Emma Deadman enjoys a cooking course celebrating the best of Welsh produce and culture.
I’d like to think I’m quite a genius in the kitchen.
But when it comes to making foods I can barely even pronounce – bara brith, cawl, lobscows – it’s a different story.
Fortunately for me, the dishes, all traditional Welsh favourites, are on the menu at the new cookery breaks at The Vale Resort, just outside Cardiff.
The fun Coginio courses are run by Sian Roberts and Trev Burgess, and are a complete hands-on, (almost) foolproof way of creating simple, tasty true Welsh dishes.
The recipes celebrate the wealth of homegrown produce available in Wales, and the lesson gives an insight into Welsh culture.
Following a good chat and a cuppa with the Coginio team (Coginio means cooking in Welsh), it’s off to the giant TV screen where the recipe instructions are all shown step by step.
Next, it’s over to your cooking station, equipped with everything from a selection of knives to flat griddles and gas stoves.
Within a couple of hours, my husband Tom and I had knocked up some cawl (a type of broth containing meat and vegetables), delicious Welsh rarebit (so much more than just cheese on toast) and plenty of tasty Welshcakes.
Our fellow foodies had made other traditional dishes including bara brith and Glamorgan sausages.
Everything that is made is then sampled for lunch. It’s an excellent way of learning the basics of traditional Welsh food in a relaxed atmosphere – everything is so simple, and you don’t need to be a MasterChef contender to take part!
We also had the chance to meet Gillian Macdonald, from the Penderyn Distillery.
Located in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Penderyn is the only distillery in Wales and one of the smallest in the world.
And the single key ingredient that makes the whisky so special? The water, of course. Penderyn draws its water exclusively from its own source in the limestone deep below the distillery.
So exclusive is Penderyn that some distilleries produce more in a day than they produce in a year.
But being small doesn’t mean it can’t produce some powerful whiskies and spirits. We sampled a range including a variety of single malt whiskies, as well as gin, vodka and a gorgeous cream liqueur.