Saturday, 29 October 2011

Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival

Large crowds turned out today for the seventh annual Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival / Gŵyl Bwyd a Diod Y Bont-Faen (29-30 Oct 2011), in the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan. With over 80 exhibitors, cooking demonstrations, food and drink talks, entertainment and children’s activities, it has become one of the regions top food festivals.

We arrived early and parked in a farm on the edge of town – part of the free park and ride service. The main marquees were bustling with activity by mid-morning. Although the festival is centred on these marquees, events occur throughout the market town.

In the main Festival Marquee and the Cheese & Wine Marquee there was a great selection of fine food and drink to sample and purchase. We seemed to sample a lot of cheese, and lingered at Teifi Farmhouse Cheese, Cothi Valley Goats (cheese), Caws Cenarth Cheese, Slade Farm Organics, Wernddu Wines & Vineyard, and many more stalls besides. You can see Cardiff’s The Parsnipship in the foreground of the photo taken down the main marquee.

There was some tempting cooking smells emanating from the hot food marquee. Glam Lamb and the Venison Burger stalls, and the hog roast, were attracting sizeable queues. We opted for Taste of Persia, sharing a Lamb Kebab and a Pomegranate Chicken with Walnuts and rice. Based in Llanbadoc, Monmouthshire, they are regulars at Cardiff’s Riverside Food Market.

Taste of Persia’s owner Kamran Khanverdi was among the chefs doing demonstrations today in the True Taste of Wales exhibition trailer, in the Town Hall car park. Others included Kurt Fleming of ffresh Bar & Restaurant. Martin Cowley (Cowley’s Fine Foods) was demonstrating historical meat-drying techniques.

Bev Robins from the Otley Brewery and Deryck Mathews of Preselli Coffee are among the contributors to the drinks talks programme in Cowbridge Town Hall. A Real Ale Festival was well underway by lunchtime today at the Vale of Glamorgan Inn.

Other events around Cowbridge include a Craft Fayre, a Champagne Marquee & Bar, and a circus (from the Belgian twin town of Mouscron). The festival continues tomorrow (Sunday 30 Oct: 10am-4pm). Entry to marquees: £4 adults (under 12s free).

Last year the event was awarded the National Tourism Awards Wales: Best Community Event 2010. If it continues to be this successful, the organizers might have to get bigger marquees to fit in all the visitors (they already have many more applications for trade stands than they can accomodate). 

Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival is already pencilled into our diary again for next year, with a note that we need to spend much more time there to do justice to all the events!

Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival:

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