A top patisserie chef who launched a range of chocolate bars and doughnuts is attributing the success of his brands to the use of the Welsh language, as well as the talent of local people on Ynys Môn. 

Rich Holt spent years working in some of London's most exclusive Michelin star restaurants before returning to Ynys Môn to take over the running of Melin Llynon in Llanddeusant – the only working windmill in Wales.

Rich welcomed thousands of visitors through the doors of Melin Llynon having set up a tearoom where he sold luxury patisserie and confection. But when the tearoom closed due to Covid-19, Rich turned his attention elsewhere. 

The National Wales: Rich Holt took over the running of Melin Llynon in Llanddeusant in 2019. It is Wales' only working windmill.Rich Holt took over the running of Melin Llynon in Llanddeusant in 2019. It is Wales' only working windmill.

"We launched a bar of chocolate over Christmas last year in the Welsh language - it's called 'Siocled' which means 'chocolate' - and they flew out of the door," Rich told The National.

"We actually sold 20,000 bars of chocolate in a single month between November and December 2020 which was unbelievable. And I really believe that was because it was branded in the Welsh language and also the fact that it was made locally by people on Anglesey.

The National Wales: Rich Holt's Siocled chocolate bars are produced locally on Ynys Môn at Melin LlynonRich Holt's Siocled chocolate bars are produced locally on Ynys Môn at Melin Llynon

"So because of that success we decided to scrap the tea room. And instead, we decided to make doughnuts or, as they're known, 'Mônuts'. And over the summer just gone, we sold around 50,000 of them.

"Again, it was all down to local people and the Welsh language. It's so important."

The National Wales: Rich Holt produces doughnuts known as 'Mônuts' at Melin Llynon, as well as Siocled chocolateRich Holt produces doughnuts known as 'Mônuts' at Melin Llynon, as well as Siocled chocolate

In the past, Rich worked for Michelin star restaurant Marcus and The Gilbert Scott, both of which are owned by the celebrity chef Marcus Wareing. He also worked alongside Amaury Guichon, who is regarded as one of the world’s best pastry artists.

Rich says that going away to acquire his patisserie skills in order to bring them home to Ynys Môn was vital: "As long as people move away and are able to bring their skills back, I think that's ok. Eventually there'll be enough talent and skills to learn on this island that the younger children won't need to leave at all. 

READ MORE: The battle to maintain Welsh as Ynys Môn's majority language

He's currently featuring in a new S4C series in which he looks for an apprentice to join his business. Richard Holt: Yr Academi Felys sees six would-be chefs as they face numerous patisserie tasks set by Richard. 

"Patisserie in itself is a skill that's not really all that known in Wales or really throughout the UK," says Rich. "It's much more of a French thing but there's no reason why we can't excel at it too."

"And doing patisserie while working in the Welsh language is special. It's niche, it's patriotic but it's also homely. 

"I believe that we can make products that are far superior to any English lanaguage products too. We're competing with the best in the world and that's how it should be."

The series 'Richard Holt: Yr Academi Felys' is being broadcast on S4C on Mondays at 8.25pm with English subtitles. It is also available on demand via S4C Clic, iPlayer and other platforms.

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