The Bear serves 40,000 meals a year – so where do they get their ingredients?
The range of dishes on The Bear’s menu is huge, ranging from old favourites like faggots, lamb shank and beef lasagne to fish dishes, sweets and Welsh Cheeses. And on the blackboard every day appears a list of seasonal and special dishes. Feeding the thousands of people who stay as guests or walk through the door every month is a major logistical challenge.
“We are proud to support local suppliers wherever we can,” says Lynda Hall, Administrative Manager of Crickhowell’s Bear Hotel, “we have built up a relationship with many of them over decades and we trust them because they give us a consistent regular supply of quality ingredients at the right price.”
Most of The Bear’s meat comes from Richards of Crickhowell just across the road, and their veg from Goytre-based wholesaler, PJ Jones. Milk, cream and yoghurt comes from Crickhowell-based Stuart Grainger Dairies, chicken and salmon is from Black Mountains Smokery just down the road. They use Askew’s Family Bakery in the High Street, and a host of local shops for occasional needs. Not all the raw ingredients used by these suppliers are grown or reared locally but, in keeping with modern farming practices, are shipped in from further afield.
The Bear does source some ingredients locally: seasonal vegetables from Primrose Organics in Brecon, eggs from Richard Lewis’s farm over the valley, Venison from the Beacons Farm Shop in Bwlch six miles away, and occasionally lamb from local farms. The Head Chef has “Carte Blanche” to decide what goes on the Specials Menu so can source ingredients as they become available. Marc Montgomery said: “We have some fantastic ingredients available in Wales; Welsh lamb, for instance, is the best in the world. And using the small farmer from down the road for seasonal veg is ideal for our specials menu because we can change it every day, sometimes twice a day, according to what’s fresh.”
So, would The Bear use its considerable buying power to influence its suppliers to source more from local farms?: “Definitely,” says Lynda Hall, “as long as we can keep the favourites on our menu which people come back for again and again and we can keep the prices consistent. There is definitely a value to sourcing really local ingredients, but can we get them at the same prices? If not, would our customers be prepared to pay more – those are the biggest questions?”
Article and photographs by Tim Jones, As You See It Media
The Bear HotelEatery
|Address||High St, Crickhowell NP8 1BW|
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