The Prince of Welsh Cakes – and crumpets

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The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall pictured during the unveiling.

 

The Prince of Wales became The Prince of Welsh Cakes during a visit to an award-winning bakery in Wrexham, when he also revealed his love of crumpets.

His Royal Highness, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, officially opened the new £4m Baking Academy and Innovation Centre built by the Village Bakery at their site on the Wrexham Industrial Estate.

The family firm, which celebrated its 80th anniversary last year, now employs around 400 people and was named Wales’s fastest growing company in 2013 and the fastest growing manufacturer last year.

On arrival, Their Royal Highnesses were greeted by company chairman, Alan Jones, and The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a bouquet of seasonal flowers by his grand-daughter Amelia, aged eight.

Also present were Amelia’s father, Christien, projects director at the bakery, and his brother Robin, the company’s managing director. The family was joined by a host of local dignitaries.

First port of call for Their Royal Highnesses was the test bakery, where they saw a display of assorted freshly baked breads and met members of the team.

Their Royal Highnesses then went on a guided tour of the bakery next door, where amongst other things, they saw the Welsh Cakes production line in action.

The traditional delicacies made by the family bakers are sold across the UK, and as far afield as Hong Kong and Singapore.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall were invited to flip the Welsh Cakes, which they both did with great aplomb.

Before unveiling a bilingual plaque to mark the official opening, His Royal Highness said: “What a huge delight it has been to come and visit here. I have always wanted to know, ladies and gentlemen, how crumpets were made. I have a slight predilection for crumpets, but I have had

ROYAL VISIT TO VILLAGE BAKERY WREXHAM. Pictured is The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall flipping Welsh cakes watched by Rob Glover,  production manager.
ROYAL VISIT TO VILLAGE BAKERY WREXHAM. Pictured is The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall flipping Welsh cakes watched by Rob Glover, production manager.

to wait for nearly 67 years to find out.

“One thing I never knew is that you have chimneys in the crumpet, presumably to fill with butter. So the next time I have a crumpet I shall think of the Jones family.

“I also wanted to say how marvellous it is that you take such trouble to have so many apprentices here, and to train people for this incredibly high quality operation.

“The fact that you sell now in so many different parts of the world is a huge tribute, I think, to this remarkable Welsh company and all its devoted, as I can see, dedicated workforce.

“Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to congratulate you, if I may say so, on this achievement and hope that for many more generations there will be lots more Jones to ensure that crumpets are produced properly.”

Earlier the Prince was briefed about the family’s plans to transform a nearby woodland into a nature reserve.

Company chairman Alan Jones also discussed the new building’s eco credentials, including a spectacular four storey high, living wall of evergreen plants. Other green features include rainwater harvesting, high levels of insulation and building panels made of recycled material.

Mr Jones said: “This is a fantastic day in the history of the Village Bakery, we’re deeply honoured the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall took time out of their hectic schedule to visit us.

“I’m very proud of what we have achieved so far. When we first started we only had a small bakery employing five people and now we employ over 400.

“When you look back at the success of the company it’s down to the care we’ve taken in training people.

“We’ve been growing our own talent, and that’s giving us a firm foundation for success in the future and this is what the Baking Academy and Innovation Centre are all about.

“The facilities we have at the Baking Academy are state of the art and the test bakery is as good as a normal craft bakery.”

According to managing director Robin Jones, it had been a “wonderful day”.

He said: “I think it’s great how much Their Royal Highnesses interacted with members of staff and showed a genuine interest.

“At the end of the day, our staff are the ones who have got us to where we are today and it was great to share the day with the Royal Family, and friends and colleagues.

“Their Royal Highnesses saw a lot while they were here. They saw the full operation from crumpets to making bread rolls, to the Welsh Cakes.

“The Prince did a great job at flipping Welsh Cakes, so much so that he can now also claim to be the Prince of Welsh Cakes.

“The Welsh Cakes are a signature product for us as a company and they’re made to a traditional all-butter recipe, and we’re one of the very few bakers in the country to do that.

“The Welsh Cakes have provided a foundation of our growth with our major customers who share our ethos of quality and sustainability.”

Among those who met the prince was Liz Taylor, the head of trading for ambient food and drink at M&S.

She said: “I was delighted and honoured to be invited to the official opening of the Village Bakery’s new Baking Academy and Innovation Centre.

“Their commitment to quality and sustainability are underlined by this major investment, which will provide a fantastic foundation for future success and underlines why Village Bakery are such an important supplier partner to us within our bakery department.”