Thousands of visitors are expected to pack out the streets of Newport for this Saturday’s food festival – sponsored by Tiny Rebel.
The award-winning brewery which runs Urban Tap in the city centre is the headline sponsor of the free, one-day event which will see 80 stalls and more than a dozen food demonstrations or talks.
Tiny Rebel’s Bradley Cummings said: “We’re a proud Newport business so coming on board as headline sponsor of the festival is a great honour.”
The Golden Lion at Magor is a supporting sponsor – and two of its chefs are on the bill.
The mouth-watering line-up of chefs includes the Celtic Manor Resort’s TV chef Larkin Cen, Ben Periam of Mojo The Food Bar, James Sommerin of The Esplanade in Penarth, and Steve White of The Ruperra Arms.
The festival’s hotly-contested teen chef competition final will be staged at 10am upstairs in Newport Market, and there will be a battle of the burgers there between Pretentious Burger Kitchen and Meat Bar & Grill at 4pm.
There’s also a packed programme of entertainment with choirs and bands performing throughout the day.
Here are 9 tasty things to do at the festival:
Learn how to make perfect pasta – including a simple dish anyone can replicate at home – with the Executive Chef of The Park Michelin-starred restaurant and The Brasserie at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Hywel Jones. His session will take place at 11am in the upper area of Newport Market.
Spice up your life with a tasting of some of the hot and fiery sauces from Monmouthshire producers Sorai. If you love chillis, these sauces are for you! We recommend the onion and balsamic sauce which has a hot tang.
Brush up on your cake decorating skills at a demonstration with Nia Thomas in 44 High Street at 2pm. Nia has 18 years of experience in decoration and sugar craft – and she has passed on her skills in classes and day schools for the past two years.
Sample fantastic, fresh, and funky vegetarian food at the Parsnipship stall – created at their base in South Wales. We’re in love with Parsnipship’s haloumi burgers.
Catch a demonstration by Gwent chef James Sommerin, whose Penarth restaurant has been awarded title of Best in Wales in the Good Food Guide 2016. He’ll be at the Pobl offices at 11.30am. He has inspired his 17-year-old daughter to work alongside him in his kitchen.
Check out the sweet taste of Clam’s Handmade Cakes at their stall – last year, they did a roaring trade. So pop along early to get the widest selection of cakes!
Learn how to cook with beer with the help of Tiny Rebel’s Paul Turley. His demonstration will be in the Pobl offices at 2.30pm.
Taste some wine or liqueur from exhibitors Cwm Deri Vineyard. We caught up with them at the recent Abergavenny Food Festival and loved their light and bright elderflower gin and smooth sloe gin.
Grab an ice lolly with a kick from Mojo The Food Bar’s pop-up cocktail bar – or a special cocktail created by mixologist and head bartender, Andrej Madaras.
If a box of chocolates simply won’t hack it this Valentine’s Day, Welsh food and drink experts have some perfect ideas for lasting gifts:
For the wine lover
White Castle vineyard near Abergavenny has a scheme where you can adopt a vine for your loved-one. That gives them a personalised certificate of adoption valid for a year, a plaque with their name on their adopted vine, a conducted vineyard tour for two people to include a glass of wine to toast the adopted vine, and the chance to join owners Robb and Nicola Merchant at harvest to handpick the grapes from your adopted vine.
The package also includes a bottle of wine from your adopted grape variety to take home and a warm welcome to events taking place throughout the year at The Cellar Door.The price is £45.00 Contact Robb or Nicola on 01873 821443 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. See more details here.
For the chocolate lover
Book a chocolate tasting and making course at Black Mountain Gold based in Crickhowell.
Your loved one can join a three-hour course for £85, or have a one-to-one workshop with master chocolatier Jules for £250. The courses include an introduction to truffle making, tempering, hand rolling and piping ganache, enrobing and detailing, using dipping forks, mouthfeel and cocoa butter, and chocolate moulding techniques. To book and pay for your place please call the shop on 01873 812362. See more details here.
For the fish lover
Book your Valentine a Welsh fish and shellfish cookery course at Bodnant Welsh Foods at Conwy.
The course teaches people how to cook and prepare sustainably-sourced fish and learn techniques such as skinning, filleting and boning. For lunch your Valentine will try the fish and shellfish they have cooked and pair them with matching wines from Bodnant’s onsite wine cellar.
The next course is on February 27. Your Valentine will learn to cook lobster bisque, citrus cured salmon, poached pollock and black curry powder, halibut wellington and baked scallops and coconut. The day course costs £115. See more details here.
For the cake and bread lover
Your Valentine can hone their baking skills at a half day bakes and cakes course at The Culinary Cottage at Pandy, Abergavenny.
The course will cover beer and soda bread, sweet and savoury pastries, and a chocolate genache-covered creation. The half day course cost £65. See more details here.
For the meat lover
Book your Valentine a place at a Weber Essential course at Angela Grey’s Cookery School in Llanerch Vineyard, Vale of Glamorgan. The course teaches American barbecue, low ‘n’ slow cooking and smokehouse cuisine skills, creating deliciously authentic dishes from scratch. Dishes will include barbecued beef brisket and a side of signature slaw, spicy buffalo wings with gorgonzola dip, stacked ribs, and Bourbon and smoked bacon chocolate brownies.
During the four hours, your Valentine will get hands on with an array of different meats, expand your cooking repertoire on the barbecue and also use the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. The cost is £129. See more details here.
For the veggie lover
Your Valentine will love the vibrant veggie recipes taught at Kather’s Kitchen cookery school in Monmouthshire. The dishes will be seasonal The day course costs £85 per person. Call 01292 650801 to book. See more details here.
MARIA WILLIAMS meets a businesswoman having a generous slice of success thanks to her cake creations.
Many people would envy Judith Bond’s working life.
From her kitchen in her tramwayman’s cottage on the Great Orme, she spends her time baking and decorating mouth-watering and beautiful cakes, and creating new flavours, while looking out at the stunning scenery of the Bay of Llandudno.
It couldn’t be more different from her previous roles in 20 years working in administration, for part of that time working in the offices of North Wales AMs Darren Millar and Janet Finch-Saunders.
A graduate of University College of Ripon and York St John with a degree in history and American studies, and a higher diploma in administration, Judith carved out a career as a PA and office manager.
When she decided to switch paths and set up her own business, those organisational skills proved invaluable.
Her choice of business came from her passion for baking.
“It began in my twenties and thirties, baking for my friends and family,” she says.
“I started collecting recipes two and a half years ago. Then, a good friend asked me to bake her wedding cake. I had never done that before. I had never made sugar decorations before. I had to go on YouTube to find out how to do it!
“She told me she wanted four tiers, lace, and red roses. She also wanted a fruit cake, which is not usual these days, as most people ask for sponge wedding cakes.
“There was a lot of stress and anxiety about that cake, and it was so heavy. I had to carefully carry it down to the hotel in Llandudno where the reception was taking place.
“Thankfully, it all went really well. That’s where my business was born, really.”
Judith gained her food safety certificates and registered her business, Judith Bond Cakes. Now, it has a 5* hygiene rating.
Judith, 44, creates celebration cakes for birthdays, weddings, baby showers, christenings, engagements, anniversaries, retirements, and graduations.
She also makes cup cakes in 12 flavours – including salted caramel, almond amaretto, blackberry cheesecake, and rose pistachio – a favourite for birthday parties and gift boxes.
Judith is also expanding her business into the corporate market, offering cup cakes as business gifts, or for corporate events, and she is able to make gluten-free cakes, or cakes for those with other special dietary needs.
She’s a keen photographer, taking pictures of her creations for her website http://www.judithbondcakes.co.uk/, and is an active blogger, sharing her experience with her customers and readers.
“I enjoy using social media, building up a good relationship with my customers, and I love taking pictures,” she says.
While Judith bakes her cakes, she’s helped with other parts of the business, like deliveries, by her husband Barry.
When I talk to Judith, she’s working on Christmas orders and has just attended her home town’s Christmas food and drink fair.
“I love meeting my customers. I believe the Llandudno event is one of the biggest Christmas food and drink events in Wales,” she says.
The event was a success, and Judith is pleased with her business’ progress.
“Other people might have wanted a faster expansion, to take on a factory unit and staff, but I’m exactly where I want to be with it at the moment. I’m happy to be expanding little by little,” she says.
“The best thing to do if you’re considering setting up a cake business is to speak to those who have done it and get as much advice as you can.
“They can tell you some of the pitfalls. I found I was competing with some people who are selling cakes on Facebook and shouldn’t be doing it – sometimes, they haven’t registered properly, or don’t have the proper food safety certificates, for example.
“My business is going from strength to strength, there’s a great interest in baking now thanks to the Great British Bake Off.
“My ambition is to be known as The Cake Lady.”
There’s an enduring feelgood factor about running a business based on baking, and that attracts loyalty from customers.