Abergavenny Food Festival, Monmouthshire, Wales
Abergavenny Food Festival provides the arena for foodies to debate the latest food issues, learn new skills, watch their favourite celebrity chefs in action and have food-filled days and nights.
The Market Hall – one of the main venues at Abergavenny Food Festival
At Abergavenny Food Festival you can listen, learn, debate, rant and taste with the experts. Browsing through the programme though is seriously challenging. The two-day festival is jam-packed with big name chefs, local food stars and special events. Like a great restaurant menu, I wanted to try it all but it’s impossible to have a finger in every pie. My advice – go for the weekend and book in to a local hotel to make the most of it. It will give you time to soak up the atmosphere in this historic town, browse the stalls selling fantastic local produce, party at the castle and watch the fireworks light up the night sky.Sally, Editor, The Foodie Travel Guide
- Producers’ Market
- Chef demos and masterclasses
- Special talks
- Parties at the Castle
- Kids Food Academy
- Night Market
- Forages and tours
The Story of Abgergavenny Food Festival
Abergavenny Food Festival was founded in 1999 by two local farmers, Chris Wardle and Martin Orbach, in the aftermath of the BSE crisis. It’s a festival that’s become known for its debate and discussion but it’s also a big-hearted foodie event with entertainment, a children’s food academy and over 200 specialist food stalls spread across several sites around the town. Over the years, many celebrity guests have participated including chef and restauranteur, Mitch Tonks, from Rockfish in Dartmouth; Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall from River Cottage; US food star, Anthony Bourdain and Sheila Dillion, presenter of BBC Radio Four’s The Food Programme.
Have a Weekend Full of Great Food and Drink in a Bustling Atmosphere
The festival is the highlight of the Welsh foodie calendar and has grown into a must-do event that attracts over 30,000 visitors every September. Wristband tickets give you access to plenty of activities including cooking demonstrations. Watch local chefs such as Angela Gray, who runs her own cookery school at Llanerch Vineyard near Cardiff and Joseph Colman from The Bell at Skenfrith. Specialist masterclasses, tutored tastings, the artisan kitchen school, tours and forages and the parties at the castle, are all extra and ticketed separately.
The festival’s picturesque setting
Enjoy a drink in the festival marquee
Meet Welsh Producers
The quality of the producer stalls is very high with strict criteria set for exhibitors. As you’d expect, there’s an abundance of Welsh produce. Try seaweed products such as Welshman’s Caviar from The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company (sprinkle it on scrambled eggs), and seaweed gin from Dà Mhìle Distillery (great for a dirty martini). There’s Halen Môn salt from Angelsey, Welsh chocolate from NomNom (try the yummy Welshcake flavour) and cider from Apple Cider County in the Monmouthshire hills. There’s an entire market dedicated to cheese so you can taste award-winning cheeses such as Bodnant Dairy’s Aberwen and from further afield, Charles Martell’s Stinking Bishop or Godminster Cheddar. For more of a kick, buy strings of garlic from the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm, fiery chilli products from Upton Cheyney Chilli Farm in Somerset and vodka from Chase Distillery in Herefordshire.
Dà Mhìle Seaweed Gin
Listen to a Rude Health Rant
Unique to Abergavenny Food Festival and fun to listen to, are the Rude Health Rants that have been running for 8 years. They are an opportunity for companies, speakers, chefs and producers to voice a short rant about something close to their heart. Listen to chefs give their ha’penny worth and if you too have a gripe about grub, then you can join the stage.
Rude Ranta are a festival favourite Photo: Huw John
Raymond Blanc talking in 2015. Photo: Huw John
- Children under 16 go free with a paying adult
- Go for Afternoon Tea at the Angel Hotel in the centre of town
- Parking in town is limited but there is plenty of car parking available in the designated festival car parks
- Every December Abergavenny hosts a Christmas Food & Drink Fair
- Go walking in the Brecon Beacons and taste Welsh whisky and gin on the Penderyn Distillery Tour
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WHERE TO STAY IN WALES
The Angel Hotel
This former coaching inn is set on the edge of Brecon Beacons, in the historic market town of Abergavenny.
Rooms from £95 a night.
The Bell at Skenfrith
The Bell at Skenfrith is a restored 17th-century building on the banks of the River Monnow.
Rooms from £130 a night.
They tell me that with the exception of assistance dogs, dogs are not allowed in any of the internal or external market venues.