The highlight of our food show calendar is always Abergavenny Food Festival – such a vibrant, colourful and delicious celebration of food, with so many of our friends, can only be a genuine treat.
The weekend of the festival falls on the cusp of autumn – where it is not yet cold, but we are beginning to get that beautiful clear light, very particular to the time of year. We stayed with our friends Black Mountain Smokery, who made us as welcome as ever in their incredible Welsh longhouse. It was hard to leave in the mornings when it looked this gorgeous (above.)
We caught up with Liam and co from Nom Nom, and tasted their new Brecon Gin and Blueberry bar (it’s rather good, in case you were wondering) ….
We shared a stand with our pals at Forage, who had even more unusual sauces and condiments than usual. Our favourite, of course, was Liz’s blend of Halen Mon, elderflower and fennel, and we bought a tray or two of these and some other varieties which you can try over on our webshop.
We tried, in no particular order: very good Welsh coffee, pickled eggs (apparently they’re coming back?!), wild fig ice cream, onion bhaji scotch eggs, stonebaked pizza bianco, the perfect martini, handmade kimchi and gower cottage brownies.
Talk highlights included the charismatic Raymond Blanc, in conversation with another food hero, Sheila Dillon. We greatly enjoyed hearing a frank account of what he thought of English food when he arrived in the UK a few decades ago, as well as learning about the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which is doing hugely important work.
We also loved Yottam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully’s demonstration and chat about their flavourful restaurant Nopi. Much to our delight they made a fragrant Welsh lamb dish, and used copious amounts of Halen Mon.
Probably our favourite though, had to be the marriage of two of life’s essentials – exquisite tea and top-notch chocolate. Marc DeMarquette gave us a tutored tasting of this year’s truffles for Selfridge’s, paired with beautiful cups of tea from Tregothnan (above). We won’t forget the delicate young green tea and fragrant Jasmine caramels in particular for a long time to come.
Until next year then, Abergavenny.
Images: J Lea-Wilson