Michelin star chef Nathan Davies of the award-winning SY23 Restaurant in Aberystwyth has launched the new PGI Welsh Lamb campaign with a cooking masterclass at the Royal Welsh Show.
The campaign, which will feature a mix of high profile TV, out of home and digital activities across the country, will this year place the expertise of the farmers who produce the food at its heart, and showcase what makes it special.
Under the ‘Uniquely Welsh. Experts in their field.’ banner, the campaign will focus not only on the generations of farming tradition that defines the industry, but how that expertise extends right across the food chain through to the leading chefs who use it due to its unique taste and characteristics.
Farmers are integral to the Welsh Lamb story. The grassland of the Welsh hills have been managed by farmers through a combination of age-old traditional practices, coupled with more modern methods to meet changing consumer demands, and ensure it is produced to the highest ethical and environmental standards.
In Wales, sheep are overwhelmingly reared on its natural resources, such as grass and rainwater, and 80% of its farmland is unsuitable for growing crops. This makes raising livestock in Wales the most efficient way to turn marginal land into high-quality food.
One of the farmers taking part in this year’s campaign is Emily Jones of Garnwen Farm in Penuwch, Ceredigion. The fourth generation of her family to have farmed the same patch of land in the uplands of mid Wales, farming for her is a passion and a way of life. She said, “I’ve been farming alongside my family all my life, and I couldn’t think of anything else that I’d prefer to be doing.
While I’ve learned everything I know from my family, as they also did from the generation before them, I’d like to think that I’ve added some of my own knowledge along the way. And it is this mix of the old traditions and new innovations that define our family farms in Wales.
“As it can be such a hard and demanding way of life, I truly believe that you can only do it if you feel the passion for the work, and a connection to the land that produces the food.
“And it is this passion and expertise that ultimately shines through to produce something that is not only respected the world over for its quality and taste, but is also sought after by some of the leading chefs and restaurants across the world.”
Largely reared on grass in its unique, natural environment, Welsh Lamb is celebrated by top chefs across the world for its versatility and fresh, delicious taste.
Tying in with the new campaign, Nathan Davies of SY23 Restaurant in Aberystwyth gave a cooking masterclass at the Royal Welsh Show. Demonstrating how versatile and easy it is to prepare and cook restaurant quality meals at home, he was able to show that Welsh Lamb can be equally delicious and nutritious.
Nathan has teamed up with a series of leading chefs to create cooking masterclasses to help people get the most of cooking with Welsh Lamb at home. These include Owen Morgan, James Chant, Leyli Homayoonfar, Tommy Heaney and Laura Willet.
Speaking about why he chooses to serve Welsh Lamb at his restaurant, Nathan said: “I get particularly excited this time of year as Welsh Lamb is plentiful. I buy it for the restaurant from my local butcher, so I know who has produced it. I am confident that it has been reared with care and with that certain attention to detail and passion that farmers put into it – you can just taste the difference.
“I feel assured that I am buying an exceptional product and the fact that it has been produced not far from my doorstep is a massive plus point for me and my guests at the restaurant.
“Welsh Lamb is easy to prepare, delicious and can carry many flavours so it’s always a go-to at my restaurant. The upcoming masterclasses will show why it lends itself impeccably from everyday meals to impressive entertaining and how you can become an expert in cooking it at home.”
The masterclasses will be released on the Welsh Lamb digital channels over the coming months, and are a great way to broaden the cooking skills of home cooks and foodies alike.
Speaking about the upcoming campaign Laura Pickup, Head of Strategic Marketing and Connections for Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, added: “We’re delighted to be putting farmers front and centre of our upcoming campaign. It is a great way of showing how their expertise, hard work and dedication is key to producing a superior product that is respected across the world.
“Not only that, but as global events have showed us more recently, it is vitally important that we produce as much of our own food as possible, and the environmental conditions of Wales means we are one of the most sustainable places in the world to produce lamb of the highest quality.”