I knew that the Aberdovey butcher was excellent, which was a relief, but I was particularly worried about the availability of seafood. I expected to have to make the best of the Co-op and Spar in Tywyn, both invaluable but of necessity, given the space available to them, selling the basics. The Spar stocks meat from a local farm, the Co-op is much stronger on vegetables, and neither of them do much in the way of fish. So a useful but not very rich selection, and I forecast becoming very bored very quickly with having to drive into Tywyn every time I wanted anything, instead of my long-established custom in London of walking through the park to the supermarket.
Fortunately, my gloomy forecast was unnecessarily pessimistic. When I arrived here on a permanent basis it took a while for me to get to grips with the whole food experience, but after only a few weeks I had it sorted. Aberdovey has the superb butcher, Dai’s Shed for locally caught fresh fish until the end of October, and Seabreezer restaurant, which sells fresh fish both out of its restaurant and out of the back of a van in Tywyn on Saturday mornings for part of the year. There is also Mr Rowland, another excellent butcher in Tywyn. The fresh bread in the Aberdyfi General Store is super, and the store sells other excellent fresh produce, including vegetables, dairy and fresh pasta. The Spar, which has the post office, is also a good source of mainly tinned and bottled goods, but has fridges with dairy and other odds and ends.
Aberdovey and Tywyn complement one another other perfectly with their shops, restaurants and take-aways. I admit to supplementing my purchases with odds and ends from my occasional visits to Chester for more exotic items, but the truth is that by using Aberdovey and Tywyn in tandem, I have been able to eat seriously well. It has been a major paradigm shift, a different attitude to tackling the problem of acquiring the raw materials for cooking in order to take advantage of local resources. This includes accepting that I usually have to stop in both Aberdovey and Tywyn at several shops in a single grocery expedition to get what I need, and it also means dealing with the challenges of a much smaller fridge and freezer than the ones I left in London, as well as a fraction of the storage space. After some minor disasters, the outcome is a new way of shopping, cooking and making the very best of local ingredients to produce both old favourites and fun new dishes.
I have only just started eating out and buying take-aways, but I am impressed with how many options are available and it is great to see the emphasis that some of the local pubs and restaurants place on local (or at least Welsh) ingredients.
Here are some of my posts about cooking and eating in and around Aberdovey:
- Early investigations: Dai’s Shed and the Aberdyfi General Stores
- Aberdyfi Food Festival, 18th August 2018
- Cooking with hake and samphire from Seabreeze
- A feast of mackerel from Dai’s Shed
- Experimenting with Glamorgan Sausages
- Eating Out – The Britannia Inn, Seaview Terrace, Aberdovey
- Glorious huss from Dai’s Shed
- Eating Out – Proper Gander, High Street, Tywn
- Grey mullet and sea bass from Dai’s Shed
- A three-day fish-fest thanks to Dai’s Shed and my freezer