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Pizza restaurant opens woodland pop-up with This Must Be The Place

The communal firepit at This Must Be The Place

A new Italian wood-fired grill and pizza restaurant is popping-up this month in Candleston Woods, among the trees behind the dunes at Merthyr Mawr.

CHAR has teamed up with woodland wellness camping experience This Must Be The Place to open in a woodland cabin every evening between 14-30 July with additional lunch services on the weekends. CHAR is open for bookings for non-resident guests throughout the run.

Italian and Welsh friends Giacomo Rimanti and Taylor Seaward set up CHAR this summer after a successful run of pop-ups, festivals and kitchen takeovers with their other food business, Pasta al Sugo.

The menu for CHAR centres around hand stretched pizzas cooked in a wood-fired oven. Served alongside, a menu of small plates includes topped crostini and Mediterranean vegetable skewers cooked over a wood grill and a range of salads, meats and cheeses combining authentic, quality Italian and Welsh ingredients. Desserts are also from the grill with dishes such as grilled peach with crumble and ice cream.

The wine list has been curated by Wrights Wines, with classic cocktails on offer from Street Food Circus’s mixologists.

Guests can book a table on the woodland terrace or, if they prefer something more informal, can take their food to eat around the site’s large communal campfire.

The Dunes at Merthyr Mawr next to the woodland This Must Be The Place site. Photo credit: Dan Nicolas

CHAR co-founder Giacomo said:

“We’ve been running CHAR at venues in Cardiff and at food festivals in the last couple of months and building up a following for our combinations of Italian and Welsh flavours. We can’t wait to bring a full menu of wood-fired cooking to the forest and the chance to showcase some fantastic fresh summer produce. It’s going to be a very special place for people to come and eat with us, then chill out on the terrace and enjoy some great wines and cocktails,” he said.

Joining CHAR for a special event on Saturday 22 July, Bake Off The Professionals winner Andrew Minto will be serving afternoon tea on the terrace. Andrew runs Minto’s Patisserie which has been appearing at food festivals and street food events this year, showcasing his sweet creations.

The Forest afternoon tea menu includes a Summer Merthyr Mawr Forest gateaux, strawberries & cream petit gateau, lemon and raspberry opera, passion fruit macaron, scones and savouries.

Between 14-30 July CHAR will be open every evening from 4pm-10pm and 12pm-2pm on Saturday & Sunday. CHAR is open to everyone but must be pre-booked online. Minto’s Patisserie Forest Afternoon Tea is served 12pm-2pm on Saturday 22 July – this must also be prebooked online.

Billed as ‘the antidote to modern living’, This Must Be The Place is a wellness camping collaboration between the Merthyr Mawr Estate and Gabrielle Kelly of Far.a.field retreats and Street Food Circus, which also runs the Forest Feastival food festival at Candleston Woods.

It runs from 14 – 30 July in Candleston Woods, with bookings available for furnished or unfurnished 5m bell tents and camper van pitches. Booking is online now (min two night stay) at thismustbetheplace.camp.