Abergavenny Food Festival is a feast for visitors


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.”



Tutored tastings, produce, and demonstrations at Monmouthshire Food Festival

Gin distillers Warner Edwards

There is set to be a feast for foodies at this weekend’s Monmouthshire Food Festival in Caldicot Castle.

The event will feature food and drink producers, chef demonstrations, a children’s quarter, and recipes cooked up by chefs from the Royal Navy.

Artisan baker Bill King

The festival’s Look and Learn section will feature demonstrations and tutored tastings from artisan baker Bill King, Black Mountain Gold chocolates, Brecon Brewing, Gwatkin Cider, Morgan’s Brew Tea, Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen, Varsity Coffee, and Warner Edwards, craft distillers of gin.

The festival entry fee is £5, children under 12 go free. The event is held between 10am and 4.30pm on October 10 and 11.


Clive Williams, Head Chef at the Parkway Hotel and Spa

Clive has a passion for local produce, and has held positions in many top restaurants and hotels in the area before moving to the Parkway Hotel as Head Chef in 2012.

Michael Hendry, Head Chef at Llansantffraed Court Hotel

Since starting as Head Chef in 2013, Michael has transformed the hotel’s dining room and celebration menus.

Kyle Wilson, Head Chef of Sawyers Bar and Grill

Kyle began his career as a pot washer at the Fwrrwm Ishta restaurant. He is now head chef at Sawyers bar and Grill in Magor.

Adrian Walker Master Butcher from Golden Valley

Under Adrian’s management, Golden Valley Meat and Game has been supplying the highest quality meat, poultry and game to the retail and catering industry for nearly 25 years.

Julie Carey, Head Chef Glen yr Afon House Hotel

Julie has been a chef for twenty seven years, originally training at Nash College in Newport.

Cai England, Head Chef Piercefield St Arvans

Cai began his culinary career as a pot washer aged 12. Through hard work and determination he has worked his way up the position of Head Chef.

Matthew Long, Head Chef Raglan Arms, Llandenny

Matt heads up a small team, dedicated to producing exceptionally good food, with a focus to provide perfectly cooked, beautifully presented food using local ingredients.

Ross Cooper Senior Sous Chef, St. Pierre Marriott Hotel

Ross was inspired by his late grandmother’s amazing pasties. These days, Ross is Senior Sous Chef at St. Pierre Marriott Hotel and Country Club.

Aidan Fisher, Head Chef at the New Inn, Chepstow

Aidan trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu in London before working in a variety of excellent dining establishments including the 3 rosette Terry M restaurant for four years.


A Lot of Waffle
American style waffles

Baked on Green Street
Artisan baker specialising in bread, doughnuts and savoury breads.

Black Mountain Gold
Luxury chocolate

Brecon Brewing
A range of draught and bottled beers and breweriana

Carn Edward
Longhorn beef and pedigree Lleyn lamb and mutton

Castles Brewery
Real ale

Chocolate brownies of distinction.

Dimkin’s Patisserie
French macaroons, savoury snacks and pastries

Field Bar Wine
Homemade fruit and flower wines

Good and Proper Brownies
Baked chocolate goods and gluten and sugar bakes

Gwatkin Cider
Award winning cider and perry

Hedonist Bakery
Artisan bread part baked to finish at home.

Marmahs Cheeses
Organic and handmade artisan Welsh cheeses.

Meera’s Kitchen
Indian samosas, bhajis, spring rolls and pekoras

Mini Jar Company
Specialised artisan preserves.

Morgans Brew Tea
Forty four varieties of loose leaf teas

Natures Pantry
Natural seed and nut butters, honey and honey mixes.

Old Granary Pierogi
Polish style baked handmade pierogi with gourmet meat and vegetable fillings.

Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen
Frozen curry sauces

Stainswick farm Oil
Cold pressed rape seed oil

The Artisan & Farmhouse Cheese Company
West Country Farmhouse cheddar cheese

The Parsons Nose
Homemade speciality sausages and Dexter burgers.

Three Counties Liqueurs
Handmade frit liqueurs and fruit preserves.

Ty Gwyn Cider
Craft cider

Tyrrell’s Family Food
Meat pies, faggots, pork pies and Scotch eggs.

Veggie Deli
Vegetarian and vegan Glamorgan sausages, pastries, savoury scones.

Warner Edwards Distillery
Dry gin, Elderflower infused gin, Sloe Gin and Victoria’s rhubarb gin