Abergavenny Food Festival 2014 (Sunday)

abergavenny clock tower

abergavenny clock tower

21st September, 2014

The previous day Tim had promise his dad and Zoe he’d cook Sunday lunch, so in spite of going to bed at 6am he was awake and cooking a couple of hours later. Fortunately Tim’s not a team chef so I wasn’t required – phew! I got to lie in until midday. After a spectacular roast chicken (infused with rosemary, sage and thyme) and home made onion gravy, we headed back to Abergavenny for day two of the food festival.

abergavenny market hall

abergavenny market hall

Today we went to the Market Hall (next to the clock tower, top photo) which was a lot less crowded than yesterday. The hall dates back to 1870 and houses the regular retail and flea markets, craft fairs and farmers markets. Note the fantastic pigs hanging from the ceiling.

demijohn

demijohn

We were instantly drawn to the Demijohn stall selling infused vodkas and gins from 5 gallon carboys.

seville orange gin

seville orange gin

I was particularly interested in the Seville Orange Gin, which tasted like marmalade (which is not surprising on reflection) and the tart Black Cherry Liqueur. These drinks are not cheap, but the presentation was stylish and professional. They had an endless queue of people buying a couple of bottles each. I would imagine a lot of them will be great Christmas presents.

chestnut meats

chestnut meats

Chestnut Meats specialise in goat.

goat meat

goat meat

Having cooked curry goat recently, I chatted to them about other goat recipes, which they just happened to be handing out in a useful flyer.

trealy farm british charcuterie

trealy farm british charcuterie

Trealy Farm had what was probably the largest charcuterie stall at the festival. It’s amazing just how much excellent British charcuterie there is being made these days. 20 years ago it would have been hard to find artisans here producing high quality cured meats.

blood, wine and chocolate chorizo

blood, wine and chocolate chorizo

As a lover of Spanish Chorizo I was drawn to trying the Blood, Wine and Chocolate Chorizo. It tasted deep and rich with spicy pimentón coming through afterwards. There was no hint of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, because (of course) they use raw chocolate and not sweetened confectionary.

hog's pudding

hog’s pudding

I was delighted to see them selling Hog’s Pudding (my grandfather’s favourite, sometimes called “Devonshire Haggis”) and Bath Chaps (cured pig cheeks).

real veal

real veal

 Bacaddon Farm Veal had brought their rose veal to the festival from Cornwall. Veal has a bad reputation from the 1970s, when calves were routinely shipped to Holland in small crates.

cornish rose veal

cornish rose veal

Veal is a by product of the dairy industry – cows produce milk after giving birth. Female calves become milk producers themselves, whereas male calves become veal. Without a veal industry most male calves would be shot shortly after birth. At Bocaddon Farm, the male calves are raised in the open air on diets of milk, cereals and straw. They are slaughtered at 6 – 7 months, which is older than most chicken, lamb and pork.

gwynt y ddraig cider

gwynt y ddraig cider

We sampled the cider at Gwynt Y Ddraig (The Welsh Cider and Perry Company)

cider and perry

cider and perry

and bought pints of Ancient Warrior, a dry cider with 6.5% alcohol by volume.

hobbs house organic sourdough

hobbs house organic sourdough

Hobbs House Bakery had some excellent organic sourdough bread,

hobbs house rye sourdough

hobbs house rye sourdough

along with a darker organic rye. Hobbs House Bakery is the family business of The Fabulous Baker Brothers – their sourdough “mother” is 58 years old.

the garlic farm

the garlic farm

I know The Garlic Farm from London farmers’ markets – apparently they are the largest specialist garlic producers in the UK.

beacons farm shop

beacons farm shop

Beacons Farm Shop at the Welsh Venison Centre

venison scotch eggs

venison scotch eggs

had some Welsh Venison Scotch Eggs. I’m slightly amused by Welsh Scotch eggs, since the Scotch Egg isn’t Scottish and was, apparently, invented by Fortnum and Mason in London… Regardless, these eggs are delicious.

the welsh venison centre

the welsh venison centre

Above is a selection of venison meat, without any verbal ambiguity from me.

pembrokeshire beach food company

pembrokeshire beach food company

I came across a mermaid at the Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company. No kidding, her name is Fran Barnikel!

toasted laver

toasted laver

Fran very kindly let me sample her toasted laver (seaweed). The taste is very much like the nori seaweed sheets used for Japanese sushi. I was surprised not to see any laverbread at the festival, but Abergavenny is inland and not a coastal town. Fran must have swum up the river Usk

isle of wight tomatoes

isle of wight tomatoes

I came across another regular from London farmers’ markets – Isle Of Wight Tomatoes. It was nice to bump into Jeff Macdonald, who I’ve know since I first visited Islington Farmers’ Market back in 2000.

tipsy fruit gins

tipsy fruit gins

Tipsy Fruit Gins had a fabulous selection of 8 fruit infused vodkas and gins.  Colin Hingston, dispensing and selling the the liquors reminded me somewhat of a young Ginger Baker.

naga chilli vodka

naga chilli vodka

I’m sure I could see a devilish glint in Colin’s eye as he dispensed the Naga Chilli Vodka to unsuspected punters. There was a certain amount of merriment in the crowd too as people lost the ability to speak! Nevertheless, both the Sloe Gin and the Naga Chilli Vodka were excellent.

welsh faggots

welsh faggots

Very late in the day I came across the stall of N.S. James – Master Butchers. They were proudly selling their homemade faggots, “Recently served to over 300 Commissioners of the European Parliament at a major banquet hosted by the Welsh Assembly’s First Minister.” Sadly I was too late and they’d run out! Anyone unsure about what a  faggot is, should read my post here.

closing time

closing time

Suddenly it was all over and stall holders were packing up to go home.

bath soft cheese

bath soft cheese

We left the market and had a few more beers, before heading back to Tim’s for a supper of cold chicken and chorizo from Trealy Farm.

Big thanks to Tim for inviting me to Abergavenny for the Food Festival and to his dad Ieuan, for putting me up in the spare bedroom.

Advertisements

About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Drink, Food, Game, Meat, Shopping and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Abergavenny Food Festival 2014 (Sunday)

  1. Eha says:

    Oh my! This foodie paradise is almost worth the air ticket from Australia! Love the choice of charcuterie altho’ it might be just a tad dangerous to march alongside you with your knowledge of glassfuls which might make one walk a crooked line! Don’t know whether Miss C would quite agree with your definition of male offspring from the cows 🙂 !!! Her bobbies are a’growin’ !!!!!

  2. Eha says:

    Mad: thank you SO much for being such a great teacher and making me learn: oft of the obvious! Having been born in the NE of Europe veal was THE meat to eat if one could afford it: don’t know I ever thought of the provenance then or almost now . Pure milk-fed white veal is almost unavailable in the wider scope of Oz meat: semi-rurally I practically cannot access it here – do I ‘miss’ it? – I do not think so but am so interested when it comes up on someone ‘talking’ . . . thank you SO much for making me look and think!!

  3. You checked out a great set of products, as I would expect of you. More interestingly, you provided me with an sane explanation of the veal industry which, to this point, I had never really understood.
    Nice one MD:)

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Roger, I’m glad that helped. It saddens me that as a result of people trying to be humane, calves are routinely disposed of because there’s only a very small market for veal in the UK. I think the milk industry screws the farmers so badly on price that they’ve got very little to invest in raising calves, but if the demand was there the calves could have a decent life.

  4. Michelle says:

    I hope to go back there one day. Thanks for reminding me! (And, being the granddaughter of a dairy farmer, I buy humanely raised veal at every opportunity.)

  5. Great explanation of the veal industry – I think in France there is much more acceptance of it (although I can’t admit to knowing how they treat the calves, hopefully not crated like the used ot be). Another stunning post and three cheers to your pal Tim for not sleeping and cooking lunch!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tanya. In France veal is a normal meat consumed in much larger amounts than the UK and in Barcelona it is cheaper than beef. I don’t know what the provenance of that veal is but it does show that if people eat it the price goes down and it’s not an expensive luxury like it is in Britain. That’s something I find hard to reconcile. It can cost up to £25 per kilo and we throw the calves away!

      • It’s sad for the farmers too – something needs to change.

        • Mad Dog says:

          I agree. It is changing and rose veal is being farmed in small numbers, but people need to buy it, so that more calves have a life instead of being slaughtered for nothing.
          Butchers do sell veal if there’s a demand and Waitrose definitely sells it 😉

  6. spicegirlfla says:

    What an amazing variety of products and food! I love to visit a food festival…I’d want to buy everything! I’d probably first try the infused vodkas!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Linda – it was like being a kid in a candy store. I tried a lot of the vodkas and gins – infusing spirits seems to be very much in vogue this year 🙂

  7. Karen says:

    What an adventure you have had on your trip to experience the Abergavenny Food Festival. It is all the more fun when you can share the experience with other food lovers. It sounds like a good time was had by all. 😀

  8. Terry Blake from St. John says:

    Hi Craig.

    My girlfriend and I are holding a pop up restaurant at Brixton market this month and I wondered if you would like to come. Here is the link:

    http://www.londonpopups.com/2014/11/the-happy-coconuts-three-day-pop-up-at.html

    Hopefully see you there otherwise pop in to the merchants tavern and say hi next time your in the area

    Terry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s