THREE lucky winners were given a taste of the best the region has to offer.

In the run up to Christmas, Flintshire Council in conjunction with the Leader ran an online competition to win a hamper of goodies courtesy of The Clwydian Range Food and Drink Group, a collection of like-minded businesses promoting and providing local food products the region.

The group has represented small, independent food and drink producers and the hospitality sector in North East Wales for over more than ten years.

The hamper showcased products, and provided vouchers to visit venues, so the winners could see for themselves that all the hard work during the coronavirus pandemic to keep going and ‘keep it local’ is not in vain.

This was perfect for NHS worker Beth Edmonson who currently lives in Wirral but is looking to move to North Wales in the near future.

Beth is in a support bubble with her parents so was able to share some of the goodies. She also used social media to thank The Clwydian Range Food and Drink Group as well as some of the individual producers like Chilly Cow Ice Cream, Carslake Tea Company, Shlizzy, Blodyn Aur, Hafod Brewing Company Ltd, and Owen and Edwards Coffee Roasters.

Beth said: "I liked everything in there, the beer was great.

"The Chilly Cow creations was great fun, I loved the idea of still being able to have the experience of going out for an ice cream in lockdown. They provided everything in the box, the toppings, flakes, honeycomb pieces and all the sauces. It was a real novelty especially as we can't go out and do the fun stuff right now.

"The coffee was also much-needed with working from home, and it was lovely. I really appreciated the teapot too, and the tea was beautiful."

She added: "I spend a lot of time in North Wales and am actually job hunting in the area, which is why I follow the Leader's page. I thought it was really interesting because I know all my local producers here but it was good to find local producers where I'm hoping to move to.

"I'm in a support bubble with my parents, so my dad has helped me with some of the products. He's like me, he loves good quality tea and coffee."

"I'd happily buy any of the items in the hamper again."

A student and her young son were also thrilled to received the hamper of speciality food and drink.

Dorota Gzik, who is originally from Poland and is studying finance at Glyndwr University, said she was thrilled to receive the hamper and try some locally-produced foods for the first time.

She said: "It was a surprise and we were thrilled to win it. It was no small thing, there were lots of things for us to enjoy and I was able to try out brands that I might not have seen in the shops.

"One of my friends commented that I deserved to win because I aways try and support loca shops, such as the local butcher, rather than going to supermarkets."

She, of Wrexham, added: "One of the best things was the honey which I was able to use to make Christmas gingerbread biscuits."

Dorota's four-year-old son Ieuan also enjoyed the hamper, especially the ice cream kit from Chilly Cow.

Dorota added: "He really enjoyed the ice cream."

The 36-year-old said the only downside was not being able to share the goodies.

She added: "Usually I would have shared some of the items with friends and family but due to lockdown that wasn't possible. So I just had to share the photos on social media and say look at what we are enjoying.

"I am also looking forward to using some of the vouchers that came with the hamper when we are able to go to the shops again."

Marianne Mulder, from Sandycroft, who runs Your Fitness Buddy - a Canicross (cross country running with your dog) business, was the third hamper winner.

She has been unable to work through much of the coronavirus pandemic and admits winning the hamper was a much needed pick-me-up.

"It was great to have some good news - it was certainly much needed after the year my business has had and the general year we've all experienced.

She says she was particularly fond of the Mostyn Kitchen Garden jam and jellies products - but enjoyed everything in the hamper.

She said: "It was great to sample some of the local produce on offer and help out local businesses in doing so.

"Everything was absolutely lovely and I would definitely go out of my way to visit the businesses to buy more of their products."

With her owning a small local business, she says she wanted to help support other local businesses and was delighted to win the hamper.

"The big supermarket chains haven't been affected by this pandemic, but local businesses certainly have - so I try my best to buy local if I can," she said.

Marianne says the restaurant vouchers she received as part of the hamper give her something great to look forward to once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.