Every now and then we are going to hang out with some of the cool foodie folk we get to work with to find out a little bit more about what makes them tick, both on the ‘shop floor’ and in life more generally.
We’ll call the series “5 Foodie Minutes with …”
We’re delighted to start the series in the company of Illtud Llyr Dunsford, whose Welsh charcuterie business is established on a farm in Carmarthenshire steeped in family history. We asked Illtud (or ‘Bob’, for those who struggle with Welsh word construction) a few random questions:
Hi, who are you and what foodie mischief do you get up to in your day job?
Illtud Dunsford, farmer, agri-food consultant and owner of Charcutier Ltd. I’m happiest making sausages or geeking out about livestock and meat science.
What inspires you?
Passionate people.There are those in the World who can make the most seemingly mundane things seem incredible. In the world of food, when you connect with someone who has that passion it’s really quite amazing. Collaborating with those kind of people is fantastic, it just raises your game, provides new energy and an incredible opportunity to draw on a deep well of knowledge.
Where in the world do you get to hang out doing your foodie thing? Can you tell us a little of what is so special to you about ‘place’?
Our little corner of the World revolves around 167 acres of farmland in the verdant Gwendraeth Valley. My family have farmed here since parish records exist, for well over 300 years. There are two farms, Penllwynteg & Felin y Glyn, the small derelict cottage of Cityr Isaf, rich native broadleaf woodland, meandering streams, the tidal Gwendraeth Fawr river, lowland marsh, species rich pasture and all the farmed livestock and wild animals that inhabit it. We’re very lucky. There’s not much better in life than sitting by the back door listening to the dawn chorus, watching the bats feeding at twilight or stopping on a crisp cold evening to look upwards at a sea of stars.
Which 3 food (or drink) producers should the foodie world know more about?
Angel Bakery, Abergavenny
Essentially the Welsh outpost of the Bermondsey based Little Bread Peddlar. A beautiful bakery, tucked up the side of the Angel Hotel serving sourdough bread and beautiful pastries.
Caerfai Organic Caerphilly
An utterly delicious, young Caerphilly cheese produced on the North Pembrokeshire coast. A weekly staple in our kitchen along with Hafod Organic Cheddar.
Abbey Farm Butter, Shropshire
A regular Neals Yard Dairy purchase, butter produced from the whey deriving from Applebey’s Cheshire. The utilisation of a waste product into something utterly delicious.
Where was your last holiday … any ‘hidden gem’ recommendations?
Holiday? I travel a lot, rarely as a holiday. Brazil last year was astounding, travelling to the heart of Amazonia was an emotional experience – both experiencing the beauty of the environment but also seeing deforestation first hand.
As for hidden gems? Head north out of New York City to the Hudson Valley, you won’t be disappointed. Lush, green, wooded valleys. A plethora of farmers markets, farm shops, and farm stalls. If you have the budget then eat at Dan Barbers’s restaurant Bluehill at Stone Barns, take the time to walk the grounds and see the fields where the produce comes from, the farm itself is quite possible the most perfectly built and immaculate farm you’ll ever see. It’s an inspiring experience.
What is your favourite meal?
There probably isn’t a definitive meal. I’m really quite fickle and eat based on ‘what I fancy for tea’. Toad in the hole was a staple childhood favourite and still is. A good bacon sandwich cures all ills. I’m eternally searching for the perfect burger but truth be told, the most memorable meal I ever had? A salad, at the Los Angeles County Museum.
You have £30 in your wallet/purse and an open mind about supper – where do you head to locally and what do you buy?
Wrights Food Emporium is our go-to place locally when we have guests. My order of choice would include the rare beef tonnato and lardo with walnut pesto on toast.
If I deem our Borough Market stall as ‘home’, then I’d head to 40 Maltby St for food. Unfussy, unpretentious, small plates of deliciousness.
Favourite food writer?
Elizabeth David. My father cooked his way through college during the late 1960’s on Elizabeth David recipes. His thumbed Penguin paperbacks were some of the first cookery books that I read which evoked inspiration in food where the recipe was based on a story or experience. Recipes aren’t always precise, it was a new way of cooking for me and opened up a new world at the stove. Similarly the American writer Julia Childs has that same style, I’ve given books by those authors as gifts to friends who themselves are on a foodie journey.
I’m quite the critic of modern cookery books. There are just too many of them, the world doesn’t need another glossy coffee table book with the same loose collection of recipes. We need well thumbed books that are used and splattered by the many trials and errors of the kitchen.
Most comforting ‘comfort food’?
Chips. Illtud loves chips.