Abergavenny Food Festival celebrates 20 years and showcases the best of British craft food and drink

The line up for the landmark 20th edition of the Abergavenny Food Festival has been announced, with details of talks, feasts, forages, masterclasses, workshops and chef demos all revealed.

The festival will celebrate its 20 year history as the UK’s leading food event , in true Abergavenny style, by playing host to the ideas, tastes and techniques at the forefront of developments in British food and farming.

The people of Abergavenny will once again throw open their doors to welcome over 30,000 visitors, over the 15th – 16th September, with the historic market town hosting the much-loved gathering of chefs, food writers, producers, farmers and inspiring food thinkers.

Tickets are now on sale for all events, as are wristbands for entry. Go to abergavennyfoodfestival.com for more details. Events announced are:

The Borough Theatre will host a programme of talks and panel discussions, including:

  • Friday night sees chef and food writer José Pizarro talk about his life in food
  • Saturday BBC Radio 4 Food Programme presenter Sheila Dillon will compere a panel on ‘100 Years of Women in Food’ in celebration of the 2018 anniversary of 100 years of suffrage. Appearing on the panel will be author and food writer Sybil Kapoor, chef and founder of Wild Artichokes, Jane Baxter and chef Romy Gill, one of the few female chef/owners to have been awarded an MBE
  • Food writer and author of over 15 books Jenny Linford will be exploring ‘The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and its Flavour’
  • One of many free events celebrating the anniversary of the festival will take a look back at 20 years of Abergavenny Food Festival, featuring the festival’s founders and chefs who have been involved since its inception
  • Daily Telegraph food writer Xanthe Clay will be in conversation with Grace Dent as the guardian restaurant critic shares stories about her life and work
  • Sunday will kick off with ‘Morning: How to Make Time’ with Observer Food Monthly editor Allan Jenkins sharing thoughts from his new book.

In our Drinks’ Theatre visitors will learn the science and art of making, distilling, pressing, mixing and brewing with some of our greatest drinks makers and experts:

Sign up for a Tasting Workshop and learn to professionally taste with producers, food writers, chefs and experts such as:

  • Food for a happy gut with food writer, fermenter and nutritionist Naomi Devlin
  • ‘Bloody Lovely’ – a blood and black pudding masterclass with James Swift (Trealy Farm Charcuterie) and Elisabeth Paul of the Italain salumi cooperative of Valle Unite
  • Craft British Cheese and Welsh Beer with Borough Market cheesemongerEnrico Messora, Slow Food’s Shane Holland, and beer expert Mike Hill
  • Cooking with beer with Melissa Cole
  • Patisserie with Laurian Veaudour from Cardiff’s Cocorico
  • Ferment and Pickle with chef, writer, and Young British Foodies-nominated pickler Thom Eagle
  • Bar 44/Asador 44 owner and sherry lover Owen Morgan will guide you through a sherry and tapas matching masterclass

Forages and Tours will be back for 2018:

  • Head out around Abergavenny for some Wild Cooking with River Cottage chef Gill Meller
  • Take in some sea air at the Severn Estuary with Henry Ashby on an Edible Seashore Forage
  • And embark on a Family Forage in the town’s Castle Meadows and Linda Vista Gardens with Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods

New to the festival this year, all Chef Demos will be free to watch on the new Market Hall stage, in association with Fisher & Peykel and Robert Price. This year’s mouth-watering line up includes:

  • Bollywood Brunch with supper club host Imran Nathoo
  • 30 minute Moroccan weeknight supper with Observer Rising Star in Food 2018 Nargisse Benkabbou
  • Chef James Sommerin of his eponymous Michelin starred restaurant
  • Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen chef Zoe Adjonyoh cooking up a vegan, Ghanaian feast
  • Award-winning writer and chef Stephen Harris from Michelin starred The Sportsman in Kent cooking with fat, pork and beans
  • Secrets of starters and pre-ferments with the Abergavenny Baker Rachael Watson
  • Welsh Wagyu with Michelin star Ynyshir restaurant’s chef Gareth Ward
  • Cook, writer and stylist, the voice of modern vegetarian cooking Anna Jones
  • World on a Plate with chefs Jack Stein and Romy Gill

The Abergavenny Food Festival aims to get the public tasting and understanding more about how food is made, so new in 2018 we will be running a programme of Tutored Tastings, with farmers and chefs pairing up to explore different products and how production methods effect taste and flavour:

This year’s Cookery School at The Castle will be home to kids’ cooking classes as well as up-close-and-personal tutorials for adults. Book your place on one of the following classes:

  • Italian cooking from a Venice kitchen with writer and cook Skye McAlpine
  • Middle Eastern dishes with Honey & Co – husband and wife restauranteurs originally from Israel
  • Take a Dim Sum Masterclass with Jeremy Pang from the School of Wok
  • Whip up delicious accidentally vegan dishes with food writer and cookery teacher Katy Beskow aka Little Miss Meat-Free
Included in weekend and day wristbands for the festival, which are available to buy via the website now, is a smokin’ line up of chefs Cooking over Fire at The Castle, Kids’ Activities across the town, Talks & Debates in The Dome at The Castle and the popular Farmyard area with its discussions, debates and farm animals.

Look out for further announcements about the local Fringe Programme showcasing the local food community in and around Abergavenny. Tickets for the Friday Night Stomp at The Castle and Saturday night’s Party at the Castleincluding the festival’s iconic fireworks are also available to buy in advance.

Those with an NP7 postcode will receive 20% off the cost of their wristband using the code LOCAL to buy online, or in person from the Borough Theatre in Abergavenny. To qualify for the local discount, proof of address must be shown when buying in person at the Borough Theatre.

Abergavenny Food Festival is excited to welcome returning sponsors Chase Distillery, Riverford Organic Farmers, Triodos Bank, Belazu and Greenergy, plus new additions River Cottage, Seedlip, Willy’s ACV and Pipers Farm.

Please keep an eye on social media or sign up to the newsletter to receive festival news first.

Twitter: @afoodfestival
Instagram: @afoodfestival
Facebook: Abergavenny Food Festival 

First held in 1999 set up by two farmers in reaction to the BSE crisis, the festival has long been known to challenge the status quo, never afraid to shy away from the food & farming issues of the day, and has drawn some of the most vociferous, innovative and industry leading lights from the food & drink and farming industries.


High res photos of those announced for the 2018 festival are available to download here.

Photography highlights from the 2017 festival are available to download here.

Media accreditation for 2018 is open
To apply for media accreditation and a weekend or day wristband to this year’s landmark event please click here.

For further press enquiries and interviews with Festival CEO, Aine Morris, or any of those appearing at the event please contact:

Caroline Peel
07771 957225
Press Officer
Abergavenny Food Festival

Notes to editors:

Since its inception, the Abergavenny Food Festival has grown its audience from 3,000 visitors to become the largest food festival in Wales with more than 30,000 attendees every year, attracting big name brands and showcasing the very best food and drink from Wales and across the world. Generating an estimated £4 million impact for the local economy, we are committed to supporting our local community, employ over 120 young people over the Festival weekend and support catering students to gain work experience in our kitchens.

Abergavenny Food Festival was created in 1999 by two local farmers in response to the BSE crisis and the resulting lack of consumer confidence in British produce. With the outbreak of Foot and Mouth in 2001, the difficulties worsened for farmers and pushed the Festival forward in terms of showcasing the wonderful food we have to offer locally and the passion of the people who produce it.

Abergavenny Food Festival enjoys an exceptional reputation as a place for chefs, food businesses, journalists, farmers and food producers to come together. We are known for being an inclusive and welcoming event, delivering a delicious opportunity for people from all walks of life to explore and learn about food.

Through our outstanding programme of activities, including product tastings, kids’ activities, masterclasses, hands-on cookery lessons and topical debates, we provide the inside track on food issues, offer new ideas about the future of our food and showcase rising stars emerging from the industry.

The Festival prides itself on transforming the way people think about food; challenging and promoting new ideas, pushing the boundaries of current thinking and encouraging people to look differently at where their food comes from.

Over the years, the festival has attracted top food heavyweights such as: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, Monica Galetti, Jane Baxter, Jose Pizarro and Valentine Warner, to name but a few. By engaging with influential chefs, commentators and journalists both nationally and internationally, we have grown to become one the highest profile food events in Britain.

We cherish our history and remain committed to offering a genuine market experience in the rural setting of our beautiful medieval market town.