FESTIVE FOOD WRAPPED UP AT ABERGAVENNY CHRISTMAS FOOD & DRINK FAIR
Whether your taste runs to the rare and exotic, the innovative or the traditional the Abergavenny Food and Drink Fair (Sunday 14 December, 10.00am – 5.00pm), has it all in the bag. No more running from shop to shop and getting frazzled. This has to be the most convivial way to get ready to celebrate with friends and family.
ARTISAN DRINKS RUN-UP EVENT
To get you in a party mood there’s a run-up event event on the Saturday (13 December, 6.30 – 7.30pm, tickets £10.00) at Homes of Elegance (Abergavenny). Lindy Wildsmith, award-winning cook and food writer, will make festive drinks based on recipes from her new book ‘Artisan Drinks’ (£25.00 hardback/Jacqui Small Publishing). You’ll have plenty of opportunity to sample the results. How about artisan punch, an elegant liqueur, or a glamorous cocktail? And for those of you in the driving seat there’s an invigorating non-alcoholic cordial, fizz or mocktail. Lindy will be doing a book signing afterwards so you’ll be able to try her recipes for yourself or buy as a present for friends and family.
Come Sunday morning the Food & Drink Fair will showcase over eighty hand-picked speciality exhibitors so every facet of the festive season is covered: fresh and cured meats, poultry and game, cheeses and chocolates, cakes and desserts, wines and liqueurs, ales and ciders and a whole lot more.
Here’s a snapshot of what’s in store: Naturally smoked foods (Black Mountains Smokery), Indian spices, mulled wine tasters and Christmas pudding (Green Saffron), traditional cheeses (La Cave à Fromage), Welsh vintage sparkling wines (Glyndwr Vineyard), charcuterie, air dried meats and salami (Trealy Farm), hand-crafted chocolate truffles and products using real fruit and flowers (Sciolti Botanical Chocolates), gourmet fishcakes (Devon Fishcakes), French-style macarons in variety of flavours (Dimkin Ltd), loose leaf and herbal teas (Chantler Teas), all things garlic (The Garlic Farm), and Gloucester Old Spot pork: faggots, sausages and bacon (Coity Bach Produce).
There’s also a selection of catering stalls for food-to-go including: American Street Food Ltd, The Capuccino Bar and Sam’s Meat Roast. Whilst getting a bite to eat you can enjoy the swags of greenery and fruits in the Market Hall, alongside the Arts Alive ‘pigs and garlands’ decorations from the September Festival.
CHEF DEMS IN THE MARKET HALL
Alongside the markets there’s a rolling programme of seasonal demonstrations with top culinary talent. Shop, then take a rest whilst getting tasty tips. If you’re lucky there might be some food to sample too. Adele Nozedar (author and forager) and Karl Cheetham (Gliffaes Hotel) conjure up wickedly delicious festive sweets; Liz Knight (Forage Fine Foods) makes jelly from wild pine needles and aromatic mincemeat, and Iain Sampson (The Bear, Crickhowell) pairs up with Jim Hamilton (Kings Arms, Abergavenny) with twelve savoury canape/finger foods. Then it’s on to Victoria North (Vic North Cookery School) with a Christmas baking session, including one gluten free recipe; and Illtud Llyr Dunsford (Charcutier Ltd) who goes back to Victorian times drawing on heritage recipes for his real meat mince pies. The final dem of the day will be given by Arun Kapil, founder of Green Saffron Ltd. The spice specialist will turn left-over turkey into a delicate superbly aromatic dish, then magic up ‘snowman on a stick’ from left over Christmas pudding. See the full line-up at abergavennyfoodfestival.com.
SHHH….. SECRET TREATS
Children of course are at the heart of Christmas so there will be child-focused Secret Treats workshops in the Corn Exchange (accessed through Market Hall) – and word has it that adults will get a look-in too. There will be crafts and sweets to make for stocking fillers and little presents, and things to buy. Create ‘randomz peppermint creams’ and christmas cards, and delicious confections with ‘chocs away’. Follow the ‘shhh’ secret trail to get there.
STROLLER TICKETS AND PRIZE DRAW
Adult stroller tickets cost just £5.00 and give access to the Abergavenny’s beautiful Victorian Market Hall, plus Upper Brewery Yard and The Priory Centre at St Mary’s. If you’ve got children in tow (under 16), then they get in for free.
This year every stroller ticket holder will automatically be entered into a prize draw. The top prize is still to be confirmed (watch this space), but additional goodies include special Festival aprons signed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and discounts from local shops will be in the mix too.
CHRISTMAS MUSICAL FEAST FOR THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
The day will finish off with traditional music and singing. The whole community is invited to join in a musical procession starting at Market Hall with Abergavenny Town Band (4.15 to 4.45pm), finishing at Priory Church of St Mary where there will be a free Christmas concert featuring Gwent Youth Strings and School Choirs (4.45 to 5.40pm) and food-themed Evening Service (6.00 to 7.00pm).
Box office is now live. Buy stroller wristbands and event tickets at abergavennyfoodfestival.com, through the Borough Theatre (tel: 01873 850805) or on the day from the ticket point outside the Market Hall and Priory Centre.