The 20th Abergavenny Food Festival happened in warm dry weather (15th/16th September) with a packed schedule of feasts, forages, tasting workshops, Cooking Over Fire, chef demos, Producers Markets taking place, with organisers that welcome an approximate 30,000 visitors to the Monmouthshire market town over the course of the weekend.
The Market Hall stage hosted chef demos at this year’s festival. People watched home cooking inspiration from chefs such as Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, Nargisse Benkabbou with recipes from her forthcoming book Casablanca, Stephen Harris and recipes from his award-winning book The Sportsman, Jack Stein showcasing his years of culinary globetrotting and passion for British produce and voice of modern vegetarian cooking and author of A Modern Way to Eat Anna Jones. Representing Wales on the demo stage was the likes of Michelin-starred chefs Gareth Ward from Ynyshir, James Sommerin from his eponymous restaurant in Penarth, blogger and supper club chef Imran Nathoo and the Abergavenny Baker, Rachael Watson, winner of the best cookery school in the Food Awards Wales 2018.
Two members of festival staff, Meryl Neil from Abergavenny and Alison Saunders from Cwmbran welcoming people to the food festival. Alison said: We are enjoying meeting all of the visitors who attend this event from far and wide.
Apple County Cider Co is the creation of the award winning cider producer Ben Culpin. Ben has been producing cider for six years, during which time he has won numerous awards including Great Taste and The Welsh Perry & Cider Society Championships and Off Licence News prestigious International Cider Competition. Apple County Cider has won acclaim from chefs, critics, writers and food enthusiasts.
Apple County Cider is based at Whitehouse Farm, near Skenfrith in Monmouthshire. The farm grows cider apples and blackcurrants in fields looking across the stunning landscape of the Monnow Valley. There’s a cider shop open seven days a week for cider tasting. The shop also sells local produce.
The Biodynamic Land Trust Gabriel Kaye (Execative Director) and Jessica Standing. Biodynamic gardening is a rewarding pastime which enriches garden and gardener alike. Though more complex in some ways, biodynamic gardening is a natural extension of organic gardening. When you garden biodynamically, your connection to nature and your garden will deepen. You will also use specially prepared biodynamic natural remedies to improve your soil, compost and plants. Many biodynamic gardeners enjoy working with the biodynamic planting calendar to assess the most favourable times to sow, cultivate and harvest their fruit and vegetables. Biodynamics also places a greater emphasis and importance on the therapeutic benefits of home made biodynamic composts to enliven garden soil and the plants they grow, be they fruit, vegetables or ornamentals.
Parc y Dderwen / Oak Tree Farm is a smallholding in Pembrokeshire just starting out. We produce fermented foods for a happy gut and a healthy mind. Hand-made, seasonal & full of goodness our ferments are raw, probiotic and tasty! Photographed Lauran Simpson and Phil More. Phill said: ‘We are delighted to be at our first Abergavenny Food Festival and are enjoying the event.’
Buskers in the streets of Abergavenny at the food festival.
The Abergavenny Food Festival offers foodies from across the globe “culinary magic” during a packed two-day event. Throughout the town, people enjoyed tasting local produce, ranging from chutneys to different cheeses, listening to music and receiving advice from famous figures in the culinary world. Farmer Martin Orbach, who co-founded the festival 20 years ago, came up with the idea following the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis and the subsequent knock-on effect.
Tristan Jorgensen – distiller and Sue Reeves-Jones – brand promoter. Tristan said: ‘This is the first year we have came here and we are introducing fellow traders and the public to Newton House Gin. ‘
Robin and Jane have created a unique, complex, compelling and elite London Dry Gin whose flavours take their inspiration from five of the botanicals which are grown in their gardens. The gin is made from English grown distilled wheat spirit and twelve botanicals, Almonds, Juniper, Liquorice, Angelica Root, Coriander Seeds, Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon and Orange Peel, Peaches, Mint, and Blueberries. The Gin’s 43.2% ABV has been specifically rectified to ensure all the flavours are maximised on the palate. This has been made possible by the use of Newton House Estate’s spring water which has seeped gently from the hills surrounding the house for centuries. It is fresh, clear and unique… the perfect match for Newton House Gin.
Jiliet Holt-Wilson from Monmouthshire Turkeys said: ‘Abergavenny is a great place to speak to people who are interested in where their food comes from. We’ve been rearing turkeys on our family farm near Raglan in Monmouthshire for 25 years. Our approach to farming marries high welfare standards with exceptional taste. Our birds are grown slowly to full maturity and given access to fields and hedgerows during the day. We process the birds on site to avoid the stress of transportation. And we are proud to be certified by the Soil Association.’
Habbah Carter from Cardiff Met Universiy and Naomi Dridding from Royal Wootton Bassett from Tracklements. Naomi said: ‘Based in the heart of Wiltshire, we lovingly make an award-winning range of over 60 artisan condiments, from the UK’s first Wholegrain Mustard to the Original Onion Marmalade.. To make sure all of our products taste as good as the best homemade we make them in the same manner as you would at home; with the highest quality, natural ingredients, handmade in small batches. We know the origins of all of our ingredients and work with British farmers and spice growers from all over the globe’