Abergavenny Food Festival returns with highlights including Asma Khan, Gareth Ward, Josh Eggleton

Abergavenny Food Festival returns for its 21st year from 21-22 September featuring Asma Khan, Xanthe Clay, Bee Wilson, Gareth Ward, Josh Eggleton, Tommy Heaney, DJ BBQ and Rosie Birkett.


Asma Khan image credit Justin Lambert

Abergavenny Food Festival has announced the first highlights from the 2019 festival programme (21st-22nd September) and following on from last year’s 20th anniversary edition, the festival looks set to go from strength-to-strength. Welcoming leading food aficionados from across the world to the Welsh market town of Abergavenny for a line-up of chef demos, cookery classes, drinks events, foraging tours, wild-cooking classes, debates and discussions. 

In 2019 the festival will welcome Asma Kaan - the first British chef to feature on Netflix’s cult Chef’s Table and Founder of Darjeeling Express, as she shares the story of her Life in Food with Telegraph food writer Xanthe Clay. The founding father of the modern fermentation movement, Sandor Katz, will be joining from Tennessee, USA for ‘Beyond Sauerkraut’ a fermenting masterclass that will include the opportunity to troubleshoot your home-ferments. Katz will also join acclaimed food writer Bee Wilson, author of ‘The way we eat now’ for a discussion in the Borough Theatre exploring what the modern age means for our diets and health.


Josh Eggleton (credit Ed Shofield)

Chefs joining the demo-stage line-up this year include: Gareth Ward of the Michelin-starred Ynyshir in Mid Wales, Josh Eggleton from the Michelin-starred Pony & Trap near Bristol, eco-chef, food waste columnist and author of The Natural Cook Tom Hunt and Cardiff-based chef Tommy Heaney

Leading UK herb grower Jekka McVicar will be discussing how to make more of herbs, Copenhagen’s Trine Hahnemann will be running a Scandinavian baking class, and Elly Curshen aka Elly Pear will be teaming up with friend and food-writer Rosie Birkett for a lesson in stress-free dinner party cooking.


DJ BBQ

On the ‘Cooking Over Fire’ stage Christian Stevenson (aka DJ BBQ), Sam and Shauna from Hangfire BBQ (above) and Bristol chef, Freddy Bird will be firing up the grill at The Castle. 


The popular Mutton Tasting masterclass returns with Cyrus Todiwala, joined by Nick Miller and Sarah Dickens of Black Welsh Lamb. Drinks writer Jack Bevan will be teaming up with leading producer Trealy Farm for a Charcuterie and Vermouth pairing masterclass, and visitors can discover Welsh beers and ciders with drinks writer Pete Brown

Don’t miss, multi-awarding winning author and chef, Anissa Helou, joined by Fozia Ismail – founder of Somali supper-club Arawelo Eats & one of Observer Food Monthly’s 2019 Top 50, for thoughts and stories on Foods of the Islamic World.


Fozia Ismail

The programme of discussions and debates in the Castle Dome includes: The rise of #MeToo in hospitality – problems and solutions, with Asma Khan, Trine Hahnemann, and Xanthe Clay; a look at our emotional relationship with food and the rise of eating disorders, plus the return of our food & farming rants.


Aine Morris, CEO of Abergavenny Food Festival says of this year’s festival:


“To have a programme that is such a reflection of the dynamic change and creativity we are seeing across UK food and farming is massively exciting. We are very pleased to be showcasing more women and more diversity at the food festival than ever before.” 
“If you love food in all its forms, then Abergavenny offers so much more than just the chance to fill your bellies. This year’s festival promises to be truly world class, delivering delicious experiences, whilst also dealing with the thorny issues facing the future of the industry. Abergavenny  is  fundamentally about  food and introducing visitors to the people who dedicate their lives to making it.  We aim to get you tasting  new products, learning new skills, and shaking the hand that feeds you. In the face of great environmental and economic uncertainty our farmers, food producers and restaurants need the support of the British public more than ever, and food fest 2019 is the place to come if you want to understand why.” 

Day and weekend wristbands are on sale now, along with initial event tickets via www.abergavennyfoodfestival.com


Additional Events include:


‘Wild & Foraged’ events

‘Wild & Foraged’ programme, will take visitors out of town to discover the bounty that the surrounding Welsh countryside has to offer. From a mushroom walk in the Wye Valley to a Seashore Forage with Henry Ashby. Make Wild Cocktails with grower and author Mark Diacono and forager Liz Knight and learn Wild Cooking with fire aficionados, Genevieve Taylor and Henry Eldon of The Cauldron restaurant.


Feasting at the Festival 

A merry band of chefs, cooks, wine merchants and hospitality pros are set to whip up a storm for the food fest’s annual Saturday night feast One More, No More. Featuring in the kitchen, guardian columnist and cookbook writer Rachel Roddy, chefs and authors Rosie Sykes and Claire Thomson along with chefs Matthew Williamson and Sam Sohn-Rethel with Stacey Smith, Ben Llewelyn and Ruth Spivey on the floor. Five courses with wine to match.


The Farmyard grows for 2019

The Farmyard area is expanding significantly to include the ‘Farming Matters’ stage with talks, debates and discussion on the future of farming in the UK. Our Welsh chef demo stage returns to showcase the very best produce and the incredible talent that Wales has to offer. Around the festival farmyard you’ll find a Tiny Rebel bar, a rare breed animal petting paddock, art installations and a market for products made on-farm. 

After Hours

Tickets for the annual Community Feast in Abergavenny’s iconic Market Hall with the Angel Bakery, plus the Friday night Stomp at the Castle and legendary Saturday night Party at the Castle are all now on sale via the website.


As always visitors can expect to find around 220 food and drink producers trading across nine market sites including: Cheese and Wine, Fish & Fizz, Street Food and night market, and a special area for New Food Producers. Traders will include Trealy Farm Charcuterie, Halen Mon, Borough Market’s Heritage Cheese, and many, many more.

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