The Market Hall and Brewery Yard had over a hundred stallholders between them and we easily got lost sampling and jumping from one stall to the next! As well as an immense number of stallholders (which makes up almost half of the number in the entire festival), inside of the Market Hall was the Kitchen Stage, where special guests cooked up some of their favourite dishes, giving out hints and tips for free for those with wristbands. (Sitting at the stage was also a great way to rest your feet and enjoy yourself at the same time – with a possibility of tasters at the end!)
We tried so many different cured bacons, cheeses and everything in between, but it just isn’t physically possible to sum up all that amazing food in one post, so we’ve decided to showcase what we thought were some of our favourite stallholders:
The Market Hall
Barry Colenso Chocolates
The colourful display immediately caught our eye with a huge selection of chocolates and chocolate buttons.
We sampled each flavour – white, dark, strawberry and orange – and were exceptionally impressed by both fruit flavours. The vivid orange buttons had such a beautiful and intense orange flavour, so much better than a certain brand of chocolate orange, while the strawberry buttons were marbled with the delicious white chocolate used in the other buttons. Overall we were also really impressed with the quality and finish to the buttons, which were beautifully smooth and silky to the touch like no other chocolate button or chocolate we’d ever seen.
Quickly after purchasing two bags for ourselves, we realised how much one of our friends would enjoy the orange chocolates. Unwilling to bring ourselves to part with any of our own chocolate as it was too good, we headed back to buy another bag.
Hobbs House Bakery
Baking handmade bread for everyone since the 1920’s, from several small shops in the Cotswolds, the Hobbs House Bakery stall was certainly a feast for the eyes. With a huge selection of breads, ranging from traditional favourites to some more interesting flavours it was great to finally sample some of the breads, having seen them available online before. Also they were quite possibly the most beautiful loaves we’ve ever seen.
(Also heres a photo of some of the cutest tarts we’d ever seen and as well as a very tempting pile of baklava!)
The Great Welsh Bake Off – Abergavenny Food Festival (Kitchen Stage)
Frances Quinn, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2013, led a session demonstrating her cute Honey Bee Bites recipe from her new book Quinntisential Baking. The Honey Bee BItes were topped with handmade marizpan bees, the same ones as Frances used to top her finale showstopper wedding cake! Frances gave out hints and tips to help perfect your very own marzipan bees, as well as shared stories about her time on set which was great to hear! She even showed that you can easily decorate lots of different cakes with her cute marzipan bees, as well as how easy it is to make your own marzipan. There isn’t any excuse now!
Frances was supported by Myfanwy Hywel, a 14 year old local girl who loves to bake and blogs over at LittleBakersBlog. Myfanwy was also running masterclasses at the castle for children, where she led a pizza making workshop. At the end of the demonstration, samples of Myfanwy’s Lemon Drizzle cake were available for all, so of course we had to try some! (It was absolutely delicious, do love a lemon drizzle cake) Attached to each portion was an adorable copy of Myfanwy’s recipe, so we’ll be trying that very soon!
While walking around the town we also found a really cute window display at Cooks Galley who sponsor Frances at the festival.
Churros Con Chocolate
These spanish doughnuts were our first purchase of the day. We had been craving churros for a while, so when we saw these being freshly made we new we had to get a portion. The hot churros, rolled in cinnamon sugar, came in a coffee cup filled with a rich hot chocolate sauce. They were absolutely delicious and we devoured them instantly. None of the chocolate sauce went to waste, as we drank any remaining sauce straight out of the cup. (The staff were really cute, happily dancing around their stall to the radio despite it being a brisk morning)
After finishing our churros we decided it was time for brunch, which in the end we settled on choosing a samosa chaat from Samosa Co. The samosa was stacked with Punjabi chickpea curry and chutneys, topped with a poppadom garnish. We’d never had a samosa chaat topped with poppadoms, but it was a lovely contrasting texture to the delicious samosa which worked surprisingly well. The curry was beautifully spiced and we’re almost embarrassed to admit how quickly we got through it!
They also had a large selection of samosas, onion bhajee scotch eggs, and an amazingly priced meal deal of curry with rice, three samosas/pakoras and poppadoms for only £6 which we thought was an absolute bargain.
After revisiting the Brewery Yard we decided to grab a portion of their meat paella for lunch, while on our way to see Frances Quinn. The smell coming from the stall was absolutely divine and when we saw the portion size we knew we had to get one to share. We were tempted by the vegan paella but decided at the last minute to order the meat one as it was just so enticing. It came with large chunks of delicious chicken which fell apart in your mouth, good-sized vegetable pieces and an exquisite sauce. (I was so happy when he said I could have the whole pepper slice!) One day we’ll manage to make a paella that tastes this good at home!
Shocka’s Coconut Hub
We didn’t buy any of Shocka’s freshly chopped coconut water, nor his alcoholic ‘Shocktails’ but we were very impressed with his coconut chopping skills and watched him for a while in awe! (Honestly his knife work was so beautiful)
This beautiful and bright stall, as you’d guess, sold tomatoes and tomato based products which are all grown on the Isle of White. As well as a huge selection of tomatoes, which came in all shapes, sizes and colours, they also had a selection of tomato based products including a delicious green tomato chutney and a chilli jam, which was pleasantly spicy yet slightly sweet which would go beautifully with some cheese. In the end we bought a snack pot of tomatoes for his sister as she’s addicted to them, which she was incredibly happy with!
We also spotted an adorable Piaggio coffee cart, some beautiful cakes and an equally beautiful sign.
One large part of the market that we missed out on was the Night Market, where all of the stores were lit up and open till 10pm which looked like it had a beautiful atmosphere and a beautiful end to a wonderful day out!