The chic face of CarmarthenshireMarch 6, 2018

It’s where the super-cool fashion chain, Toast, was born. It has a Ginhaus stocking over 400 gins and a few doors up, a boutique apartment that’s the height of contemporary chic. It even boasts one of the best-stocked kitchen shops in the land. And on its elegant high street, there’s a heavenly chocolate emporium which crafts “extreme” chocolate wedding cakes over a metre tall and weighing up to 35 kilos. No, we’re not talking Chelsea or Clapham, but the market town of Llandeilo in the wilds of southwest Wales. What a find!

I visited Llandeilo while researching a feature on the food of Carmarthenshire for the March issue of Olive magazine, just out. Lunch is a crab platter inside the Ginhaus deli-cum-cafe, assembled from crab from Dash Shellfish in Little Haven on the Pembrokeshire coast, sourdough made by local baker Alex Gooch, and salady goodies from the deli counter. Shelves are crammed with gins from all over the world, including nine or ten Welsh ones such as Damhile In a lovely touch, owners Mike and Kate Kindred serve gins with fresh botanicals from Aberglasney Gardens nearby. Visit on a Friday or Saturday for fresh homemade pizza, topped with local ingredients such as Trealy Farm salami and Caws Cenarth cheeses.

After a stroll around the town’s shops (or a visit to Dinefwr Castle on the outskirts), the place for tea is Heavenly Chocolate Emporium, which not only produces artisan chocolates and freshly made gelatos (in over 300 flavours) but does a unique line in chocolate sculpting for wedding cakes. Bring along an idea, and chocolatier Tracey Kindred will miraculously turn it into a ‘story cake’ crafted out of chocolate. I spy Welsh dragons, saucy mermaids, houses…. It’s a time consuming passion – apparently the record time taken to sculpt one of these edible beauties is 38 hours, and that’s two people working flat out. I make do with the ‘ordinary’ cake, a pink and white confection served on a tablecloth to match. It’s as heavenly as cafe’s name. I love Llandeilo!

You can read my full article on Carmarthenshire’s food here.

Teatime at Heavenly Chocolate Emporium © Clare Hargreaves

Ginhaus deli, Llandeilo © Clare Hargreaves

Crab platter at Ginhaus deli © Clare Hargreaves

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