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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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