Abergavenny Food Festival

AFF A variety of events at the AFF

This past weekend, the Abergavenny Food Festival (AFF), took place in Wales. While food festivals are nothing new, I really wish I could have gone to this one. Wales is a beautiful country and as a child I found myself there during many Spring holidays, hiking through fields and forests. It was green, lush and refreshing – full of welcoming people and wildlife that was foreign to a city kid like me.

AFFteeming market stalls and rude health soapbox rants

Imagine that as a backdrop for a food festival boasting over eighty events from Masterclasses to Tutored Tastings to Talks to Debates and oh yes, food!
One feature that sounded paticularly interesting was the lecture ‘Molecular Gastronomy: The Science of Taste and Flavour’ by Peter Barham, who with Heston Blumenthal, explains how his laboratory techniques evoke extraordinary experiences for the palette. Laboratory made flavours have always piqued my interest, though not my desire and I have always wanted to sit down with a flavourist and learn the in’s and out’s of what they do. (Though I used to know a guy who was a flavourist..of chocolate no less!).

Speaking of Chocolate, on Saturday Paul Young, author of Adventures with Chocolate and owner of a host of chocolate shops across London presented a tutored tasting. I wonder if his Sea-salted chocolate and pecan tart was available for a taste ::swoon::

Michelin-starred chef Sat Bains was on hand to feature winning products from the 2009 Great Taste Awards in his ‘Great Taste’ demonstration. As well as Aussie Bill Granger one of my favourite Cooking Channel hosts, to discuss his quintessential Australian approach to home cooking.

Fire and KnivesFire and Knives, issue #1

Not to be neglected, Food Lit was also well represented at the fest. Fire & Knives (the quarterly anthology of food and writing) provided four sessions with leading food writers discussing their favourite classic food and cookery books – including Tim Hayward on Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Bill Granger and others also participated in book signings and chat.
Oh and did I mention there is a Castle? Well there is. Doubling as a location for a variety of soapbox rants from passionate food writers and chefs talking about the latest and greatest food issues that are out there.

All in all the over 180 stalls participate in the festival teeming with local produce; kids are encouraged to be ‘gardeners of the future’, parties, music and a firework finale abound amongst many many other things.

Maybe next year I will make it. If you are in or around Wales, I encourage you to seriously consider being present too!

images from the abergavenny food festival site and fire and knives

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