Porthmadog is a small town on the North Wales coast and is known for its wonderful Welsh Highland Railway, it's harbour and, well, for the locals, the fact that it has a Tesco, Aldi AND Lidl supermarket all in the one town. That's really big news when you live in a rural area, trust me. Porthmadog is also a beautiful, independent, and very Welsh town. I can wander down the streets for ages and never hear any English being spoken. This is a lovely aspect, although, don't worry about visiting as everyone does also speak English. It's just that Welsh is the first language and, well, it'd be weird for them to speak in anything else, no? Indeed.
the Parlour exterior
In the 18 months I've lived fairly close to the town, I've slowly been getting round the local businesses and trying out as many of the cafés as I can. Last weekend was no different. We headed along to Cadwaladers on Saturday afternoon after a walk around the lake and dumped ourselves in The Snug, which is a cosy area at the back of the Café. The Café itself was beautiful inside, and way larger than I had expected it to be. The lovely blue wall colours and rows of glass cabinets, revealing a range of tray bakes, cakes and LOTS of chocolatey treats were of instant interest to my husband who is, quite frankly, incapable of not having cake wherever he goes. He sees it very much as his duty to support the local economy. Or that's his excuse, anyway.
I'd like one of each, please
Cadwaladers is a bit of an institution here in North Wales and there are several other locations, in addition to the one on the High Street in Porthmadog. It is very famous for its quality ice cream, which was originally made in the premises of the general store the Cadwalader family ran in nearby Criccieth (just along the coast from Porthmadog). Since 1927, the family has been producing ice cream and, until 1960s sold only vanilla, before expanding their range to incorporate the mass of drool-inducing sundaes that adorn the menus on the tables within the Café. In addition to the ice cream speciality, there's a great lunch and drinks menu, as well as all of the tempting cakes I mentioned having to drag my husband away from earlier. These days, there are Cadwaladers Cafes throughout North and South Wales, as well as one in Staffordshire in England.
It's so cosy inside
Despite it being a fairly wet and dull Saturday afternoon, Cadwaladers was pretty busy and, as I quickly noted, as well as being human-friendly, it also allows well-behaved dogs to visit. This means I'm likely to be there a whole lot more in the future. That and the coffee, obviously. And the chicken pesto flat bread ciabatta that I demolished while watching news on the massive wide screen TV in The Snug. And the friendliness of the staff. I could go on….
Serving dedicated breakfasts, lunches, cakes, drinks and, of course, ice cream, there is a great deal of quality food to choose from at Cadwaladers. The ice cream is obviously the star of the show and you simply cannot ignore flavours such as their classic vanilla, Rum and Raisin, Strawberry and Chocolate Chip, as well as a range of flavours to keep the more adventurous amongst you. I'm taking Choconana, Mango and Passionfruit, Coconut, Bubblegum, Oreo, Peanut Butter and Caramel and Pistachio. And you don't even have to have them separately. Knock yourself out with the flavour combinations. There are enough that you could choose a different concoction every time you go.
You can't beat a massive cup of coffee
After you've been once, you'll be finding any excuse to go back. For example, I was working in my office in Porthmadog just the other day and found myself walking up the high street in the direction of Cadwaladers on the basis of 'getting some fresh air'. I have also been in under the guise of 'having a break' and 'going for a walk'. It's amazing the reasons I can find for a visit. Not that I even need any; it just makes me feel less guilty about saying 'I must have ice cream now, so if you wouldn't mind calling me back later, that'd be great. Thanks….' and then high tailing it out of the office.
Chicken pesto flatbread...soo good
Cadwaladers has a total of 9 locations, covering Porthmadog, Criccieth, Betws y Coed, Barry Island, Tenby, 3 stores in Cardiff, and a single store in Trentham Gardens in England. I'm personally hoping they'll branch out to Scotland so that I can enjoy ice cream when I'm back at home, too.