The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got a taste of some of North Wales’ finest food produce including a unique cheese made with Halen Môn sea salt, on a visit to their former home island of Anglesey.
The Royal couple were shown the special techniques used by Halen Môn to make their sea salt and got to taste Wales’s first Sea Salt Cheddar from South Caernarfon Creameries.
The Duke and Duchess who lived on Anglesey from 2010 to 2013, visited Halen Môn’s sea salt factory and shop at Brynsiencyn, as part of an official visit to their former home island on Wednesday.
Dressed in casual attire for the relaxed visit, the couple arrived in good spirits following a trip to Caernarfon Coastguard Search and Rescue (SAR) helicopter base, and chatted easily with staff, food industry partners, friends and family.
They were greeted by Alison and David Lea-Wilson MBE, co-founders of Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt Company, with two of their children, Jake and Jess, who both work in the business.
They took the Duke and Duchess on a tour of the sea salt making facility, before a tasting session where they got to try out the Sea Salt Cheddar from SCC’s new Dragon cheese Handcrafted range, and a salt distilled Jin Môr gin, made at Aber Falls.
Among the guests was Linda Lewis-Williams, New Product Development Manager for Llyn Peninsula-based South Caernarfon Creameries (SCC), which is Wales’s oldest dairy farming co-operative and has 130 local farming members.
Linda has been working with Alison and David at Halen Môn to create the new Sea Salt Cheddar cheese for two years. It’s the latest in a range of innovations to be launched by SCC which last year celebrated its 80th anniversary.
“The Duke and Duchess were both very relaxed,” said Linda. “They were really friendly and although it was a short visit, they made time for everyone.
“They were presented with a bunch of flowers by the daughter of one of the Halen Môn staff members, and then they went on a tour to have a look around before they came and tasted the produce.
“We had laid out the cheese on a tasting board for them and they both enjoyed tasting the cheese. William was very interested to know what difference the salt made to the flavour of the cheese.
“I explained to him that salt is very important in cheesemaking as a preservative, but with the Halen Môn sea salt in particular it adds a particular depth, and David explained about how you can taste the minerals in the sea salt because it is so pure.
“They both liked the cheese and they said they could taste the salt in it.
“It was a very proud moment, and really thrilling to be able to show them how our farmers’ milk is being used, and how North Wales food producers are collaborating to create some truly wonderful produce.”
Linda added: “It was so lovely to meet the Duke and Duchess, they were both really friendly and relaxed, you could tell they were enjoying being back in a familiar place.”
Alison Lea-Wilson of Halen Môn said:
“Having the Duke and Duchess visit us was an absolute pleasure.
“They seemed genuinely interested in our sea salt and team and it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase some of the brilliant Welsh producers we work with.”
Upon leaving, the couple were presented with a Halen Môn best-sellers hamper along with a special first edition of the Halen Môn cookbook Do Sea Salt.