As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to Snowdonia, Paul Bloomfield picks out a selection of cafés, pubs, shops and delis to help you find local food in this glorious National Park in northwest Wales.
People have farmed the land in Snowdonia for almost 9,000 years; agriculture has a strong heritage and remains one of the most prominent industries in the region today.
With so much locally-sourced and home-grown produce on its doorstep, it's little wonder that pubs, cafés, and delis in the region are bursting with fantastic ingredients which have notched up very few food miles along the way. From salt marsh lamb and black beef, to crab, lobster and mussels from Cardigan Bay, to creamy local cheeses, and breweries scattered throughout the national park - if sampling local flavours is high on your holiday to-do list, Snowdonia won't disappoint.
This beautiful café, located just moments away from Bangor’s lively high street, focuses on local, seasonal food. Cosy up by the woodburner and tuck into a Welsh beef burgers, homemade Welsh beef brisket (which is, by their own admission “amazing”), or sandwiches made using local artisan bread. Lovely interiors – old wooden floorboards, terracotta walls, fresh flowers – are welcoming and inviting. They also run evenings of live music throughout the year. blueskybangor.co.uk
In the late 1990s, a group of local artists recognised a need in the community for a shared, creative environment where local enterprises could flourish. The result is The Caban, built in 2004, and now home to a variety of local small companies, from those specialising in fine arts and crafts to publishing and outdoor activity companies. In the heart of the building is a café, a large curved room with sweeping oak floors and huge mountain views. Head chef, Aled Davies, serves local, organic food, much of it coming from the on-site kitchen garden. caban-cyf.org
Colourful hanging baskets welcome you through the door of this multi award-winning teashop, located in the village of Harlech, just moments from the coast. You’re almost touching distance from the village’s magnificent 13th-century castle (fantastic views from the terrace). Friendly staff serve homemade bread, cakes, and cream teas using locally-made cream, plus a great selection of teas and coffees. cemlynteashop.co.uk
Alpine Coffee Shop
One of North Wales’ most popular spots for a cuppa and a slice of cake, the Alpine Coffee Shop prides itself on being Palm oil-free. It serves award-winning coffee and a huge selection of teas – they are members of a committee of Welsh businesses which promote positive relationships with tea growers by funding schooling for children within these communities. The huge menu features all sorts, from sandwiches to salads and wraps, and hikers on the go can opt for a takeaway picnic. All the meat and eggs comes from the local free-range farm. A lively, welcoming, dog-friendly place to graze away an afternoon. alpinecoffeeshop.co.uk
Enochs Fish & Chips
Established in 1969 by a local fish merchant, Enochs, which has recently had a bit of a facelift, has become somewhat of an institution in Llandudno. As big supporters of the Fish Fight, their aim is to get mackerel on the menu at fish and chip shops throughout the country. Traditional fish and chippers will enjoy light and crispy hake, pollack or mackerel, but there are daily specials, including things like smoked haddock rarebit, for the more adventurous. They have also launched their own sustainability project. Have a peek at their funky website (complete with bobbing boats and darting fish) for fishy news and menus. enochs.co.uk
Conwy Falls Café
There has been a café on this site since the beginning of the last century, when it was little more than a wooden hut (the owner has pictures to prove it). Backing onto acres of ancient, wildlife-rich woodland, which lead to the Conwy Falls, you get fantastic views from the café. Everything on offer at this kid and dog-friendly café is “fair to the grower and fair to the consumer”. Stop off for homemade pizza and a glass of homemade lemonade, or indulge in tea and cake before heading out to work it all off exploring the woodlands and falls. conwyfalls.com
Pews and pulpits are still in situ, but worshippers have been replaced by hungry hikers getting ready to make their ascent up Snowdon. This old chapel, at the foot of the path leading up Wales' biggest peak, was converted into a café by local residents ten years ago and serves an exciting menu of local Welsh produce, from light bites to more substantial meals, like Welsh lamb tagine. The area is popular with birdwatchers, mountain bikers, and day trippers enjoying the stunning local scenery. cafesnowdon.co.uk
The Bryntirion Inn
‘The Bryn’, as it’s affectionately known, is a 17th-century inn serving award-winning ales and good food; it also has an extensive wine list, with some organic options. The owners, Linda and Martin, are supporters of fair trade and are committed to green issues: loos are flushed with rainwater and they are keen recyclers and composters. You’re well placed for the coast and the glories of Snowdonia. They have rooms upstairs for those wishing to extend their stay here. bryntirioninn.co.uk
Iechyd Da Deli
Don’t expect to pop in for a quick peek and leave empty-handed; every inch of this family-run deli is crammed with delicious things to eat. From locally-made patés, chutneys, Welsh cakes and biscuits, to potted shrimps and scallops from the local smokery, local meats and cheeses, and wicker baskets piled high with tempting morsels, foodies will be spoilt for choice. Located in the middle of pretty Betws-y-Coed, a trip to this super deli is well worth a detour – they’re right next the train station so convenient for those without a car, too. They also do fantastic, unusual Christmas hampers. delinorthwales.co.uk
For information on characterful places to stay, nearby visitor attractions and activities, see our