'I tried the Welsh bakery named among world's best and it offers so much more than just pastries'

The bulging, sweet counter at Popty'r Dref on Smithfield Street, Dolgellau
-Credit: (Image: David Powell)

A bakery in Wales has been crowned as one of the world's finest, following La Liste's 2024 Pastry Awards. To see whether it really lives up to its hype, North Wales Live reporter David Powell ventured to the shop Popty'r Dref.

Following his visit to the bakery in Dolgellau, Gwynedd, he said: "I can safely say it is but not only for the reason you'd expect. Yes, a veritable smorgasbord of yummy cakes and loaves were laid out temptingly in display cases and on shelves."

Writing in North Wales Live, David described how he indulged in a selection of goods for the family after enjoying lunch at the bakery, which also operates as a cafe and boasts an adjacent ice cream parlour. For the latest restaurant reviews, sign up to our food and drink newsletter here

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He wrote: "I had parked nearby and headed over to this unassuming shop on Smithfield Street, dubbed the 'Town Bakery' on the window. Encouragingly, it was choc a bloc with customers and diners and there are more tables further back."

With most of the hot dishes already snapped up, David said he settled for the Shepherd's ham and cheese salad, reports North Wales Live. Seated at a wooden counter overlooking the street, he sipped tea while observing the Machynlleth-bound bus and pedestrians until his meal arrived.

"A waitress brought the Shepherd's salad and it was the most spectacular one I've ever tasted. It came on a long rectangular plate," he wrote. "The ingredients, from left to right, were chutney, slices of ham, grated cheese (possibly cheddar and Red Leicester), lettuce, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, sliced peppers, pasta salad, green olives, coleslaw and beetroot. Never mind my five-a-day, there was enough healthy stuff there to last the rest of the week. A panad washed it all down."

Next David said he felt obliged to check out all the mouth-watering cakes on display. For the others he bought a Bueno chocolate cake, a flapjack and a rocky road, bet settled on a millionaire's shortbread for himself. "As if to emphasise the point," he said. "A huge sign by the sweet counter reads: 'Larger people are harder to kidnap. So eat cake'.

To conclude David said: "yes there are the usual and very impressive desserts" that you would expect at a renowned bakery, with staff "chuffed" with their recent recognition from La Liste. However, offering more than the standard baked goods, he said the meals are fantastic too. "The steady stream of customers is testament to that and clearly Popty'r Dref rightly has a growing reputation," he added.

* La Liste relies on a number of crowdsourcing guides such as Tripadvisor as well as press reviews and international dining guides to build its rankings. Its latest list is for the 198 best bakeries and pastry shops in the UK.