Looking for somewhere to eat in Cardiff this weekend? Or perhaps eager to find a new recipe, or just enjoy reading about food. Then perhaps you, like many others, turn to the internet. Being faced with a search engine churning out endless results can be a daunting experience so wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a trusted friend you could turn to, someone with similar tastes to you who could help guide you through that minefield and perhaps stop you from wasting your time and money eating at bad restaurants?
Seems too good to be true perhaps. Not for the small number of food bloggers in Cardiff. For the longest time I felt I was the only one but luckily the number is growing and thanks to events like the bloggers meet we’re finally meeting each other!
In it for the money?
At a recent food festival, I was asked what the point of amateur blogging. Sites like Tea and Biscuits don’t pay their contributers for reviewing restaurants – so I asked their editor, a mysterious figure known only as “The Chief”, why he thinks we bother, “Revenge. I had some terrible experiences of being ripped off with utterly mediocre food, and wanted to tell everyone about it. And the reverse too – wanting to promote restaurants doing fantastic work but getting very little recognition for it. The Vegetarian Food Studio was a good example in the early years. Nobody knew it was there, and I’d like to think we were part of getting them on the foodie map which has now seen them getting a national reputation and regularly featuring in the Observer Food Awards. There’s a real sense of seeing justice done – great restaurants deserve to be known for being great, just as the dire should be known for being dire.”
Others, like The Saturday Baking Challenge and Cake or Mistake? focus on their love of baking and getting creative in the kitchen – cooking up cakes and other sweet treats and then posting their efforts online for all to see can be an excellent excuse to be creative. Amy, who runs The Saturday Baking Challenge, works in the media but says of her blog, “Obviously, working for a big media organisation is great fun, but I’m not in control of everything that I contribute to, whereas with this, it’s all my work and I can do what I like with it. I also think it’s a fun way to tell people about what you’ve been up to and I really enjoy the challenge of taking the photos to go with the writing”. Helen of Cake or Mistake? agrees, “Blogging is free from all the usual tight restrictions that are put on you as a journalist, like word count, advertising, fitting with the
publication. Also people from around the world can read your stuff and vice versa it’s a great way to share ideas.”
One blogger who is exploiting the global reach of the internet would be Peter who runs Delicious Delicious Delicious, who began blogging last autumn but already has over 200 regular readers from both sides of the Atlantic. How does Cardiff fair when faced with international interest? Peter is fairly positive “I love, love, love food shopping here! There are so many great places to get good food – Wally’s Deli in town, City Rd for Asian supplies and I live two minutes walk from a greengrocer and a butcher. Where else in the UK could I live and say that?” Yet both he and fellow bloggers Mikey (Food Pilgrimage of a Cardiffian) and Dan (WhitherWales) agree that dining out in Cardiff isn’t quite what it could be and that our capital city has some catching up to do. But do not despair, says Mikey, “Wales is not without fine produce, and I remain fully confident that in time Cardiff will start producing at least nationally renowned eateries that Cardiffians can be proud of.”
For some, dining out can be trickier than just finding the nearest eatery. Hannah at The Cardiff Coeliac has been on a gluten-free diet since she was diagnosed with coeliacs disease aged 3. For her, blogging is so much more than a creative process, “Blogging has allowed me to connect with a coeliac network, something I never really had untill I started The Cardiff Coeliac. I constantly get messages about places I can eat in Cardiff thanks to the blog, and have raised awareness amongst restaurant owners about coeliac disease by blogging. Part of my blog is to prove that you can still have fun and be healthy as a coeliac without having to go overboard!”
Pint of dark please
And it’s not just foodies getting in on the act as the boys at Pint of 45 are only to happy to testify. For them it’s an excuse to kick back, have some fun and try something new according to Oliver, “If doing Pint of 45 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s always worth trying out places you’ve never been to before. Even now, going into a new pub for the first time feels like a bit of an adventure!”
Other local food and drinks blogs
Want to read more from the bloggers? You can find all the interviews at Cardiff Bites
Do you write a food blog or know of one that we missed out? Leave me a comment and we’ll add it to the list!
This is a guest post by Nicola Tudor who is a food blogger and blogs at Cardiff Bites