ownership of the organisation and the creamery is answerable to them.
“That’s one of the reasons why it’s still here, and so deeply rooted in the community, because an international company may well have moved the factory to a more central location by now.
“The launch of the news crisps has happened in part due to increasing business from trade through our online purchasing portal www.madryn.co.uk that’s grown four-fold since the onset of the pandemic, as well as continuous growth through great independent retailers, eating venues and key distributors.
“Creating a Welsh supply chain is a very important part of our ethos so the fact that creamery is rooted here is so important.”
“There are generations of knowledge and skills here which is why the cheese itself is so wonderful. It’s a traditional aged cheddar that’s alive on the tongue.”
It was a sentiment endorsed by Kirstie Jones, the marketing manager for the creamery and its popular Dragon brand.
She said: “Everything starts with the quality of the milk and we have a really successful track record of producing excellent, award-winning cheese.
“Dragon cheese is our flagship brand and it’s really what we use to get the message of the creamery across.
“We’re proud to be Welsh and we use traditional recipes that have been passed down from generations.
“It’s fantastic for us to be able to team up with another iconic Welsh brand with the same ethos as ours, supporting local producers and local communities.
“The new cheddar and onion crisps have been going down really well. There are high hopes because the reaction has been universally positive.
“When it came to the crunch, they passed the test with flying colours.”