Foodies bring festive spirit to Abergavenny

Stalls at the Market Hall, Abergavenny

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.

Cheese board at the Market Hall

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

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.”



WATCH: Cocktail recipes perfect for the party season


It’s the party season, so here are a few recipes for cocktails to impress your friends and family this Christmas.

A classic Old Fashioned:

A Vesper Martini good enough for James Bond:

A Sicilian Etna Spritz:

A Moscow Mule with kick:

A champagne cocktail with cognac:






WATCH: Try out these recipes for Christmas bakes

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – so here are some of our favourite festive video bakes to inspire your yuletide table.

Make your own Christmas cottage cake:

Spice up your festive season with cinnamon rolls:

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a yule log:

Here’s a recipe for Christmas cup cakes:

And why not try out some Slovakian Christmas gingerbread?:

Have a merry veggie Christmas with these recipes

Vegan Christmas pie

Here are some mouth-watering Christmas recipes for veggies or the veggie in your life.

Try out this recipe for a vegan Christmas pie from The Vegetarian Society – this should fit in with the other Christmas trimmings and feed between six and eight people.

Watch the video recipe here:

Try serving it with roasted garlic lemon broccoli from allrecipes UK – watch the video recipe here:


The Vegetarian Society also has a recipe for a Christmas sauce which is also gluten-free.

Try out the society’s Christmas pudding trifles as a sweet treat.

The society has a Christmas toffee pudding recipe too.

And this exotic Christmas pud serves eight.

Exotic Christmas pud


Nine ways to make your Christmas a Welsh feast


This Christmas, why not support Welsh food producers? Here are nine ways you can make your festive essentials Welsh.


Graig Farm in Mochdre produces organic Christmas turkeys from £47.80.

The farm in Montgomeryshire has been in the same family since the 1940s. Jonathan Rees, the proprietor of Graig Farm Organics, has lived there all of his life.   His parents still play an active role, and his wife Sally and three young sons, Maldwyn, Max and Archie, are also involved.

In 1999 the family achieved their ambition to farm organically.   They take watch their lambs and cattle graze on lush pastures full of grasses, clovers and herbs, and the pigs forage in the woods.

In 2002, a purpose built cutting plant was erected on the farm and the family began supplying some of the best restaurants in the country.  The Dorchester in London was one of their first major clients.


What better than a potato called Rudolph for your Christmas dinner?

Puffin Produce Ltd, which is majority owned by a group of farmers in Pembrokeshire, is supplied by a farmers in Pembrokeshire and the Wye Valley, grow the red-skinned variety alongside Maris Peer Pembrokeshire Earlies and Estima Bakers. They created the Blas y Tir brand which can now be found in major supermarkets across Wales.

See a list of the growers here

Mince pies

The Welsh Hills Bakery in Hirwaun makes gluten-free cakes and pies – perfect for any festive visitor.

The firm charges £2.53 for a box of four luxury mince pies.

Welsh Hills Bakery, an established bakery for nearly 60 years, started making gluten free cakes and short crust pastry pies in 2001 and was the first to supply two of the UK major supermarket chains with their own brand of gluten free products.

In 2008, they launched their own brand of gluten-free products named Lovemore Free From Foods which now includes a range of shortbreads and cookies, along with traditional apple pies and cherry Bakewells, fruit slab cakes and iced cakes along with mince pies.

All Lovemore products are approved by the Coeliac Society.


Christmas pudding

You could try a Christmas pudding from the Siwgr a Sbeis Bakery in Llanrwst, for between £4 and £12.

The bakery has been a resounding success since it was started in 1989 by two school friends, Rhian Williams and Rhian Owen. It produces an extensive range of cakes (Victoria sponge, coffee cake, carrot cake), muffins, scones, mince pies, flapjacks, fruit cake and Christmas pudding as well as savoury quiches and salads.

Not a fan of Christmas pud? The bakery also makes a speciality called Quiche Eryri, the principal ingredient of which is Snowdonia Cheese and Toffoc Crunch (vodka liqueur). The recipe uses the Welsh vodka liqueur with a crumb base to create a cheesecake-style dessert.

Brussels sprouts

Try out the sprouts from Whitebrook Organic Growers, based at Llanvaches near Newport, Gwent.

They say there are no pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides used on their produce and all plant and chicken feed used is organic and GM free.

Catch them at Usk Farmers’ Market on December 5 and December 19.


Sample some of the wines from White Castle Vineyard, Abergavenny, for your table this festive season.

Their 2014 Rondo, a rich, full-bodied red, is £19.50 a bottle, and their sparkling rose is £23 a bottle.

The vineyard’s Gwin gwyn 2014, a dry delicate white wine made from a selected blend of Phoenix and Siegerrebe grape varieties, is £15 a bottle.


Tuck into something sweet from the Wickedly Welsh Chocolate Company which produces handmade chocolates from its base on the outskirts of Haverfordwest. The company is run by couple Mark and Karen Owen.

The “Decadent Selection” of 48 handmade chocolates costs £35.99.


Fill your platter with cheeses from Pant Mawr Farmhouse Cheeses. The business was established in 1983 when the Jennings family returned to Wales from the Middle East where they had been involved in setting up some of the first commercial dairy enterprises in Libya and North Yemen.

The family business is run by David, Cynthia and Jason Jennings at their small traditional hill farm in the foothills of the Preseli Mountains at Rosebush, Pembrokeshire.

All their cheese is suitable for vegetarians as they use vegetarian rennet.

Their gold Christmas hamper is £38.25 and includes 1.6kg of all seven of their cheeses, guest cheese Welsh Perl Las, a jar of chutney, mustard, Welsh cakes butter, and shortbread.


Condessa based at Holyhead, Anglesey, has been making the Welsh liqueurs for over 40 years. The firm’s range includes fruit to cream liqueurs, cocktail recipes and liqueur gift boxes.

Its Original Welsh Cream is £14.65 for 50cl, while its Welsh sloe gin is £15.46 per 50cl bottle.



Tickets go on sale for Abergavenny’s Christmas Food and Drink Fair

Festive stall holders at last year’s fair

Tickets are now on sale for Abergavenny’s Christmas Food and Drink Fair.

Organisers say the Christmas event, on Sunday December 13, promises a fantastic day out for the whole family filled with plenty of opportunities to eat, drink and be merry.

The one-day event offers crafty card and chocolate making workshops for the perfect home-made Christmas to delicious goodies from more than 80 stallholders and free chef demonstrations to make Christmas dinner extra special.

Three venues will transform into a winter wonderland, with a host of seasonal delights, unique gifts and even the chance to pick up a signed book from your loved ones’ favourite chef.

For those wanting to get started early, acclaimed mixologist Dom Jacobs will be kicking off the festive fun on Saturday December 12 with his show-stopping cocktail masterclass and top tips, all taken from his exclusive Mayfair cocktail menu.

Alongside all of this, there’s also a chance for the whole family to get involved with the Christmas Musical Feast and Festive Light Parade as guests are invited to make their own lanterns and follow the Abergavenny Town Band to the church for a concert and food-themed evening service which promises to be a magical ending to the day.

Heather Myers, Chief Executive of the festival said: “After the resounding success of the Festival in September, we can’t wait to open the doors to Abergavenny once again and invite everyone back to celebrate Christmas with us.”


Adult – £5 (children under 16 go free, but they must have a wristband too)

Dominic Jacob’s Christmas Mixology – £10

For the full festive line-up and to get your tickets, visit

christmas header



Apple County Cider Co

Brecon Brewing

Gwatkin Cider Company Ltd

Gwynt y Ddraig Cider

The Jacobi Brewery of Caio

Untapped Brewing Company


Alex Gooch Artisan Baker

Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits

Felin Talgarth Mill

Hardwick Hampers

Hedonist Bakery


The Chocolate Brownie Company

Dimkin’s patisserie

Ffi’s Patisserie

Freckles Homebaking

Love at First Bake Ltd

Love Patisserie

The Pudding Shop


The Blaenafon Cheddar Co Ltd

Caws Cenarth Cheese

FLAVOURS of Monmouth

La Cave a Fromage


Barry Colenso Chocolates Ltd

Black Mountain Gold Chocolate

Cocoa Magic

The Raw Chocolate Pie Company

Sciolti Botanical Chocolates

Sue Gilmour Ltd


Charcutier Ltd

Trealy Farm Charcuterie

Welsh Venison Centre

Glam Lamb

Natural Game / Seasons

Bakewell Ducks


Black Mountains Smokery

cnwd ltd

Devon Fishcakes

The Mighty Soft Shell Crab


Forage Fine Foods

Green Saffron

The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company

Petals of the Valley Ltd

Womersley Fruit & Herb Vinegars Ltd


Claire’s Kitchen

The Garlic Farm

The Patchwork Traditional Food Company

Peperoncino Ltd

The Preservation Society



Hilltop Honey

Miranda’s Preserves

New Quay Honey Farm


British Cassis

Hay Wines Limited

Tipsy Fruit Gins Ltd

Warner Edwards Distillery

Emilia Ltd

Hollow Ash Orchard

Pixley Berries

Ragmans Lane Farm

Welsh Farmhouse Apple Juice

Yarty Cordials Ltd

CC’s Coffee Bar

Chantler Teas

Welsh Coffee Company


Arganic Ltd

Cotswold Gold Ltd

The Olive Press

Olives & Things


Gluten Free Uprising Ltd

Legges of Bromyard

Roberts Country Fayre

Snowdrop Cottage Fine Foods



Welsh Creperie Co (Franco Welsh Ltd)

The Willows Garden Centre

The Old Board Co

Franchi Seeds of Italy Ltd

Samosaco (Sim’s Foods Ltd)

The Ludlow Nut Co Ltd

Wil’s Smokehouse


The Parsnipship

Chef demonstrations:


Vicky Jones and Nick Saltmarsh: Bean Magic 11am – 11:45am

Vicky Jones, author of Out of the Pod, and Nick Saltmarsh of Hodmedods prepare a selection of healthy yet delicious snacks to nibble with festive drinks.

Jim Hamilton: Not a Partridge in a Pear Tree noon – 12:45pm

Abergavenny’s Kings Arms Hotel chef, Jim Hamilton will show you how to prepare a quick alternative to the traditional turkey roast.

Angela Gray: Festive French Sweet Treats 1pm – 1.45pm

Angela Gray of the Angela Gray Cookery School at Llanarch Vineyard will demonstrate some French goodies such as Buche de Noel, 12th Night Tart and Golden Pears with praline stuffing, picked up during her time in Paris.

Liz Knight and Rufus Carter: The Canapes Crusaders 2pm -2.45pm

Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods and Rufus Carter of Patchwork are coming to Abergavenny to put the record straight on canapes being just booze soaker-upper’s.

Jules James: Black Mountain Gold! Chocolate that is… 3pm – 3.45pm

Maitre Chocolatier, Jules James from Black Mountain Gold chocolate in Crickhowell will demonstrate extra special chocolatier skills from how to temper chocolate to making chocolate bars to impress friends over the festive season.