From east to west in Carmarthenshire: A local taste of this charming part of Wales

There are few better ways to discover somewhere than through your stomach and Carmarthenshire’s trio of Larder Trails will open your eyes (and tummy) to the county’s bounty of produce…

Rhodri Andrews
03 November 2022
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Cycling In Carmarthenshire Wales

Sitting on South Wales’ fringes and to the east of its limelight-hogging sibling Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire revels under the radar. There are few better ways to discover somewhere than through your stomach and Carmarthenshire’s trio of Larder Trails will open your eyes (and tummy) to the county’s bounty of produce and the locals fondly nurturing it.

 

 

Eastern Larder Trail

Explore the towns of Llanelli, Llandeilo, Llandovery and Ammanford, as well as the incredible local produce they have to offer…

Three places to eat local

The Bear Inn, Llandovery
Llandovery once had more inns per head than anywhere else thanks to its heritage as a drovers’ town. Nowadays, it’s hikers rather than drovers that need the hospitality as the town lies close to the Brecon Beacons National Park and is a gateway to the Cambrian Mountains. The Bear Inn in Llandovery is right on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and has you and your belly covered with its fully vegetarian menu. Whether it’s Sri Lankan dahl or something more traditional like cawl, you’ll be ready and roaring to tackle the trails. 

Coaltown Roastery
Once a thriving coal mining community, Ammanford has reinvented itself with a new precious commodity. This time around it’s coffee, the town’s own black gold. That’s in no small part thanks to local boy Scott James and his Coaltown Roastery, where you can enjoy the freshest of brews after seeing it made from bean to mug.

St Elli’s Bay
Fish and chips is a British seaside staple but few do it better than St. Elli’s Bay in Llanelli. With an informal bistro below and a more refined brasserie on top, this restaurant serves up mouth-watering classic seafood with sweeping Carmarthen Bay vistas. There’s even a gelateria to complete your coastal experience – what’s not to like?

Three food experiences

Indoor Market in Llanelli
To sample a selection of Wales’ most beloved snacks, Llanelli’s Indoor Market has a smorgasbord of stalls for you to peruse and take a bite out of. Stop by Ann’s Penclawdd Cockles for shellfish, cockles and laverbread, the Market Sandwich Bar for Welshcakes and end by trying the Welsh beef burgers at the Welsh Diner.

Beer Park Bottle Shop and tasting room tour
More like a craft beer emporium than a shop, Beer Park Bottle Shop stocks everything from Belgian ales to German lagers and everything in between, with almost all of Wales’ near-100 breweries represented. Can’t choose? Join one of its legendary beer tours to try a selection for yourself in its own tasting room.

Frank’s Gelateria
Welsh cake… in an ice cream? It’s an unorthodox combo to the untrained stomach but Frank’s Gelateria in Ammanford is a cutting-edge creamery that has relished creating ‘out-there’ flavours in its innovation centre for 100 years. Alongside its seasonal specials, Frank’s does the classics extremely well, too, like salted caramel pecan, clotted cream vanilla and raspberry ripple.

How to burn it off

Walk up to Carreg Cennen
While you’ve been munching your way along the Eastern Larder Trail, you’ve probably caught a glimpse of Carrag Cennen castle, dramatically perched on a lofty limestone outcrop, once or twice. A pair of circular walks (one short [1.6 miles] and one longer [3.7m]) offer you a closer encounter with its romantic medieval ruins, which have stood here since the 13th century, and boundless panoramas of the surrounding wooded valleys and patchworked fields.

Where to stay

Llwynhelig Manor
The lemon-hued 19th-century Llwynhelig Manor is encased within 24 acres of sprawling grounds on the leafy margins of the market town of Llandeilo. It offers both snug rooms and self-catering apartments for couples and families.

Mid Country Larder Trail

Discover the best local cheese, ham, gin and more on the Mid County Larder Trail which takes in Carmarthen, Kidwelly, Llansteffan, Talog and Llanarthney…

Three places to eat local

Sunday roast at The Warren
Autumn is when roast dinner season kicks back in and nowhere does a meaner Sunday lunch than The Warren in Carmarthen. Operating on fully renewable energy, its roasts tap into Wales’ own larder of ingredients, with the beef, Carmarthenshire’s Myrddin Heritage Pork and vegetables sourced from organic farms, while the affogato dessert uses Carmarthenshire’s own Coaltown coffee.

 

Y Sied Goffi
A café that champions Welsh produce, Y Sied Goffi delivers delicious local fare no matter what time of day you visit. You could wake up to pancakes with Llaeth y Llan yoghurt or snack on a Welsh charcuterie board for lunch, while even the kids are treated to traditional ham cawl.

 

Daffies Bistro & Bakehouse
Resting in the heart of the emerald-coated Tywi Valley, Daffies Bistro & Bakehouse is one of Carmarthenshire’s culinary gems. Your belly won’t get bored: there’s an extensive breakfast menu featuring Welsh laverbread and cockles, the team cure their own bacon and salt beef and, come Sunday, gives The Warren’s roasts a run for their money.

Three food experiences

Jin Talog distillery tour
Forge deep into the Carmarthenshire countryside and you’ll find one of the county’s tastiest secrets in the Jin Talog distillery. Enquire in advance and you can have a free distillery tour from the co-founders themselves, who will reveal the backstory, complete distilling process and the principles behind their award-winning Welsh gin.

 

Seasonal cookery workshops at Y Sied Cookery School
The sister enterprise to Y Sied Goffi, the namesake cookery school offers a diverse array of cooking workshops for all ages. Be under the wing of owner Lisa Fearn as you learn a whole host of autumnal and festive favourites, from winter warmers like soups and stews for the adults or pumpkin carving and wreath making for youngsters.

 

Kidwelly market
Every first Saturday of the month under the gaze of the Norman-era Kidwelly Castle, the town’s eponymous market is an invaluable platform for local artisans to show off their expertly fashioned wares. Pop along and you can mooch among 50 stalls selling everything from cheeses and preserves to handicrafts and cider.

How to burn it off

Cycle the Tywi Valley Tour of the Castles
Pedal through one of Wales’ most eye-popping river valleys as this 59-mile circular road route traces the Tywi through unblemished countryside, woodland and, on a clear day, the Carmarthen Fans. It’s not just nature’s handiwork you need to look out for, as you’ll cycle through postcard-perfect villages, past ancient castle ruins like Llandovery and Dryslwyn and historic monuments like Paxton’s Tower – built as a tribute to Lord Nelson.

Llansteffan coast
If two-wheeled travelling isn’t your bag then lace up for a ramble along Llansteffan’s craggy fringes, with several coastal trails of varying lengths (1.8-4.7 miles). Llansteffan was once a thriving port and the cliff-perched Norman remains of Llansteffan Castle you’ll pass is a dramatic sight that would once have greeted sailors, too. They might also have sought solace from their scurvy at St. Anthony’s Well – a legendary place of healing since the 6th century.

Where to stay

Mansion House Llansteffan
A whitewashed Georgian mansion presiding over five acres of rolling grounds, this elegant escape pairs eye-popping views of the Tywi Estuary and Carmarthen Bay with locally inspired food being served in its double-rosette-awarded Moryd Restaurant.

Western Larder Trail

Tuck into Welsh wine, world-famous cheese, seafood and Welsh beef on the Western Larder Trail which takes you through  St Clears, Laugharne, Pendine, Whitland, Cenarth and Newcastle Emlyn…

Three places to eat local

Petit Biarritz
Not all of Carmarthenshire’s produce ends being cooked up into hearty Welsh fare. Petit Biarritz in Newcastle Emlyn is a case in point, with the owners’ love for the Basque Country meaning traditional ingredients like Welsh lamb and cheese being translated into delicious tapas-style dishes like tagine, croquetas and patatas bravas.

 

Ty Te Cenarth
A charming tearoom in the chocolate-box village of Cenarth, Ty Te Cenarth serves up one of the tastiest cream teas in the county. Its bara brith is particularly lauded, so grab a seat, a freshly buttered slice of the fruit loaf and sip your hot cuppa to the soothing sounds of Cenarth Falls which trickle past the tearoom.

 

Dexters at Brown’s Hotel
Named after the cattle whose meat is used in many of its dishes, Dexters steakhouse is farm-to-fork dining within the Georgian confines of Brown’s Hotel in Laugharne. The hotel’s bar was once iconic poet Dylan Thomas’ favourite drinking spot but now people flock here for the 40-day dry-aged Welsh beef that Dexters has become famous for.

Three food experiences

Deri Page butchers
The tiny town of St. Clears is home to not one, but two, excellent butchers. First, pick up some of Deri Page’s award-winning pies so you can bring the taste of Wales home to your own kitchen – plump for lamb and mint if you want the ultimate classic – while Eynon’s can lay claim to the biggest Himalayan salt chamber in Wales.

Hebron Vineyard tour
Llansteffan welcomed French and Spanish ships carrying wine in the Middle Ages and Carmarthen’s viticulture continues further inland at Hebron Vineyard in the present day. First planted in 2010 and working on steadfast zero intervention and organic principles, the owners offer guided tours, tastings and overnight stays in their converted dairy barn.

Coastal foraging
The Carmarthenshire coastline isn’t just a postcard-ready landscape, it’s a secret larder waiting for a stock take. Craig Evans and his dog Llew with help you do just that with his coastal foraging courses, where you’ll tread the county’s shores in search of sea vegetables, lobsters, prawns, crabs which, weather permitting, you can cook on the coast to enjoy alfresco.

How to burn it off

Wales Coast Path
Marking its tenth anniversary in 2022, now’s the time to tread Carmarthenshire’s 67-mile slice of the Wales Coast Path; it’s been split up into eight differing scenic day walks for all kinds of abilities. Walk the shortest segment from Kidwelly to Ferryside (five miles) in autumn and you’ll be joined by migrating seabirds, wander the ancient allure of Green Castle Woods between Carmarthen and Llansteffan (nine miles) or spy Dylan Thomas’ Boathouse on the section from St. Clears to Laugharne.

 

Where to stay

Caws Cenarth Dairy Apartment
Nestled in unspoiled Welsh countryside, Caws Cenarth will make you feel like a big cheese with their self-catering apartment stay above their dairy, with jade-hued views by day, starry skies at night, free dairy tours and a cheese-stocked fridge thrown in for good measure.

Feeling inspired? 

Start planning your journey along one of the Larder Trails now by visiting the official website. 

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This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.

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