An Angelic Weekend in Abergavenny

Looking for the perfect weekend getaway? Award winning afternoon tea, castles, great food, wonderful nature walks, a bit of apres ski fun? Don’t head to Switzerland, book into the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny for the perfect winter getaway.

Regarded as one of the most exciting hotels in the UK, in 2016 the Angel Hotel won the ‘AA Hotel of the Year Wales 2016/2017’ award. The Angel Hotel, a former coaching inn built in 1829, is located at the heart of the historic market town of Abergavenny. This smart hotel now has 34 beautifully appointed guest rooms, The Oak Room restaurant, the Foxhunter bar, and during the winter season the quirky and fun pop-up Après Ski Bar.

Angel Hotel Bedroom

Located in the heart of Abergavenny, The Angel Hotel is a great base for exploring this quaint market town which has a bustling market Tuesday through Saturday and lots of charming independent shops to explore.

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If you are a foodie, do not miss Marches Delicatessen on Nevil Street for some of the finest cheeses, charcuteries and pantry items. Just a few doors up you will appropriately find Cooks Galley, a family run cookware shop stocking a wide selection of kitchen gadgets and cookware. Whilst exploring the town, do not miss a visit to The Chapel, a sister property of The Angel, for a really good coffee or lite bite. The Chapel, located behind the market,  is open from 9 to 5 and offers a local and seasonal breakfast, lunch and lite bite menu. Not only does it have great food, but it also is a gallery and gift shop. The perfect place for a pit-stop during your wander around Abergavenny.

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Enjoy a good walk? Just on the outskirts of Abergavenny is The Blorenge,  a prominent hill which overlooks the valley of the River Usk situated in the southeastern corner of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

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Also, Abergavenny is located in Monmouthshire which some call the food capital of Wales.  3 miles from The Angel Hotel is one of my favourite restaurants, The Walnut Tree, a Michelin Starred restaurant, with chef patron Shaun Hill, a legend in British cookery, at its helm.  But if you don’t even have to leave The Angel Hotel for an award winning meal. The Angel Hotel is a member of the prestigious UK Tea Guild having held an ‘Award of Excellence’ since 2008. I highly recommend the High Tea priced at £27.80 per person and includes a selection of warm savoury pastries, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. The warm savoury pastries I had were to die for and included prunes wrapped in bacon, ham & onion quiche, beef & mushroom choux buns, pea, ham & mint spring rolls, coronation chicken tartlets and salmon mousse cups with gherkins. The cakes and pastries were equally delicious and to top it all off, there is a selection of over 40 teas, a selection of coffees and a list of sparkling wine and champagne if you want a bit of bubbly with your tea. This tea has been named the best afternoon tea outside of London and once you experience it, you will know why. A not to miss treat during your visit!

High Tea

For a fun evening, head to the Après Ski Bar, a pop-up bar bringing the atmosphere of an Alpin Ski Lodge to Abergavenny. Enjoy the well-stocked bar which includes a variety of German beers as well as signature cocktails and mocktails. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you can enjoy a 3-course meal of charcuterie, Swiss fondue and German style apple cake. And yes, the staff do dress up in Lederhosen and Dirndls!

 

With rooms from £85 per night,  The Angel Hotel is the perfect place for a getaway!  Great food, beautiful market town, fabulous places to explore…an angelic break!

The Angel Hotel, 15 Cross St, Abergavenny NP7 5EN Phone:01873 857121

 

I was invited to The Angel Hotel and as such the room and all food was complimentary.

 

Full line up for Abergavenny Food Festival 2015 announced

Tickets go on sale today as Abergavenny Food Festival announces the full line up for 2015. September 18, 19, 20 will once again welcome thousands of visitors to Abergavenny to sample the best food and drink the UK has to offer.

Tom Kerridge, the Hemsley sisters and Olia Hercules, will be joined by over fifty foodies who will share their culinary passion and expertise, demonstrating everything from baking to foraging, tea tasting to cooking up cultural delicacies.

Abergavenny Food Festival: Raymond Blanc

Raymond Blanc – President SRA

Raymond Blanc OBE will be appearing in his capacity as President of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. In conversation with Sheila Dillon from BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming programme, Raymond will explore the roots of his passion for produce, dread of waste and respect for the land. He will reveal how early lessons learned from Maman Blanc have guided him throughout his career as chef and restaurateur – and how only by understanding that food connects with every part of our lives, can we truly secure a future for our food.

Be amongst the first to get your hands on the much-lauded new book by celebrated chef and author, Yotam Ottolenghi. NOPI: The Cookbook. Yotam, alongside his head chef, Ramael Scully, will bring the inventive NOPI ethos to the festival, pushing culinary boundaries.

The Festival line up also boasts Bake-Off champion Frances Quinn guiding you through her unique style of baking; exciting new London trio, The Groundnut Boys demonstrating recipes from their African Heritage with a contemporary twist and Festival favourite Cyrus Todiwala OBE who has been changing perceptions of Indian cuisine since his arrival in the UK from Goa in 1991.

Abergavenny Food Festival: The Groundnut Boys

The Groundnut Boys

Alongside household names are some demonstrations with a difference; Jon Old from the Wasabi Company will talk visitors through how, from a secret location in the UK, they grow one of the world’s most expensive crops and Mitch Tonks, renowned for his radical career change from accountancy to fishmongering, will be demonstrating recipes from his book The Seahorse, inspired by Italy and the South West of England.

In addition to food, the festival boasts a number of cocktail, foraging and alcohol master classes.  James Chase from Chase Distillery will expertly guide you through spirits, wines and ciders, while author and forager by day, Andy Hamilton presents ‘Wild Booze and Hedgerow Cocktails’ showing you how you can make delicious cocktails from a hedgerow near you.

Heather Myers, Chief Executive of the Festival said: “This year’s line-up is our biggest and best to date and definitely the most varied.”

“Whether you want to come along and explore the market, sample produce from over 220 hand-picked stallholders, or watch demonstrations from some of the finest chefs and food adventurers today, there really is something for everyone.”

It’s not just Festival goers who benefit from the biggest food Festival in Wales. It is estimated that the Festival brings £4million to the local Welsh economy, with the majority of 30,000 visitors spending between £50 and £100. Each year the Festival raises over £9,000 to local community groups, supports around thirty fringe events across Monmouthshire and employs an extra 120 young people over the festival weekend.

Abergavenny Food Festival: Sam and Shauna, Hang Fire Smokehouse

Sam and Shauna, Hang Fire Smokehouse selecting their free range pigs for the Festival – Pic (c) Huw John, Cardiff

Local success story Samantha Evans and Shauna Guinn from Hang Fire Smokehouse came to the Festival last year as stallholders and return this year on the bill, since winning BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming award for Best Street Food 2015.

Sam said: “It’s incredible that just one year on from our first appearance at Abergavenny Food Festival, and just two years since starting this business, we will be standing where our inspirations from the food industry have stood. We’re looking forward to both feeding the Festival goers our brand of Welsh slow and low BBQ and being a part of the Festival over the weekend.”

Shauna added: “This Festival is the highlight of the foodie event calendar and we’re delighted to be included in all aspects of the programme, for the first time, as we share the alchemy of meat smoking.”

Abergavenny Food Festival: Night market in Brewery Yard

Night Market in Brewery Yard – Image Tim Woodier

Alongside the bursting programme, Festival favourites return including the Night Market, transforming the Lower Brewery Yard into a magical place to eat, drink and hangout. New for 2015, the Festival will introduce the Meat Market, where you’ll find a selection of the best meats and butcher demonstrations Wales has to offer. The new Craft Brewery will create a relaxing area to sample some of Wales’ best-loved craft brews and ciders.

With parties on both the Friday (Swing Time at the Castle) and Saturday (Party at the Castle) evenings, visitors can experience music, dancing and food in the enchanted atmosphere of Abergavenny’s ancient castle.

Roll up your sleeves and book a place at The Artisan Kitchen School which gives you a unique opportunity to receive expert tuition first hand, taking your creations home with you. Children can show off their culinary talents at the Food Academy with a weekend of free hands on workshops for over 320 children and activities to tempt the most budding mini-master chef.

Abergavenny Food Festival: Val Warner at Food Academy 2013

Val Warner at Food Academy 2013 – Image Tim Woodier

Fast becoming an institution of the Festival, Rude Health Rants are back for their seventh year in a row. The team, led by co-founder and chief ranter Nick, are a proudly outspoken gang who aren’t afraid of standing up for real, honest food. Throughout the weekend Festival-goers will be given the chance to join them in their mission to eat right, and stay brilliant by speaking up.

The 2015 Festival is supported by a number of high profile businesses from across Wales and the UK including Cardiff Airport, Alun Griffiths Contractors Ltd and Chase Distillery, as well as support from Welsh Government, Monmouthshire Council and Abergavenny Town Council.

Tickets available now at abergavennyfoodfestival.com