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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Abergavenny Food Festival -The Excitement Mounts

The countdown has begun. At 9:30 this morning the box office for the Abergavenny Food Festival went live! As usual I was waiting with phone and card in hand though not counting down as per Euro2012.

Thanks to a subscription to Fork Magazine I had received the programme some weeks earlier and had time to plan my two day experience.

In addition to the 200 plus stalls there are a range of Tastings, Master classes, Food Talks, Book signings, Chef demos and foraging opportunities, a real cornucopia of choice. This year’s really big hitters have to be Richard Berthinet, Atul Kochar, Yotam Ottolenghi, Claudia Roden and Pierre Koffman so demand for tickets for their events will sell out rapidly.

 If you feel brave enough the scary Monica Galetti is running a master class and I am sure she is a lovely person in life and not at all like her television image!

I will be going to Atul Kochar’s “Curries of the World” master class on the Sunday. Having loved his food at Corrigan’s – tasting menu by Atul and Arun Kapil of Green Saffron – I really want to find out more and, short of a spell in his kitchen at Benares where better?

The other master class that I will attend is Tom Parker Bowles, Matt Tebbutt and Matthew Fort on the Saturday cooking recipes from Tom’s new book –Let’s Eat. Two years ago they put on a totally entertaining 45 minutes, the highlight of which had to be overheating chillis to the extent that a wave of chilli hot smoke rolled down the room reducing the audience to tears as if they had been gassed by Chinese Riot Police. Though a repeat is not hoped for the three have a chemistry that sparkles.

I shall, however, start on Saturday morning with Raw Milk 2. A tutored tasting. Last year Abergavenny Food Festival hosted the world’s first Raw Milk tasting, despite concerns raised by some over letting the public taste the stuff as nature intended. What was clear was that Raw Milk tasted a lot better than pasteurised and infinitely better than a certain “Triple Filtered” brand. The same held true for creams and butters. This year will be a taste off between unpasteurised milks, creams and butters from Jersey, Guernsey, Friesian and Shorthorn herds, with the audience determining the winner.

Just one other ticketed session is on my agenda (at the minute) Scott Davis from Cnwd leading us through the Gourmet Harvest of West Wales and, having enjoyed his Smoked Sewin from Riverside Market, this is  a must for me.

Beyond that there are new tastes to try, old friends to meet, Chef Demos to see and purchasing plans to be drawn up. You can’t do everything in a day so two days is the only realistic option and they will be two full days!

Most of Wales True Taste ward winners will be there including local producers such as Trealy Farm, Ty Mawr Organics,and Black Mountain Smokery. Otley Brewing will run the Blorenge Bar and a burgeoning Fringe Festival is developing year by year.

So get there! You can order weekend wristbands on line or by phone on 01873 858805 and get tickets for the talks master classes and tastings the same way. Whatever else happens on September 15th and 16th Abergavenny Food Festival is the only place to be.

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Morphy Richards

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