Fred Bray wins SweetieFest Sweetie Hero Award

Sheila Woodhouse, Mayor of Abergavenny presented the inaugural Abergavenny SweetieFest Sweetie Hero Award 2013 to Fred Bray at our Christmas Fair on Sun 8 Dec.

The Mayor presents SweetieFest Sweetie Hero Award to John Bray low res

Here’s the text that was used for the presentation: 

Abergavenny SweetieFest Sweetie Hero Award 2013

If we consider our British sweeties as not just a simple piece of confection, and if we look at them more closely, we find that they hold many stories.

Sweets of boiled sugar, transformed into candies or toffees, have been made all over the UK for hundreds of years. These humble sweets, particularly in poor areas, provided mothers with an income to feed their children as well as a means of local pride (think of the many sweets belonging to specific place names, such as Everton Toffee, Jesmond Bullets, Edinburgh Rock and also Wales’ Lossin Dant mints). Our sweets symbolise the ingenuity, hard work and quirky imagination of those who invent and make them; all these are qualities are quintessentially British, too which is why we make sweets like nowhere else in the world. Think of the Curly Wurly, made with complex equipment by engineers trained in the car trade of the Midlands, or the complex pressing jigs invented by Swizzels Matlow to print words of compressed candies.

There was no award specifically honouring our wonderful confectionery industry…but there is now.

SweetieFest founder Adele Nozedar with SweetieFest Hero Award-winner John Braylow res

SweetieFest founder Adele Nozedar and Fred Bray

The first recipient of the Abergavenny SweetieFest Sweetie Hero award, which in future will be open to all of Great Britain, is Wales’ own Fred Bray. This Merthyr boy is the living epitome of ingenuity, resourcefulness, hard work and the wicked sense of humour characteristic of us Brits, as well as the grittiness and passion associated with this part of Wales. The Bray Confectionery dynasty, still going strong today, started prior to the 1880s in South Wales. In 1896 one of Fred’s ancestors gave John Mackintosh the recipe for the Special Toffee that made that particular company famous; in his own lifetime Fred has made Colliers Lumps specially for miners, (to ease their throats down the mines), has supplied the House of Lords with Welsh Lossin Dant Mints, another Bray trademark, and even made fruit out of molten sugar for Rolf Harris. Fred was a regular favourite with visitors to St Fagins, where he made toffee ‘live’ every weekend.

The award itself is based on a rare regional delicacy from Nottingham. The Sugar Chook, a sort of lollipop made in the shape of a proud rooster, looks like an expensive piece of Murano glass; so we went one further and modelled the trophy, in Murano glass style, in honour of the sweet. It was made by Herefordshire-based Laney Mead.

The Bray Family

The Bray Family

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Christmas Fair stroller ticket lucky dip – lots of prizes to be won!

Once you’ve got your stroller ticket (wristband) then do head down to The Priory Centre to see if your wristband number is up on the board. If it is then you get a go in our Lucky Dip. Inside the envelopes are vouchers that you can take to the relevant exhibitor / shop to redeem your prize. Top prize is a day’s cookery course (worth £100) with Penny Lewis of Culinary Cottage

Here is a selection of just some of the goodies donated by exhibitors and the Festival: 

Abergavenny Food Festival: aprons
Abergavenny Food Festival:  bags
Barry Colenso Master Chocolatier Ltd: bag of truffles
Blaengawney Farm: Christmas gift pack of cider
Ccs Coffee Bar: large hot drinks
Chantler Teas: 50g bag of tea
Chestnut Meats: 2 Packs of home cured bacon
Chestnut Meats: pack of diced goat meat
Chocolate House: bar of Chocolate
Claire’s Kitchen: preserve of your choice
Coity Bach Produce: pack of chilli sausages
Cotswold Gold: bottle of raspberry drizzle
Deb Perelman’s Cook Book
Devon Fishcakes: mini gourmet tray of fishcakes
Glam Lamb: cooked luxury glam lamb burgers
Hardwick Hampers: pack of cheese sable Biscuits
Hay Wines: bottle of Rubis chocolate wine
Homes of Elegance: tbc
Hollow Ash Orchard: hot mulled apple Juice
La Cave a Fromage: selection of cheeses
Miranda’s Preserves: large jar of preserve
Miserable Cow Coffee Bar: hot chocolate – the works & bag of organic coffee
Patchwork Foods: paté
Raw Chocolate Pie: pack of 3 raw chocolate pies
Sugarloaf Catering: jars of red onion marmalade, chilli jam and apple sauce
Sue Gilmore’s Wonderful World of Chocolate: Christmas gift pack
The Anglesey Sea Salt Company: mini gift box (with 4 types of salt)
The Blaenafon Cheddar Company: mini gift pack of cheese
The Culinary Cottage: voucher for a cookery course
The Ludlow Nut Co: pack of granola
The Olive Press: fig cake
The Parsnipship: Welsh haloumi Moroccan nut roast
The Parsons Nose: £5 voucher to spend at the stall
The Preservation Society: pack of buttery & boozy mincemeat
The Pudding Shop: sticky toffee pudding
Tipsy Fruit Gins Ltd: 100ml bottle of Seville Orange gin liqueur
Trealy Farm Charcuterie: large platter of Charcuterie
Usk River: jar of chutney

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Abergavenny Chronicle – murder mystery fund-raiser for HRH Prince of Wales’ Countryside Fund

Chron HeaderLiz Davies, Editor of the Abergavenny Chronicle and  Mary Purcell, General Manager invite you to join them for a very special fund-raising evening.

On Friday, December 13, HRH The Prince of Wales will be visiting The Abergavenny Chronicle. During his visit the Chronicle’s proprietor, Sir Ray Tindle will be announcing a year of fundraising support for The Prince’s Countryside Fund which will be undertaken by all the newspapers in the Welsh group.

This fundraising drive will be launched on Saturday, December 14 with a specially commissioned murder mystery evening, based around The Abergavenny Chronicle, which will take place in a luxury marquee installed for the Prince’s visit in the Chronicle’s ‘secret garden’.

You are cordially invited to join the staff of the Chronicle at the event which begins at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £15 and include a fish and chip supper and a glass of bubbly on arrival. All money raised will be donated directly to The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund gives grants to projects that help support the people who care for the countryside. It is supported by a unique collaboration of businesses working together to secure a sustainable future for British agriculture and the wider rural economy.

The fund provide grants of up to £50,000 to projects that are tackling one of five key issues. These grants aim to improve service provision in rural areas, support rural enterprise, support farming businesses, and provide training opportunities for young people and educating people about the value of the countryside.

The majority of the PCF funding is from its supporting companies.Where The Prince’s Countryside Fund logo is displayed you know that a company has lent its support. So far its have donated £3.3 million in grants, supported over 70 projects across the UK and helped more than 52,000 people since 2010.

Tickets are available from the Chronicle office on 01873 852187.We look forward to seeing you there as we attempt to solve this puzzling murder mystery.

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Winners announced: Abergavenny Food Festival / Shackleton Photographic Competition

Shackleton snip logoAt the September Food Festival amateur photographers were invited to capture the visual feast and enter the Abergavenny Food Festival/Shackleton Photographic Competition.

There were numerous entries from local people and visitors to the area. The shortlisted entries in both the adult and junior categories have been on display at Shackletons Photographic in Abergavenny for the last month. The winners have been selected by the public who were asked to vote for their favourite image.

It can now be revealed that Beth Carver from Abergavenny has won first prize with a photo taken in the Market Hall of Artisan Spanish Cheese Tasting. She wins a Canon EOS 1100D Camera with one 18-55 lens, plus a Sigma 70-300mm lens, a Canon 300EG camera bag, and a Panasonic 8GB SDHC Memory Card.

Adult Category Winner Beth Carver  'Artisan Spanish Cheese Tasting'2

Beth Carver – winning photo: Artisan Spanish Cheese Tasting

Adult Category Runner-up Katie Ebdon - 'Relaxing, Knitting'2

Katie Ebdon – Runner-up – Relaxing and Knitting

Katie Ebdon from Clytha, Abergavenny is the runner-up with her image of a lady relaxing and knitting amidst the crowds. She will receive a 20” x 16” framed poster print of a photographic image of choice.

The under-sixteen category came up trumps too. Charlie Palmer (aged twelve) from Abergavenny won with his photo of a wood-turner and his prize will be a Camlink tp-2500 tripod with case and a framed 20”x16” print; and runner up Will Reypert (age five) from Penarth, Cardiff will get a framed print too for his photo of garlic and onion sellers.

The prizes will be awarded by Shackleton Photographic owner Mr Ian Shackleton at the Abergavenny Christmas Food and Drink Fair this Sunday (8 December) on the chef dem stage in the Market Hall at 4.30pm. Congratulations to all winners.

Charlie Palmer - Under 16 winner:  Wood-turning

Charlie Palmer – Under 16 winner: Wood-turning

William Reypert - Under 16 runner-up: Garlic / Onion Sellers

William Reypert – Under 16 runner-up: Garlic / Onion Sellers

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Rebecca’s Candy Mountain and Ffolky Ffelt at SweetieFest

Here are details on two more SweetieFest contributors – all part of our Christmas Food and Drink Fair this coming Sunday (8 December)

Rebecca BuckREBECCA’S CANDY MOUNTAIN

New Yorker Rebecca Buck has chisselled, gouged and carved her way all over the globe as a sculptor of rare talent. She’s even enjoyed a spell as an artist in residence in Kuala Lumpur.  But now SweetieFest has asked her to go where no sculptor has gone before; we’ve asked her to work with children AND animals at the same time and in a medium not often used in the art.

Rebecca’s Candy Mountain offers a rare opportunity to sculpt bunnies, mice, badgers, horses and (Rebecca’s favourite) dinosaurs from the vastest quantity of sugar fondant that’s ever been gathered together in one place.’Sugar is much trickier than granite or carrara marble’ says Rebecca ‘…but has the advantage of being much tastier’.

Make something weird, wonderful or both to take home! £3 each or £2.50 for 2.

Emma Bevan of Ffolky Ffelt2

FFOLKY FFELT

Emma Bevan says: I spent a few years tramping around my Welsh hills and valleys with my dog & camera, selling cards and prints part-time in between my tutoring. Then, having always been a busy bee, I was forced to sit and rest whilst I recuperated from chemo after a sudden & shocking diagnosis of NHL. Determined to kick its ass, but unable to concentrate on my other loves of reading/writing, a bonkers & wonderful Swedish friend suggested I stave off boredom by trying needle felting. I fell in love!!  I then tried wet felting, and loved that too! I gave little gifts to friends until a friend with a craft shop told me off & insisted I sell to the public. Scary!

Ffolky Felt sweetie bag

But I decided that surviving cancer meant I was meant to do things in life that were enjoyable, so I nervously launched FfolkyFfelt…  andto my surprised delight, it has blossomed – so a HUGE thank you to all my supporters, near & far. I have found my niche, and absolutely love teaching feltmaking or designing new creations or receiving excited orders from customers old & new. I have also met some amazing new friends, which I am very grateful for!
Emma will be selling various felt products at the Christmas Fair including gift pouches which are ideal for sweeties or other small gifts.
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SweetieFest gets couture magic

Charles and Patricia Lester have established an international reputation for their textile and couture fashion. Their collections of evening dresses and gowns are created one at a time in their studios in Abergavenny.

The run-up to Christmas is a particularly busy period for them, but over the last week  their team have also been hard  at work bringing their fabulous aesthetic to the world of confectionery! As a result, SweetieFest at the Abergavenny Christmas Food and Drink Fair this Sunday (8 December) will sprinkled with a little couture magic.

Debbie hard at work

Debbie at the sewing machine

Patricia says, “For the main SweetieFest room we are making large sweets. Charles’ research into Quality Street sweets worked well!  These will be created out of all sorts of fabrics, silk, the ‘silver and gold’ toffee paper kind of cloth and anything that is bright and sweetie looking. We are using polystyrene for the insides to make them really light-weight. We’re  also looking to turn walking sticks into spiral cane sweets”

In addition there will be two fabulous mannequins to help direct people to the SweetieFest room. One outfit will be in gold  and one in silver – just  like toffee paper.These are costumes we designed for an opera in London. The silver sweetie lady is going to have her outfit scattered with sweets. Fabric for this is in silver and lined with a silk organza. The second toffee paper lady (gold – lined with silk organza) will have a train on the dress flowing down the stairs..”

sweetie-lady-back2cropped“We’ve also got a stall at the Fair. We’ll be focusing on pictures (photographs printed on mostly deep canvas stretchers) with a food element: apple blossom, sunflower, lobster pot, barley, brandy barrels, brandy bottles, globe artichokes etc. In addition there will be herb bags made out of our silks and filled with our organically grown lavender, necklaces and other gift-type things from our collection. We will be providing written material to introduce people to the studios and the new gallery that we have opened. More details can be seen on my blog –  http://www.guilt-edged.com/.”

Find out more about Charles and Patricia Lester on their website: www.charles-patricia-lester.co.uk They have also adapted their skills for the luxury interior decorator market. More recently they have extended their horizons, working for films and the worlds of opera and television costume design. Their unique work as a couture fashion design team is admired and collected by Royalty and icons of the film and music world.

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Three of our SweetieFest exhibitors

SweetieFest founder, Adele Nozedar gives some background on some of the companies who’ll be with us at our Christmas Fair on Sunday 8 December.

brays 2

BRAYS OF NEWPORT : A long-established confectionery company in South Wales, the Bray family are something of a grand dynasty in the world of sweeties, the Confectionery Royalty of the Valleys, if you will. And back in 1896 it was a member of this illustrious family that sold the recipe to John Mackintosh for a very special kind of toffee.. Yes, THAT toffee.. and how great to know it originated in Wales! For Mackintosh, the rest is history. Today, Brays make a remarkable range of sweeties which export all over the world, including their famous Lossin Dant mints… with the Bray family still at the helm. Perhaps the oddest fact about this amazing company is that they are the world’s largest supplier of fart-flavoured sweets to the former Soviet union. Try them at Sweetiefest.

Capture candy

CANDYCO OF TROONHave you ever had the chance to taste Tablet, Soor Plooms or Tatties? At  Sweetiefest you’ll get the opportunity, because Candyco of Troon are coming all the way from the beautiful west coast of Scotland to introduce us to mind-blowingly delicious Scottish delicacies, many of which are rarely spotted south of the Border. It’s fair to say that if there was a sweetie ‘empire’ of the UK then Scotland would be it. Chris, who founded the company, learned to makes sweeties when he was just a wee nipper, taught in arts of sall things sugary and sweet by his granny. His small factory in Troon is charming, many of the sweets made by hand using equipment that’s over 100 years old. How about that for vintage!

Capture riley

ELLA RILEY’SOnce upon a time, Rileys Chocolate Toffee Rolls was one of the most famous sweeties in all the land. And the secret formula for the amazingly delicious sweets was written down on a piece of paper by Ella Riley, the paper enclosed in a book of recipes. Various take-overs meant that the illustrious Riley name eventually ended up belonging to the gigantic multinational, Kraft. In the meantime, Ella’s old recipe book was handed down to her granddaughter, Freya, who tried the recipe and found that she was very good indeed at making toffees: family and friends couldn’t get enough of the stuff and Freya and her hubby Steve started making and selling them commercially. But what a shame that Freya’s precious family name was owned by a huge corporation. Was it possible for the young couple to wrest that name back from the giants? Yes! Find out how they did it, with patience and perseverance, and discover just what a success story they have made of that recipe by trying the end result! As well as selling sweeties, Freya and Steve will be making toffee LIVE in the Corn Exchange.
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