Abergavenny Food Festival is a feast for visitors

 

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Cyrus Todiwala PICTURE: Huw John Photography

 

From top chefs and food writers to TV presenters and a former star of the Great British Bake Off – this year’s Abergavenny Food Festival will be a feast for its tens of thousands of visitors.

Last year’s event attracted 30,000 people, and this year’s festival will run from Friday night (September 16) to Sunday.

This year’s line-up has a taste of cooking from India, Italy, France, Spain, Malaysia, Poland, Japan, Korea, and the UK.

MasterChef: The Professionals presenter and former Le Gavroche senior sous chef Monica Galetti talks about her new book, The Skills, and stages a masterclass at the Borough Theatre on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Abergavenny Food Festival favourite Cyrus Todiwala will be at the Borough Theatre showing visitors how to get 120 dishes out of 10 spices with recipes from his new book, Mr Todiwala’s Spice Box. The chef, restaurateur, and author has been called the UK’s best Indian chef.

Acclaimed chef and restaurateur Jose Pizzaro will share culinary secrets from his new book, Basque, during a session at the Borough Theatre on Saturday.

Founder of the Riverford Field Kitchen, Jane Baxter, will give a taste of her new book, Leon Happy Salads, at the Masonic Hall on Sunday.

 

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Tim McDougall

 

What To Eat Now star Valentine Warner returns to the festival with new fish recipes at the Priory Centre on Sunday, and Llansantffraed Court chef Tim McDougall will be demonstrating recipes with Usk Valley beef, Monmouthshire lamb, and Bristol Channel sea bass at the Priory Centre on Sunday.

If you’ve been diagnosed as a coeliac, Naomi Devlin will be holding a masterclass at the Priory Centre on Saturday called River Cottage Gluten Free. She will be preparing some of the 120 recipes in her book – which don’t compromise on taste.

Miss Foodwise blog editor Regina Ysewijn will prepare 17th Century puddings from her book, Pride and Pudding, at the Masonic Hall on Saturday.

You could learn Japanese cooking with food writer and chef Kimiko Barber at the Borough Theatre on Saturday.

 

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Sam Evans and Shauna Guinn

 

Or you could pick up expert barbecue tips from the dynamic funders of the Hang Fire Smokehouse at the Priory Centre on Saturday. Sam Evans and Shauna Guinn will also be sharing tales of their cooking misadventure from their book, Recipes and Adventures in American BBQ.

 

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Richard Burr

 

Builder-turned-baker Richard Burr, a finalist in last year’s Great British Bake Off, will tell you how to be a star baker during a session at the Masonic Hall on Saturday. He will demonstrate recipes from his first cookbook, Bake It Yourself.

Norman Musa will demonstrate recipes from his book Amazing Malaysian at the Priory Centre on Saturday, Marie Cheong-Thong and Jon Old will be talking about sake and wasabi at the Masonic Hall on Saturday, and Eleonara Galasso will talk about modern Roman cuisine at the Priory Centre on Saturday.

Vegetarians will find a feast of ideas from Alice Hart when she talks about her new book The Modern Vegetarian at the Masonic Hall on Saturday.

Also on the bill: pop-up restaurateurs Terry and George; food writer William Sitwell; writer and recipe developer Eleanor Ford; Zuza Zak; Brad McDonald; Martha Collison.

The festival features a packed programme of forages and tours, tutored tastings, and sessions at the Artisan Kitchen School.

See the full list of exhibitors here.

Find out more about the festival here.

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Show some love with a lasting gift for your foodie this Valentine’s Day

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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

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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: info@whitecastlevineyard.com. See more details here.

For the chocolate lover

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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

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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 

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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

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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

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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 is a journalist, copywriter, and professional blogger www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk