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My secret to enjoying a Food Festival

September 19, 2010

Today I visited the Abergavenny Food Festival, sometimes called the Glastonbury of food festivals, it’s held in pretty high esteem around the country, and the best thing about it is it’s only 45 minutes away by train. But there was one HUGE problem standing in the way of a perfect Sunday afternoon.

As much as I love food, I must admit, festivals scare me. A lot.

I love seeing artisan foods, exotic sights, real Welsh and local produce and stall-holders who clearly have an unequalled passion for what they do. But the pushing, and shoving, being 20 deep in a queue to get a teeny tiny piece of chocolate and general confusion really do get to me.

But since I’ve been trying to do things that scare me, and keen not to miss out on a proper foodie event so close to home, I decided what the heck, I was going to go. Less than 20 minutes in though, and I was starting to panic, and if I’m honest, I just wanted to go home.

But then, something snapped within me, I decided to go with the flow and stop caring if people were pushing past. They were clearly just trying to get to the tasty produce that lay ahead, and who could blame them. The second step on my road to festival calmness was alcohol.

You see, one of the delights of a food (and drink) festival is, undeniably, the free samples. A few little plastic containers of perry and crème de cassis later and, funnily enough, I began to relax. I began to look at the food, speak to the stallholders, look out for the unusual and, most of all, enjoy myself. The trick is of course, not to become drunk, but rather ever so mildly tipsy – so it really is only those few sips you need.

Now that I’ve jumped over the phobia hurdle, I can report some of the best bits.

Highlights from the Abergavenny Food Festival 2010

Macarons – the best I’ve tasted outside of France (OK, the only professional ones I’ve tasted outside of France).
Chicken and duck sausages (infused with chilli and leek – delicious)
crème de cassis mixed with real Welsh perry – lovely combination of pear and blackcurrant.
Raw chocolate. Now this was a real surprise highlight, because I didn’t expect to like this. I don’t like dark chocolate (aside from in cakes), so to find myself enjoying unrefined cocoa bean was a boon. I even bought some home with me!
Picking up 2 new photography props and finding a great art shop in Abergavenny (OK, not strictly related to the food festival but still…)

The only downside, for me, was that there could have been more cakes, desserts and puddings. And more baking/cooking equipment. But I get that this was a food festival, not a cooking festival, so that’s OK.

And, for a person who doesn’t like cheese, I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but, I’m really looking forward to the Great British Cheese Festival taking place at Cardiff Castle next weekend. No, I haven’t gone crazy, there promises to be non-cheese stands, live music and more. Come back next week for how I managed to cope with all these cheese lovers standing within feet of me…

P.S. Normal baking challenge service resumes soon, I baked yesterday, but writing this distracted me from getting the blog post up – for now, take a look at these macarons from the Bumble and Bucket stand.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 10:05 am

    Despite living only 10 minutes from Abergavenny I’ve never been to the Food Festival! I’ve usually got something else on that prevents me from going. My son, however, being a chef is quite a foodie and came home with some meaty products (that I won’t be sampling – being a veggie). Glad you managed to enjoy it in the end! I really must get there one year!
    Teresa

  2. September 20, 2010 8:32 pm

    raw choc sounds interesting…not sure if you’ll read the reply i posted on my blog but i wondered whether you knew if it was national baking week? you should bake twice as much to celebrate! x

    • amydavies permalink*
      September 20, 2010 9:26 pm

      Well it always seems to be some kind of national food week doesn’t it, it was national cupcake week last week (even though they’re kind of old hat now). Hmmm…. perhaps I shall just post up the 3 blog posts I’ve got queued up instead of actually baking any more…

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