We all know Wales makes some of the world’s best produce. From carefully reared meat, to expertly made cheese and crafted alcohol. But there’s actually a special UK government list which celebrates certain products in terms of quality and source – and legally protects them from being imitated or misused.
Single Malt Welsh Whisky is the latest Welsh product to gain this legal protection. It has secured PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status and is the first Welsh spirit to ever gain this status, and the first new UK spirit to achieve the status, since the UKGI accreditation was launched. Scroll down for the full list of Welsh products on the UKGI list.
The UK GI scheme was updated at the beginning of 2021, following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, and ensures certain food and drink products can continue to receive legal protection against imitation and misuse, the Welsh Government says.
Four distilleries were part of the final bid for GI status – Penderyn, In the Welsh Wind, Da Mhile, and Coles.
Chief executive at Penderyn, Stephen Davies added: “The achievement of UKGI status for Single Malt Welsh Whisky is a significant milestone for Penderyn as a producer, and also for the wider Welsh whisky industry. It assists in safeguarding both the quality of the product and also its source of origin. It’s an exciting step forward and one that puts focus on an industry that has been growing steadily over the last 20 years.”
All the Welsh products on the Geographic Indication protected list
In alphabetical order. The initials next to each product’s name is its Geographic Indication: PDO (protected designation of origin), PGI (protected geographical indication), TSG (traditional specialties guaranteed)
Anglesey Sea Salt/Halen Môn (PDO)
The Welsh Government says: “Authenticity’ is a word which is often over-used, however when it comes to Anglesey Sea Salt and Halen Môn, there is no other way to describe this innovation. In 1997, Alison and David Lea Wilson boiled Anglesey sea water on their aga and unknowingly initiated a hugely successful company. They are now ambassadors for their globally renowned salt which is completely additive-free and contains over 30 naturally occurring trace elements and minerals.
“Today, Halen Môn is enjoyed around the world by chefs and food lovers who marvel at the unique, flat crystalline flakes and clean taste of the Anglesey sea water, unmarred by any bitterness caused by excess calcium which can occur in other salts. Anglesey Sea Salt is derived from the Menai straits pure sea water which is naturally prefiltered through a sand bank and a mussel bank. As a testimony to the cleanliness of the water, even seahorses from the nearby zoo, which are famously fussy about their environment, take to the waters to breed.”
Cambrian Mountains Lamb (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “Cambrian Mountains Lamb (PGI) was the second new Welsh product to be awarded the highly sought-after UK Geographical Indication Status, following the introduction of the new scheme in 2021. Tradition and community are at the heart of this iconic lamb which is inextricably linked to the majestic Cambrian Mountains.
“The Cambrian Mountains stretch over 10% of Welsh land and is a sparsely populated area in central Wales famous for its desolate, historic landscape and natural habitats. A high proportion of the landscape, which is blanket bog, heath, and semi-natural grassland, is recognised to be of European importance for nature conservation.”
Carmarthen Ham (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “The production of Carmarthen air-dried, salt-cured Ham is dependent upon skill and experience which all started with Albert Rees, a market butcher in the 1970s and has since been passed down through the generations in the Rees family. Tradition and expertise are at the core of Carmarthen Ham and this translates to the incredible taste, which is delicate and mellow with salty overtones, providing a balanced sensation between tenderness and a tendency to melt in the mouth.
“The ham, weighing four or five kilograms, is hung at an ambient temperature of between 16 and 25 degrees centigrade for a period of 6 to 9 months to mature and achieve its moreish taste and unique silky soft texture which disintegrates as it is pulled apart. Carmarthen Ham can be sold as whole, boned, or sliced and packed. When sliced, the ham has a uniform, rich, deep pink to dark red colour with interspersed cream coloured fat throughout.”
Conwy Mussels (PDO)
The Welsh Government says: “The intertwined relationship between the natural environment and human activity is fully appreciated in this remarkable process where sustainability is key. Conwy mussels are harvested by hand-raking the natural mussel beds of the Conwy estuary in North Wales. This gentle, traditional method allows the mussel beds to recover which ensures that they are retained for future generations. The methodical, hand-raking method is tranquil to watch, and means that smaller mussels which are not mature enough to harvest yet fall through the gaps in the rake.
“The mussel harvesting boats must be less than 15 metres long, which prohibits large dredging boats being used to collect Conwy Mussels and therefore keeps the practice small-scale and sustainable. Small shallow draft boats traditionally used for fishing (called ‘Dorys’) are used. The hand-raking is carried out on these boats, which are just large enough for one person to board at time. Raking mussels takes time and extreme skill, indeed it can take 5 or 6 seasons to truly master the art of mussel raking. There are just four families that use traditional mussel fishing methods in Conwy. This skill has been passed down through two generations of these four Conwy families for over 150 years.”
Gower Salt Marsh Lamb (PDO)
The Welsh Government says: “Gower Salt Marsh Lamb (PDO) was the first new product to be awarded UK Geographical Indication Status, following the introduction of the new scheme in 2021. With its unique story and taste, Gower Salt Marsh Lamb proudly leads the way for quality produce in Wales and the UK.
“The Gower Peninsula lies to the West of Swansea, jutting out into the Bristol Channel. As a designated ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, the lambs have been able to graze these unique salt marshes since medieval times, with the area remaining unchanged for hundreds of years.”
Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes/Pembrokeshire Earlies (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “One of earliest members of the GI family, Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes were awarded PGI status in 2013. These aren’t just any ‘spuds’, they are grown in Pembrokeshire using traditional methods and the natural warming effect of the sea which allows for an earlier start to the growing season and reduces the likelihood of frost. The Welsh Pembrokeshire soil is inherently fertile, free draining and free working.”
Single Malt Welsh Whisky (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “Single Malt Welsh Whisky makes a significant contribution to the food and drink economy of Wales and is now one of Wales’ most influential exports, currently being exported to over 45 countries. It is forecast to generate a revenue of £23 million in the current financial year including domestic, export and travel retail sales.
“Single Malt Welsh Whisky combines the long heritage of whisky production with an innovative approach to distilling, offering a broad range of flavours and styles. Welsh whisky production is also important for tourism with all of the current Welsh distilleries open as tourist attractions.”
Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork (TSG)
The Welsh Government says: “As the title of this produce suggests, tradition makes up the DNA of this pork rearing practice. Traditionally Reared Pedigree Welsh Pork is reared using specific traditional practices which are entirely different to conventional commercial systems of production. This Welsh pork is only produced from Pedigree Welsh Pigs – all pigs must be birth notified with the British Pig Association or a pig breeders association and have a Pedigree Welsh Pig herd book.
“To comply with the traditional practice, the animals must be allowed to grow naturally, be extensively reared and experience minimal stress. This Welsh pork comes from hardy pigs that are extensively reared both indoors and outdoors whilst adhering to a high animal welfare standard. Modern intensive husbandry practices, including teeth clipping, nose ringing and tail docking, are only permitted under veterinary advice and not to be regarded as routine treatments.”
Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffili (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “This artisanal Welsh cheese tells a fascinating story spanning hundreds of years. The ‘Traditional Welsh Caerphilly’ which we eat today is based on an unchanged recipe written down by Annie Evans in her notebook in 1907, but which probably dates back well into the 19th century. As you might imagine, producing this cheese requires specific knowledge and skills which have been developed and associated with Wales since the early 19th century and have remained largely unchanged for generations. This cheese is not only linked to tradition, but also to place as it is made only from cow’s milk produced on Welsh farms and is the sole native cheese of Wales.”
Traditional Welsh Cider (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “This pure liquid Welsh gold is made only using traditional methods and the freshest ingredients. “Traditional Welsh Cider” (in Welsh “Seidr Cymreig Traddodiadol”) is cider made in Wales from first-pressed juice of cider apples from any indigenous and non-indigenous apple varieties grown in Wales. To qualify as ‘Traditional Welsh Cider’, the growing of the cider apples, the production of juice from first press, the fermentation process and bottling or barrelling of the cider must all take place within the defined geographical area. This means that with each sip of this cider, you know exactly where the apples were grown and pressed. However, not every batch (or cuvee) is the same – the variety of the apples used in making the cider impacts its flavour which adds an artisanal quality to this unique product.”
Traditional Welsh Perry (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “‘Perry’ is a word which rings with history and is known for its small-scale nature. However, it is a reviving, not a dying art form in Wales, with over 20 perry-makers scattered throughout Wales who all share their knowledge and expertise through the Welsh Perry and Cider Society.
“‘Traditional Welsh Perry’ or “Perai Cymreig Traddodiadol” is made in Wales from first-pressed juice of perry pears from any indigenous and non-indigenous pear varieties grown in Wales using a traditional production method. Traditional Welsh Perry is made from 100% pure perry pear juice. The growing of the perry pears, the production of juice from first press, the fermentation process and final finishing of the perry all happens within the defined geographical area. Notably, the purity of this product is protected as the addition of fruit concentrate, sugars, sweeteners, colour and artificial carbonation amongst other elements is not permitted.”
The Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum (PDO)
The Welsh Government says: “The ‘Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum’ is as unique as its name suggests – it is the only plum variety native to Wales and is grown in the designated geographical area of the Vale of Clwyd in Denbighshire, North Wales. As the first fruit to join the Welsh GI family as a PDO produce in 2019, this small plum has an impressive story to tell.
“The Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum is inextricably tied to the Welsh soil in which it grows – with its PDO status, it can only be grown in The Vale of Clwyd in North Wales, where the land is classified as being home to some of the most naturally fertile soils in the UK. The Vale of Clwyd with its nutritious earth and unique microclimate nurtures a consistently high yield of plums. If required for culinary purposes they are harvested in mid-August before they are ripe or if they are required as a dessert plum, they are allowed to ripen on the tree and are harvested in late August to early September.”
Welsh Beef (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “Welsh Beef was the torchbearer for PGI in Wales as it was the first product to achieve status. This seems a fitting accolade for produce which forms an incredibly important part of Welsh heritage and culture.
“Historically the traditional cattle breeds of Wales were predominantly the Welsh Black and Hereford and these breeds remain at the foundation of the Welsh beef industry today. Welsh beef is derived from the traditional breeds of Wales and these breeds crossed with each other or with any other recognised breed.”
Welsh Lamb (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “You can’t get more genuinely iconic than Welsh Lamb. Welsh sheep and lamb farming forms a fundamental part in the history, heritage, and culture of Wales. Welsh lamb is not just a product or a farming practice, it is a way of life and an integral part of the rich Welsh agricultural tapestry. We are seen by the world as the lamb experts and we carry this accolade with pride, having passed knowledge down through generations of family farmers.
“Welsh lamb is derived from the unique hardy local sheep breeds, predominantly the Welsh Mountain, Welsh Mules, Welsh Halfbreds, Beulah, Welsh Hill Speckled Face, Lleyn Sheep, Llanwennog, and Radnor. Wales provides these sheep with abundant grazing and the freedom to roam the rugged mountain tops and luscious valleys. All PGI Welsh lamb is reared on Welsh farmland with high animal welfare standards and full traceability.”
Welsh Laverbread (PDO)
The Welsh Government says: “Welsh Laverbread is made from cooked laver (seaweed) which has been plucked by hand from the Welsh coastline. It has a unique texture and salty flavour which provides a taste of the fresh, Welsh sea. Laver or Laver porphyra umbilicalis is the only seaweed which is only one cell thick.
“The laver is cooked in batches either continuously for three to four hours at a temperature greater than 98˚C or at a lower temperature of 80˚C for up to nine hours. The cooking time may vary throughout the year, with the younger more succulent laver gathered in the spring often requiring a shorter cooking period. When cooked, depending upon its moisture content, the seaweed is either drained first or placed directly into a mincing machine and pureed. Alternatively, for a more textured laverbread the laver can be roughly chopped.”
Welsh Leeks (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “Welsh Leeks (PGI) have the reputation of being a product that epitomises a strong sense of place and provenance and was the third Welsh product to be awarded UK Geographical Indication Status, following the introduction of the new scheme in 2021.
“The Welsh leek has been intertwined with the country’s culture for centuries and continues to play a key role in the nation’s cuisine, providing a versatile, delicious yet subtle addition to many dishes. This is down to the slower maturation process, as the milder Welsh – equitable climate means that the leeks can be left in ground without affecting their quality, providing more time for the “peppery” flavour and “earthy, sweet buttery aroma” to fully develop.”
Welsh Wine and Welsh Regional Wine (PDO/PGI)
The Welsh government says: “You may not know it, but Wales produces some of the finest, most globally recognised innovative wine. The Welsh wine industry is blossoming and rapidly expanding with a multitude of vineyards located throughout Wales. There are over 20 different grape varieties grown in Wales, producing Red, White and Rosé wine, which can either be still or sparkling.
“The characteristics of the Welsh landscape produce wine with a crisp acidity. All Welsh vineyards are positioned at above 49.9 degrees north leading to long daylight hours in the growing season. The northerly latitude of the vineyards creates the long growing season and long daylight hours that are key to the development of strong aromatic flavours. It permits the use of a broad range of grape varieties whilst maintaining the fundamental characteristics that arise from Wales’s extreme latitude.”
West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon (PGI)
‘West Wales Coracle Caught Salmon’ achieved PGI status in 2017, however due to diminishing stock numbers, there is a temporary ban on fishing.
West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin (PGI)
The Welsh Government says: “West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin’ is the name given to Salmo trutta fish species which have been caught using the ancient Welsh traditional method of coracle fishing. This produce, which is interwoven with the Welsh river and seascapes, was awarded PGI status in 2017.
“It is mesmerising to watch the small handmade basket-like coracles being steered through the water by a single person using a rhythmic singlehanded sculling method. It is easy to imagine this as an ancient tradition as it is almost mythical to behold – indeed it was first recorded in the 11th century and has been a cottage industry in West Wales since the 1800s. However, despite being a historic practice, coracle fishing was the earliest known form of trawl fishing, so it has been influential in shaping 21st century fishing methods.”
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