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Pairing Welsh Snacks with Local Beverages | Six Surprising Combinations for the Culinary Curious

There’s certainly plenty to be proud about being Welsh with our ancestry, but when it comes to culinary excellence, it’s fair to say we’ve been left behind in the records books – quite literally!

It wasn’t until 1928 that a record of ‘Welsh Culinary Recipes’ even existed, and prior to that, it was hardly highly thought of with one chaplain to Henry II describing our eating habits plainly as: “The whole population lives almost entirely on oats and the product of their herds, milk, cheese and butter. You must not expect a variety of dishes from a Welsh kitchen.”

But, we’re here to change that!

Modern tastes, coupled with our rich agricultural industry, has led a revival in the rural landscape of Wales and has seen Welsh ingredients - through farmers markets, organic vegetables and artisan food products - work its way into the fashionable palates of our friends and neighbours.

So, we decided to take a look at the best of our modern local produce and where they pair up perfectly with one of our country’s other great passions – booze.

Join us as we delve into six snack combinations, celebrating the symphony of tastes that makes Welsh food and drink so uniquely delightful.

  1. Bara Brith with Penderyn Whisky

Stop us if you’ve ever tried this one before… A surprising combination you might think for a Welsh Snack associated with the afternoon and a Whisky traditionally consumed in the twilight hours. But, the secret connection lies in the fruit.

Penderyn Whisky, which is a smooth and premium Welsh single malt whisky with notes of vanilla, fruits and spices can help to contrast the sweetness emanating from the traditional fruit loaf’s tea-soaked dried fruits and spices.

In this case, the rich and fruity sweetness of Bara Brith enhances the complex flavours of the smooth warmth from the Penderyn Whisky and can provide both a tasteful and sobering companion to the local malted speciality.

  1. Mature Cheese and Onion Crisps with Chardonnay

Now this is one combination you may have actually experienced during a visit to a public house – whether you were aware of it or not. It’s not unusual for us to compliment a drink at the tavern with a packet of crisps, so you may actually have come across the pairing of white wine and cheese and onion crisps before.

In this case, we recommend specifically choosing the Chardonnay variety of wine. This green-skinned grape traditionally provides buttery and oaky notes in the palate, which is exactly what we’re looking for to pair with the rich and creamy flavours of cheese and onion crisps. If you want to keep things local – consider the Chardonnay from Ancre Hill Vineyard in Monmouthshire as your choice.

Of course, for the crisps in this partnership, you need look no further than Jones’ own Mature Cheese and Onion offering – the extra maturity in our flavours particularly suiting the buttery Chardonnay to enhance your taste experience.

  1. Welsh Rarebit with Welsh Cider

I could definitely see myself picking this winning combination after a long morning’s walk around the hills of Caernarfonshire.

The sharp, cheesy, and slightly tangy notes of Welsh Rarebit complement the crisp and refreshing qualities of Welsh cider, cutting through the richness of the dish and enhancing its flavours.

You could do worse than testing the variety of rarebit options at your local shop/café/pub and check if they use local ingredients for their ale, mustard, cheese and spices. While a local cider, like those from Gwynt y Ddraig are known for their crisp and slightly sweet profiles and could match your meal perfectly.

  1. Sweet & Salty Popcorn with Porter

A truly unique combination (that works – trust us!) and probably not one that traditionally gets paired together.

You might think of popcorn as a light snack – perhaps one used while on the go, while watching a movie or simply as a distraction for the kids! But, here we’re planning to complement the sweet and caramel notes of the popcorn with the deep roasted, chocolatey flavours of a porter.

You might plan to do this during a quiet evening, either down at your local or in the comfort of your own home in front of a book and roaring fire, and test out how this combination challenges the tastebuds.

We’ve previously used the Dragon Stout from Felinfoel Brewery alongside our Sweet and Salty Popcorn to trial this flavour fantasy.

  1. Welsh Cakes with Welsh Herbal Tea

The one provision from our list that doesn’t involve alcohol – this is perhaps a more traditional combination that you’ve had before during a relaxing afternoon tea.

The sweet griddled Welsh cakes are made with flour, sugar, currants, and spices before usually being dusted with caster sugar and served warm.

Pair these with your choice of Welsh Herbal Tea (including chamomile, peppermint, or native Welsh plants) for soothing, aromatic experience.

The sweet, buttery texture of Welsh cakes pairs harmoniously with the gentle, calming flavours of the herbal tea, making it a perfect afternoon treat.

  1. Salt and Vinegar Crisps with Pale Ale

Finally, a selection that may be the most popular on the list and one that certainly has been tried ever since salted crisps were introduced in the 1800s, the Salt and Vinegar Crisp with a fine pale ale.

We probably don’t need to explain this one as it’s something many of us have tried before, but why are the pale ale and the salty vinegar crisp the pick of the bunch?

Unlike other crisps and beer combos, the acidity and saltiness of these crisps complement the hoppy bitterness and crisp finish of a pale ale. If you fancy trying a local version of this treat, why not look for the Welsh Pale Ale from the Bragdy Cybi to accompany your Jones’ favourite.

Hopefully this blog has given you some fresh ideas in how to snack in style, but if you think there’s a combination here that we missed – why not get in touch? We’re always on the lookout for the best flavour pairings, so who knows, your next message could even lead us to our newest crisp creation!