WELSH culinary eyes will be focussed on Conwy this week, where the annual True Taste Awards are run in tandem with Conwy Feast, one of the premier food festivals in Wales.
Conwy Feast is inspired by the wonderful food of the area surrounding this ancient town: lamb from Snowdonia; dairy produce from the vales of Conwy and Clwyd; beef from Anglesey; fabulous seafood from Menai and Caernarfon Bay.
Conwy is best known for its traditional mussel fishery where the old flat bottomed boats would be used to rake mussels by hand from fertile lays in the estuary.
Now set in a modern purification plant on the quay Conwy Mussel Company boasts the plumpest mussels to be found.
All along the Menai wonderful shellfish includes scallops, cockles and oysters from Brynsiencyn.
Shellfish needs a fairly neutral wine to bring out the subtle mineral nuances of the sweet flesh.
Aromatic wines don't do the job. Muscadet is the long time favourite with acid and lemon notes as fresh as the sea itself.
Seyval blanc grown on Welsh and English vineyards is a good counter to oysters and mussels with a steely freshness, as is a clean Chablis or Macon chardonnay.
A discovery a decade ago while foraging through Languedoc vineyards was Picpoul de Pinet, a mineral dry fresh steely wine. It's just the thing for shellfish which is eaten in abundance in the area.
It is now become one of the most popular white wines in the oyster bars of London. I have featured it in the new London Oyster Guide I have written in conjunction with the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and publishers Graffeg.
Picpoul de Pinet is everything a modern wine should be.
Enjoy it with fresh Conwy mussels, Menai Oysters, Conwy potted shrimps from Billy the Fish or any of the wonderful seafood found in Conwy area and you have a culinary marriage of the finest kind.
. ? Conwy Feast October 22-23