10 June 2016

Chef Matt Tebbutt tells us about the joys of eating in mid-Wales at Humble's Big Day Out.

After a cracking start in 2015, Kate Humble’s Big Day Out is returning this July with more food, fun and games to keep the whole family entertained.

On the food front, I am looking forward to sampling some dishes from Aahaan Thai in Monmouth. They freshly prepare all the dishes daily, using local ingredients where possible. They get their Thai basil and other herbs from the aquaponics greenhouse on Kate’s farm, so I am excited to try some authentic Thai food with a Monmouthshire connection!

I will be cooking up some dishes in the Esse Fire Stone wood oven (to prove that they are not just for pizzas) and my friend Freddy Bird is tackling the fire pit to show us what delicious results can be produced even when you have no oven at all. 

The lovely chef Romy Gill will be slow-cooking goat from Humble Farm, Indian style. It’s sure to be good and spicy. I will be first in the queue to try the spoils from that food demo.

The irrepressible Jane Baxter and I will be cooking up some simple but tasty Italian dishes from our favourite holiday destination – Puglia - if she’s still got some energy left after preparing for her pop-up restaurant in the Long Barn on the Saturday night.

Stick around on Sunday for Roger Brook, head chef at the legendary Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, cooking a few staples from their menu over the years.

Trish McCurrach’s outdoor cookery is particularly good fun for the kids and David Jones, from Manna from Devon, and the Hang Fire Smokehouse ladies will also be showing how to do something a bit more exciting with your outdoor cooking this summer.

To wash it all down, Crafty Devil ales will be doing tastings of real ales. Or if wine is your preferred tipple, then Tom Innes, my favourite victualler is also on site.

Tom’s Fingal Rock wine shop in Monmouth stocks everything you need for everyday drinking and special occasions. Tom specialises in wines from small vineyards and family-run producers - and it shows in the quality of his wines. His white and red burgundies are particularly terrific.

But I have to say, we are particularly lucky in Monmouthshire having such a wealth of local suppliers. It makes it so easy for us to eat and drink so well. Here are a few of my long-term local favourites:

I have used Madgetts Farm in Chepstow for many years. Its very hard to beat their chicken and duck. They are also such great people and I always think the personality of the farmer shows in the quality of the produce.

Trealy Farm Charcuterie is a hugely successful artisan food business selling both to famous chefs nationwide as well as locally to farmers’ markets and at food festivals. I love their whole ethos and their respect for the animals they breed…but most importantly I love the charcuterie which is the end result!

Ancre Hill vineyard just outside Monmouth produces award-winning wines in a beautiful location. You can take a tour of the vineyard, have a light lunch of local cheese and wine and then buy a case of the latest vintage to take home.

There are, not one, but two traditional butchers in my local village of Raglan, both serving top quality meats. Perhaps most unusually, N S James still has its own abattoir which gives Neil that extra advantage of knowing the exact provenance of the animal he’s selling you. 

Monmouthshire is also a haven for the forager, as it has an abundance of wild foods. From seabeet and samphire on the seashore, to wild garlic and mushrooms in the forests and whimberries and elderflower on the mountain tops.

There really is no excuse for not eating well in this bountiful part of Wales.

Humble By Nature Big Day Out website