A Conwy brewery and a Welsh centre of excellence have joined forces to create the ultimate burger.
The Welsh Black burger features meat from Wales’ iconic beef cattle breed plus an award-winning ale from the Great Orme Brewery.
The Bodnant Welsh Food Centre creation – which has already picked up a gold medal – will be officially launched at the centre’s Bangers, Burgers & Beer Festival over the bank holiday weekend on May 2-4.
Jason Fraser, butchery department manager, said: “The whole weekend is a celebration of the Great British tradition of sausages, burgers and beer, which are always an excellent accompaniment to one another.
“The three-day event, which has free entry, will feature the award-winning bangers we lovingly produce here in the butchery department at Bodnant, plus a wide selection of locally brewed beer.
“It promises to be a great weekend and the perfect way to toast the start of summer.
“We already specialise in four extremely popular types of burger – the beef and onion, pork and apple, lamb and mint and spicy Moroccan lamb – all of which are made in the butchery department from locally sourced meats
“But I’ve become a big fan of the Welsh Black Beer produced by the Great Orme Brewery just down the road from us in Llandudno. Our Welsh Black Beef range is very popular so I came up with the idea of combining two of the very best things produced in the Conwy Valley in one delicious dish.
“Naturally, the only thing to call it is a Welsh Black Beef Burger – and that’s what we’ve done.”
Jason, who came to Bodnant with a wealth of experience in the meat trade and won himself a clutch of Butcher of the Year awards while he was still in training, added: “The new burgers, which as far as I know have never been made commercially before, blend the marvellous succulence and tenderness of the Welsh Black Beef, which I source from a farmer close to Bodnant, and the dark, rich and malty flavour of the beer.
“The new burger is going to make just the right sort of thing for a summer barbecue – especially when you team it with some more of that cracking Welsh Black Beer.
“I’ve personally never created my own new type of burger before but the process – particularly the tasting – has been really enjoyable and exciting.”
Jason added: “The new Welsh Black Beef Burger has already been given a fantastic seal of approval by winning gold at the recent Welsh Awards for Excellence in Meat Products, taking the title in the Beef, Ale and Onion Burger category.
“I’m delighted to say that was just one of the eight awards we won on the night, including five golds and three silvers for our pies and sausages.
“At Bodnant we make our burgers in 10lb batches, with each batch giving about 40 burgers, so they always stay as fresh as possible.
“That’s exactly what I’ll be doing with the Welsh Black Beef Burger – but something tells me that as soon as people get a taste of them we’ll be having to make plenty more.
“In the past I’ve put beer into a sausage but this is definitely a first for a burger and I know it’s going to be a big hit.”
Jonathan Hughes, who owns the Great Orme Brewery, was equally enthusiastic about the new burger, featuring his ale.
He said: “We’ve been brewing our Welsh Black Beer for the past six or seven years and it’s growing in popularity.
“What makes it stand out from the crowd is that it’s won a couple of significant awards, including Best Mild in Britain 2013 and Best Mild in Wales three times in the last six years.
“It’s a dark ale made by age-old techniques from a variety of malts, hops and local water.
“We’re selling it right across Wales but predominantly in the north of the country, although we do reach into Chester and Manchester.”
He added: “The beer is made mainly from dark malt which gives it a taste of chocolate or coffee. It also has a silky smooth mouth-feel to it.
“In the new burgers we’ve combined the richness of the beef with the richness of the beer and they complement each other perfectly.
“The beer has been used in certain recipes before, although not commercially, which call for a very rich gravy. But this is the first time it’s been used in a burger which is to go on sale.
“I think people who try them are going to just love them.
“It was a pleasure to work with Jason and his team. The people at Bodnant like to promote local products and I hope these new burgers will bring our beer to an even wider audience.”
Bodnant Welsh Food is located in a building dating from the 18th century which has been lovingly restored and includes a farm shop, tea room, restaurant, wine cellar, cookery school and farmhouse accommodation.
The centre had its fanfare opening by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012.
Bodnant has its own dairy making cheese and ice cream, plus an on-site bakery and butchery, with award-winning pies. There’s also a wine store and tea rooms plus the Hayloft restaurant and farmhouse accommodation.
More details at bodnant-welshfood.co.uk