The Welsh countryside has a long tradition of high standard farming and meat production of the highest quality. The diversity of her landscape and high quota of rainfall provide the ideal conditions to support a wide variety of agriculture and have earned Wales a worldwide reputation for quality and award winning meat. One of these is the renowned Welsh Black beef.
Welsh Blacks on the Bodnant Estate
One of the oldest breeds of cattle in Britain, Welsh Black Cattle are a true native breed of Wales. They have been prized for centuries for their high quality meat and reputation for being highly adaptable animals. The cattle are large strong looking beasts; long and wide with a straight back and a short wide head, they are the epitome of a prize winning animal. Their coat is of thick black hair, long not curly, and a little white is permitted along the underbelly. From true bloodstock, the Welsh Black has never been crossbred; the qualities for which it is renowned are the result of natural adaptation and a strong genetic make-up. Its reputation for hardiness means it can thrive on sparse upland areas as well as the lush lowlands, making it a versatile and successful breed. Known for the ease in which they bear calves, female Welsh Blacks have a wide pelvic arch which makes them ideal for breeding. Not only that but they are naturally dedicated mothers with the ability to turn poor grazing into rich milk for their calves.
History of the Welsh Black
Evidence of these cattle dates back to Roman times and it has been suggested that the breed is based on cattle from the Iberian Peninsula. Bred in Wales for over a thousand years, they are of great historical significance and have played in large part in the formation of the society we live in today. Once used in Britain as currency, the Welsh Black came to be known as ‘the black gold from the Welsh hills’. The history of the drovers is a vital part of Welsh lore and their routes across the country are still in evidence today. Roads were built and banks were founded to support the lucrative trade; fundamental features of society as we know it today, it can be seen how the drovers were an important element in the infrastructure of Modern Wales.
The drovers bought the cattle from farmers in the harsher North and then fattened them on the lush ground of the Midlands and the South before selling them on for profit. Since medieval times, they would walk the cattle for hundreds of miles across country to market. As cities grew, meat became more widely demanded and the drovers supplied that demand until expansion of the railways in the 19th century changed the face of industry and the drovers became redundant.
Once regarded as a dual breed, there were different strains of the cattle in the North and South. The northern animals were beef cattle whilst the Southern ones were used for dairy. Eventually the two strains bred into one and the rich milk they produce is used mainly for the benefit of the calves rather than dairy produce.
Welsh Blacks Now
Welsh Black beef is not only a premium meat, of the highest quality, but a true local product that the people of Wales can be proud of. Predominantly grass fed and bred by farmers with beliefs in good animal husbandry and traditional ways, the cattle are allowed to mature and grow as nature intended. Slowly. Unhurried and unstressed they enjoy wide open spaces and fresh air. The animals reach top weights that are not composed of fat so that their bulk is pure muscle meat. Lean, well marbled and full of flavour, Black Welsh beef has the right balance between meat that is lean but has enough fat to remain succulent and tender.
You can purchase Welsh Black Beef from Bodnant Welsh Food. With the meat being such a popular choice amongst consumers in North Wales, it ensures that you get the traditional cuts that you want with all the convenience of modern shopping. You could also order a Welsh Black Beef box for delivery; with a good selection of prime cuts for grilling and roasting this is an ideal way to enjoy top quality Welsh Black Beef.
Pride is taken in the rearing of the beef from the beginning of the chain to the end. It is bred well with the optimum of care, slaughtered humanely then properly matured and well prepared by skilled butchers. It is shown the utmost of respect from farm to fork. With stringent traceability standards that are amongst the strictest in the world, the provenance of Welsh beef is always proudly transparent. Suppliers of Welsh Black beef uphold the highest of standards and are passionate about the promotion of this highly regarded meat.