Over the last 20 years, Abergavenny Food Festival has grown to become the largest annual food festival in Wales. Each year, the event attracts chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers from all over the UK for a jam-packed weekend of activities, festivities, chef demos, supper clubs and more.
The festival prides itself on transforming the way people think about food; challenging and promoting new ideas, pushing the boundaries and encouraging people to really consider where their food comes from. Last year I visited for the first time, and loved seeing how the festival takes over the entire market town, with different events all taking place in separate areas around the centre. These range from producer stalls and street-food markets, to demonstration tents and pop-up cookery schools.
This year’s festival line-up
The best thing about the Abergavenny food festival is just how many of the talks and debates on offer are included in the cost of a general admission wrist-band. Last year I was lucky enough to enjoy free talks from Zoe Adjonyo (Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen), Jan Ostle (Wilsons) and Tom Hunt, (Poco),as well as a round-table discussion between UCL food policy professor Tim Lang, Psychotherapist and farmer Ruth Tudor, and Martha Roberts; a small-scale producer of free-range, rare-breed pork. It was fascinating to hear the panel debate their opinions on whether eating meat was a necessity, a right or a privilege.
This year, the line up of ‘free’ chef demos (included with a general admission wristband) includes Masterchef finalist Imran Nathoo, Sam & Shauna from Hangfire BBQ, and a ‘seafood and booze demo’ with Bristol Lido chef Freddy Bird and TV chef Matt Tebbutt which sounds right up my street. To see the full 2018 chef demo line up, click here.
Apart from the free events, I am also really excited about this year’s line up of paid-for events, including critic and food writer Grace Dent’s talk, Riverford Organic’s pop-up, and the huge Welsh feast from Wrights Food Emporium on Sunday 16th September. Philip Lymbery of Compassion in World Farming is also giving a talk about dairy milk alternatives, and how choosing to avoid cows milk in favour of plant / nut milk might create a whole other set of environmental problems – I am really keen to go to this one as it can be so hard to know what to do for the best sometimes!
Other highlights of Welsh produce and talent at this year’s festival include a Welsh Sunday lunch with Wright’s Food Emporium and chef forager Matt Powell,a salt & caramel tasting workshop with Halen Mon, and Welsh lamb with James Sommerin. Also, look out for the Welsh dragon sign on stalls in the Markets selling produce from and made in Wales.
WIN! Two tickets to Abergavenny 2018
If you like the sound of Abergavenny, how about winning 2 x general admission wristbands for this year’s festival (worth £28)? The festival organisers are also throwing in 2 x tickets to Saturday’s talk ‘100 years of women in food‘ (worth £15) – making the whole prize package worth a cool £43.
This competition is now closed and the winner has been contacted.