Crowds brought a foodie festive spirit to Abergavenny today at the town’s Christmas food and drink fair.
Thousands of people visited stalls across the town, buying charcuterie, cheeses, beers, wines, cakes, breads, vegetarian pies, fruit juices, preserves, and store cupboard delights like cold pressed rapeseed oil and fruit vinegars.
Rupert Parsons of Wormersley Fruit and Herb Vinegars Ltd, based in Chipping Norton, has been bringing his goods to the festival for the past five years.
In the Market Hall, he said: “We come to both the September and December festivals in Abergavenny, and this event has a really festive spirit. The weather has meant there have been fewer people this year, but the first two hours were buzzing in the Market Hall.
“It’s great to see people, and I just love coming here.”
Legges of Bromyard sold almost 800 pies at their stall. Their game pies proved most popular, quickly selling out.
Kody Bergstrom said: “The first few hours were crazy. There’s a great festive feeling.”
Their Old Boy pork pies were also proving popular, alongside their pork and venison, steak and cheddar, pork, perry, pear and nettle, and chicken, apple and paprika pies.
David Deaves of La Cave à Fromage brought around 150 cheeses to his stall. His firm, which has outlets in London and Brighton, sources its products from small, independent cheesemakers, and fairs like Abergavenny are a fantastic showcase for their products.
Mr Deaves said: “We go to a number of food fairs, cheese and chocolate fairs, and we run our own cheese festival every year. Next year it will be on April 9. That’s a chance for our producers to meet and share their products.
“This is my first Christmas event in Abergavenny, and it’s been very good.”
Buster Grant of Brecon Brewing was manning his stall in the Market Hall.
“We’ve brought six bottled beers and eight on draught,” he said.
“It’s been a success, and a good showcase for our beers which we supply to pubs throughout Wales.”
The Brecon brewery has been operating for the past four and a half years, and in January the brewery is opening a bar and bottle shop in the town, Brecon Tap.
“It’s very exciting,” Mr Grant told visitors.
James Swift of Monmouthshire’s Trealy Farm Charcuterie praised the food knowledge of visitors to the fair.
“People who come here are interested in cooking,” he said.
“In other places, we find people are more interested in street food, for example. Food which is already pre-prepared. While there’s a place for that, it’s refreshing to be in a place where people are looking to buy produce for cooking.
“It’s also very local to us, so it’s lovely to see people and chat with them here. It’s a great event for primary producers like us.”
Feel the need for a taste of the festive season as you shop? Here is Gusto’s guide to some of the best Christmas markets and fairs in Wales.
Abergavenny Christmas Food and Drink Fair December 14 – see my separate blog on this event with all the details you need here.
Aberglasney Winter Fair, Camarthenshire, December 4 to 6, Friday 2.00pm – 6.00pm; Saturday & Sunday 10am – 4.30pm.
The site will be transformed into a ‘Winter Wonderland’ and Christmas shopper’s paradise, with almost 100 stalls selling gifts, crafts, decorations and fine food.There will also be entertainment ranging from traditional choirs to silver bands who will perform across the weekend. Aberglasney Gardens’ restored grade II* listed mansion will be filled with stalls as will a large marquee on the North Lawn in front of the mansion itself. A separate fine food marquee gives you the opportunity to stock up on all your festive favourites with some of the regions very best producers exhibiting again this year. As well as a range of food outlets for ‘on the go’ eating Aberglasney’s Tearooms ‘MaryEllen’s’ will have a special menu.
£4.00 Children (5 – 16, under 5’s Free)
£20.00 Family Ticket *2 Adults + 2 Children
….with a complimentary glass of mulled wine and a mince pie for all visitors.
Plas Newydd Christmas food and craft fair, December 6 and 7. Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens at Llanfairpwll will play host to 60 stalls from 11am to 4pm. Entry costs £1 per adult, and 50p per child.
Blackwood Christmas Market December 17. Stalls, entertainment and funfair rides will take over the town centre.
Royal Welsh Winter Fair November 30 and December 1 at The Showground, Llanelwedd. Alongside the judging of livestock, poultry and horses in the main indoor arenas, and the judging of floral art, produce and handicrafts in the South Glamorgan Hall, will be the cream of the food crop from Wales.
The Food Hall will offer the best of Welsh produce, and there will be a Christmas Farmers’ Market offering stalls with food and drink to take home, and a warming mulled wine.
Single day tickets
Advanced – Pre Show
Children (5-16 yrs)
Children 4 years and under
Two day tickets
Advanced – Pre Show
Christmas Market November 12 to December 23 – see my separate blog on this, with a full list of stalls, here.
Winter Wonderland November 12 to January 3. Revellers looking for a taste of the festive season after their skating at the site outside City Hall and the National Museum of Wales can visit the new Bierkeller Bar to sample a gluhwein or beer. The catering area’s chalet units will serve treats including German sausages cooked on a traditional swing grill and freshly made crepes.
Until 21st December:
Monday to Friday: 11am – 10pm
Saturdays: 9:45 am – 10pm
Sundays: 9:45 am – 8:45pm
From 21st December
Monday to Sunday: 9:45 am – 10pm
Christmas Eve: 9:45am – 8:45pm
Christmas Day: Closed
Boxing Day: 11am – 6:15pm
New Year’s Eve: 9:45am – 12:30am
For ticket prices for the attractions including skating click here.
Caerphilly Christmas Fair December 12 and 13 in the town centre and castle. More than 100 traders will descend on the town, along with activities and entertainment for the family. Enter the castle to discover a medieval castle dressed for the occasion, where you can enjoy entertainment as well as the chance to see Father Christmas and his sleigh. On the Saturday, there will be a real life reindeer.
Refreshments will be available, including a tea room, a hog roast, mulled wine and minced pies.
The castle is open between 9.30am and 5pm
Castle Entry Prices
Adult – £5.50
Family – £16.50*
Senior citizens, students and children under 16 – £4.10
Member – Free
Disabled and companion – Free
*Admits 2 adults and all children under 16
All children under 5 receive free entry.
HAY ON WYE
Hay Festive Market November 14. There will be stalls at the Butter Market selling Christmas gifts alongside the best local vegetables, game, preserves and chutneys, and breads.
Llandudno Christmas Fayre November 19 to November 22 in Madoc Street and Trinity Square.
This market has 140 food and craft stalls including continental foods and cooking demonstrations using local produce every day. Last year, it attracted 30,000 visitors in four days. Great Orme Brewery of Llandudno will be hosting a bar serving 10 local beers on draft.
Exhibitors will include:
Edwards of Conwy
Blas Ar Fwyd
Pant Du Vineyard
Kat’s Candy Carts of Conwy
Wild Horse Brewing Company
Goetre Farm Preserves
Snowdonia Cheese Company
Foel Farm Anglesey farmhouse chocs
Llanerchaeron Christmas Fair December 6 and 7, 11am to 4pm. There will be more than 70 local food and craft stalls. The John Nash villa at Ciliau Aeron will be decorated for Christmas, there will be a visit from Father Christmas and a treasure hunt for the children.
Christmas Markets November 25 to December 22. Oxford Street. Market Opening Times – Monday to Saturday – 9.30am to 5.30pm; Sunday – 10.00am to 5.00pm. Stalls offering arts, crafts, handmade gifts, fine foods, speciality products, unique Christmas decorations and festive essentials .Foodies can soak up the atmosphere while sipping a glass of mulled wine and keep warm and well fed with a hearty hog roast, crepes and hot turkey rolls. Entertainment will be scheduled throughout the duration of the market.
Waterfront Winterland – November 13 to January 3. Museum Park, in the grounds of the National Waterfront Museum, is transformed for the 10th year into Waterfront Winterland. Enjoy ice skating on the Admiral ice rink and children’s rink; visit Santa’s Grotto, experience the festive family funfair, taste delicious food from the Alpine dining cabins and returning for 2015, the Big Wheel.
Saturday and Sunday: 10.00am – 10.00pm
Monday to Friday: (until 18 Dec) 12 noon – 10.00pm
Monday to Friday: (from 21 Dec – 3 Jan) 10.00am – 10.00pm
Christmas Eve: 10.00am – 7.00pm
Christmas Day: CLOSED
Boxing Day: 12 noon – 7.00pm
New Year’s Eve: 10.00am – 10.00pm
New Year’s Day: 12 noon – 7.00pm
*On all days – the last skate is 1 hour prior to the advertised closing time
Carew Castle Christmas Fayre December 7. There will be stalls including local produce, jewellery, textiles, confectionery, knitware, memorabilia, and local artwork. There will also be face painting and a chance to meet Santa in his grotto. Normal entry fee will include a mince pie.
Wrexham Victorian Christmas Market, December 10, noon to 8pm. There will be 80 stalls selling a selection of festive treats and gifts, at St Giles’ Parish Church and Church Street. There will be crafts, clothing, accessories, jewellery, unique gifts and stocking fillers alongside delicious hot food and drinks, including tasty mulled wine and hot smoked sausages. The event is free.