If there is one thing we all love about Christmas, it’s good food and drink.

This year might be a different celebration to what we are used to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner. Plus, part of the fun is planning what to eat on the big day and making sure we have all the ingredients for a festive feast.

But where will you be shopping for your Christmas dinner this year? A top chef from Wales believes now is the time to look a little closer to home.

Pembrokeshire-born chef Tom Simmons, who reached the Masterchef quarter finals in 2011, has joined forces with PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and Porc Blasus to highlight the importance of buying locally sourced meat this Christmas.

Pay attention to quality and taste

PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and Porc Blasus all have an enviable reputation across the world
PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and Porc Blasus all have an enviable reputation across the world

Tom, who recently returned to Wales to open Thomas by Tom Simmons in Pontcanna, Cardiff, is passionate about home-grown Welsh ingredients. He said: “Christmas is a busy time for us, but we always pay attention to detail on the quality and taste of our food - that’s why we only use the best produce from our local suppliers and farmers.

“We believe that locally produced meat tastes fresher and better than produce that’s been mass produced and has travelled further to get to people’s plates, so we’re delighted to support any campaign that promotes supporting Welsh food producers."

Tom has a personal relationship with each of his suppliers to make sure he is using the best possible ingredients, and he knows exactly where the butcher sources the meat from. PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and Porc Blasus all have an enviable reputation across the world for quality, traceability and high animal welfare standards and the ethical choice over cheaper imported food.

“When I buy from a local butcher or supplier, I know I’m not only getting a quality product, but I’m supporting the local economy and helping the environment too by cutting down on food miles,” said Tom. “Everyone can play their part in helping our smaller local food and drink retailers this Christmas.”

This means Christmas dinner could be even more delicious this year by using local Welsh produce.

Support your local butcher

Dewi James a’i Gwmni in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn
Dewi James a’i Gwmni in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn

Butchers shops have also continued to be at the heart of the community and this year, more than ever, we’ve needed them.

During the first lockdown, the high street butcher experienced increasing sales and many evolved to meet the needs of their local customer base.

One of these butchers was Dewi James a’i Gwmni in Cardigan and Newcastle Emlyn, who is an example of a new breed of butcher who has responded positively to this year’s developments.

Dafydd Davies of the company, said “We feel that as butchers we offer a unique service to our customers that you can’t find elsewhere, and we’re looking forward to seeing our regulars and welcoming new customers – be it in person or online, so they can experience for themselves the unique flavour and quality of our meats.

“This year has been challenging for most, and we’ve been busy delivering quality hand-picked meats to our customers when it wasn’t possible for them to come to our shop. We value their custom, so we took the shop to them!

 “As business owners, we’ve seen the effects the pandemic has had on other businesses and it is quite disheartening. But we hope that by encouraging people to buy local, we’re helping to keep our local community thriving and for it to stay that way for everyone to enjoy in years to come.”

Ditch the turkey this year and try...

If this has inspired you to think about your Christmas dinner differently this year, here are some delicious recipes using PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef and Porc Blasus for you to try at home.

Braised Welsh Beef with cranberry and chestnuts

This recipe has everything you need to feel festive and it makes a lovely change from the usual turkey Christmas dinner.

Crispy porc tenderloins with cranberry and port gravy

If you want to wow your friends and family this Christmas, try making crispy porc tenderloins with the perfect accompaniment of cranberry and port gravy.

Roast leg of Welsh Lamb with gin and cranberry

You can't go wrong with cooking a leg of Welsh Lamb at Christmas, and this recipe even has a gin twist!

You can support your local butcher by visiting a stockist  on this list.