The organisers have likened it to the Cannes festival of the food world, and once again food lovers will be spoilt for choice at the Abergavenny Food Festival (19/20 September)
The annual event attracts thousands of visitors who come to taste and buy an array of food and drink as well as watch top chefs in action and take part in discussions about the food industry.
For the first time there will be a dedicated Welsh fishing industry presence at the Festival with three Celtic Crab Products, Menai Oysters and the South and West Wales Fishing Communities.
Haverfordwest based Celtic Crab Products will be selling a range of fresh Welsh crab and lobster products, while Menai Oysters, based in Anglesey, will be selling mussels and oysters farmed in the Menai Strait, with champagne also on offer to accompany the oysters.
In addition the South and West Wales Fishing Communities – a fishermen’s association based in south-west Wales – will be selling a range of seasonal, locally-caught fresh Welsh fish.
There is an extremely buoyant aquaculture industry in Wales – 50% of Europe’s mussels are supplied from North Wales, and shellfish accounts for the majority of landings by Welsh fishing boats, with over 400 boats in the Welsh fleet.
However, there has historically been a lack of supply chain infrastructure something the Welsh Assembly Government is working with the industry to address.
Majority of Welsh catch is exported or sent to markets around the UK, but the industry – including those companies mentioned above – is working hard to raise the profile and supply of Welsh fish within Wales.
Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said: “With several hundred miles of pristine coastline, a wide range of fresh, high-quality seafood is landed year-round in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government is proud to have brought Welsh fish to the Abergavenny Food Festival for the first time as part of our drive to increase awareness of just how strong a product we have here in Wales, and to make that product available locally.
“The Food Festival here in Abergavenny is a “Gateway to Wales”, attracting people from around the world and showing them what Wales has to offer. The Welsh Assembly Government is pleased to support this prestigious event once again and I look forward to my visit.”
Abergavenny’s Market Hall and the Angel Hotel’s ballroom will host a variety of Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards winning produce. Monmouthshire was named True Taste Food Tourism Destination last year’s awards and the historic market hall will be the focus of this year’s True Taste Awards the climax of which will be held at the hall on November 19th.
Abergavenny Food Festival also embodies many of the principles of the Food Tourism Action Plan which was launched earlier this year by the Welsh Assembly Government and highlights the importance of food to the tourism industry and emphasises the need for high quality, local food as a means of providing an excellent visitor experience whilst in Wales.
Among the numerous cooking demonstrations and master classes will be some continental flavour courtesy of chef Christophe Langrée who will be cooking a loin of Welsh Lamb with French style.
Head chef at the Hotel Matigon – the official residence of the French Prime Minister, he will be accompanied by the Prime Minister’s wife Mme Penelope Fillon who is originally from Abergavenny.
s of the ‘Best Sausage Maker in Monmouthshire’ competition.
Children from primary schools around the county have been learning how to make sausages and finding out about sustainable food production at the True Taste Award-winning Trealy Farm near Monmouth. The competition is part of the Big Banger project sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government initiative ‘Appetite For Life in Monmouthshire’.