One of the big draws for us to move to this area of the Brecon Beacons was the amazing choice of good places to eat (Michelin-starred The Walnut Tree, The Hardwick…) locally. We seem to have a disproportionately good range within striking distance than the population numbers would seem to support, but many are real destination spots and go from strength to strength, although there are a rare few that fall along the way. James Sommerin’s Crown at Whitebrook suffered and closed after a tough, snowy winter, although it has reopened under a new chef and retained its Michelin star, and James Sommerin has gone on to open a new restaurant in Penarth; and Matt Tebbutt has sadly left the Foxhunter at Nantyderry.
Amongst all this permanent foodie loveliness is the annual Abergavenny Food Festival. 2014 was our first visit and we were genuinely taken aback by the sheer scale of the event. Every spare inch of the town had been taken over by some sort of food and drink deliciousness for an entire weekend – from the market stalls along the high street, the demonstrations in the market hall, the rude health rants and yet more food and drink in the castle grounds. Seemingly, anyone who’s anyone in the world of eating is there, commentating or demonstrating.
Last week they announced their line up for 2015 and it is even better than last year. My highlights from their big headliners would be Tom Kerridge in conversation with Xanthe Clay, Raymond Blanc talking to Sheila Dillon of Radio 4’s Food Programme, and Yotam Ottolenghi showcasing his favourite recipes from NOPI. Tom is already sold out however! The Artisan Kitchen School is back and this year they’re also holding a craft brewery festival and meat market, so great to se they’re expanding and adding new elements to the weekend.
Now we just need to decide who and what we’re going to see!
All images on this post: Abergavenny Food Festival
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