South Wales’ indie heroes are delivering the goods in a post-lockdown world – literally.
We live in an age of villainy. Donald Trump. Dominic Cummings. Whoever greenlit showing that Microsoft Teams advert after 5pm on a Friday.
Then of course there’s the Thanos-level threat of Big ‘Rona herself.
The only positive about villains is that they give the heroes a chance to shine – from the obvious, like the doctors and nurses putting their lives on the line (who you can help buy lunch for here), to the pallet-packers and shelf-stackers behind the scenes keeping the country running.
But there’s more to life than survival. We all need a treat or two to help keep us sane during these difficult times, and those of us of a hungry and thirsty persuasion owe a debt of gratitude to some fantastic local businesses who’ve knocked it out of the park over the last ten weeks.
Here are a handful of my lockdown local heroes:
1. Pettigrew Bakeries
They hardly need a shout out from me given that most mornings there’s a Soviet-level bread queue stretching down the street outside, but few people have stepped up during this whole mess as well as Pettigrew’s.
Their coronavirus crisis-planning must have rivalled that of New Zealand; somehow they’ve managed to branch out into home deliveries and transform into a neighbourhood deli stocking everything from eggs and cheese to bog roll and veg, all while maintaining the ridiculous quality of their usual stable of breads, cakes and pastries.
Their sourdough deserves special praise. While all of us filthy casuals are dicking about at home thinking we’re Paul Hollywood because we know how to turn the oven on, they’ve been spending literal years of their lives perfecting theirs. The result is a perfectly chewy, savoury loaf that elevates anything you slap on top of it or between it into an absolute delight.
2. WhoCult Donuts
I’ve never been the world’s biggest donut guy, but when they’re as good as Bridgend’s finest, I’ll make an exception.
Looking at them you’d be forgiven for expecting a sickly-sweet stodgefest that’ll give you a stomachache and instant type-2 diabetes. Not the case, though – they’re light as anything, totally grease-free and sweet without setting your teeth on edge.
Getting hold of them is the trick though – it’s a bit like trying to buy Glastonbury tickets, except you actually know what you’re paying for and are unlikely to contract trench foot as a result.
3. Ty Caws
Ty Caws deserve a huge recommendation for their delivery service. And possibly a lawsuit for their role in shortening my life through the medium of cheese during lockdown.
Everything we’ve tried from them has been epic, but nothing has come close to the Caws Teifi Halloumi.
I mean so what, everyone likes halloumi, right? Except you’ve not really had halloumi until you’ve tried Caws Teifi’s, which is so fresh it apparently takes less than 6 hours to find its way from field to packaging.
In a word – sublime. Want a few more? Rich, buttery, salty – it’s the Rolls Royce of squeaky cheese.
Much like a Roller it’s not cheap, but considering we’ve not been able to go to the pub in what feels like millennia why not splash out, innit?
4. Pop N Hops
In all honesty if I hadn’t been able to get decent beer during all of this there’s a good chance @blysiaubach and the cat would be locked in the bathroom right now waiting for me to Jack Torrance my way through the door with a spatula.
Thank god for Pop N Hops then, who’ve managed to deliver some absolutely top-notch brews through hell and high water. Except that one time a police armed response unit wouldn’t let them into my street (but that’s a story for another day).
I make no apologies for being a basic IPA bitch, and they’ve had more than enough in stock to avoid a no-beer-and-no-tv-make-Fuudblog-something-something situation. Their range of Howling Hops beers has been particularly good.
5. Leyli Joon
I’d only made it over to Sticky Fingers Mark II a handful of times before lockdown, but the star of the show for me each time was Leyli Joon’s Babhaus – a riot of big punchy flavours, colours and textures that came together like a well-choreographed firework display. Only in your face, like.
So what did they do when Covid-19 got its nasty little claws into the hospitality industry? Well, they just went and found a way to teach any idiot how to do it at home.
Their Cook with Leyli Joon kits are challenging enough to keep you entertained yet simple enough to be tackled after a few tinnies, and while they’re never going to be quite as good as the genuine article, the results are pretty spectacular.
The Korean Feast in particular was a huge treat, and I even managed to learn a few things along the way. Not the secret recipe to her stellar KFC sauce though. Bugger.
They’ve found a way to stretch out what could have just been a kick-ass takeaway into a full evening’s worth of fun with a serious payoff at the end.
So there you have it – just a few of the local businesses that have been keeping spirits up at Füüdblog towers. There are so many other indies doing great things under UNPRECEDENTED™ conditions that this probably won’t be the last one of these lists I write.
While a frosty beer, a fancy sandwich or a chocolate brownie aren’t going to save a life, they can make things a bit more bloody bearable, and for that I salute our local indie heroes. Any suggestions for part 2? Let me know in the comments or at @fuudblog on Twitter.