Produce markets, masterclasses, cooking demos and family-friendly entertainment all make fantastic ingredients for a day out. Here are some of the best food festivals in South Wales.
Welsh Perry and Cider Festival is a small but very popular four-day festival that takes place at Caldicot Castle, Monmouthshire. It’s a great opportunity to find out what’s new in Wales’ craft perry and cider making industry, which uses fruit from Welsh orchards specially planted for the purpose. There’s live music each day and family entertainment on the Monday.
Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival is held over a weekend, It is a family-friendly festival with more than 100 different stalls selling everything from juicy Welsh hog-roast baps to sea salt caramels and melt-in-the-mouth cupcakes. Also on offer are Welsh wines and liqueurs from Cwm Deri Vineyard in Pembrokeshire and delicious cheeses from Caws Teifi Cheese and Snowdonia Cheese Company.
Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival takes place in the summer and brings three days of gourmet delights to Cardiff Bay, with over 100 food and drink producers manning stalls. With live music and masses of demos and workshops, this outdoor event draws huge crowds in good weather. To people-watch in style, take a seat in the Champagne Bar for a cool glass of bubbly.
Staying in Cardiff, check out Bite – a one-day food festival with a difference. Set in the gardens of Insole Court mansion in Llandaff, 40 chefs and producers share their skills and samples of their produce. Food is fairly priced (capped at £3 per dish) so that visitors don't have to blow the bank to experience a culinary treat.
If you love cheese, it's hard to resist a festival called The Big Cheese. Caerphilly hosts this weekend-long extravaganza. There are are three huge food halls, street food areas, live cookery demos, a live lounge and bar area and all the medieval activities and hijynx that a setting like this demands.
Abergavenny Food Festival takes place in the heart of ultra-foodie Monmouthshire. This weekend event is one of the most high-profile food festivals in the Welsh calendar. As well as international celebrity masterclasses, demos and talks, there’s plenty of lighthearted entertainment and imaginative activities including guided foraging walks.
Great Welsh beer and Cider Festival takes place over three days in September, The Campaign for Real Ale transforms The Depot in Cardiff into the biggest pub in Wales, stocking beers from every one of Wales’ 60 or so real ale breweries. There’s hot competition for the Champion Beer of Wales title – in 2018, Swansea’s Boss Brewing grabbed gold.
Neath Food Festival was founded in 2009 and has since grown steadily. It’s all about the value of local sourcing, with plenty of South Wales specialities such as Welsh cakes, laverbread, cockles, sausages, faggots and peas on offer. Suppliers from Neath’s Victorian Market offer tastings and chefs from the best restaurants in town hold demo sessions.
Tiny Rebel Newport Food and Drink Festival is a buzzing one-day festival that only began in 2011, but has already attracted top flight Welsh chefs including Bryn Williams of Odette’s in Primrose Hill, London, and James Sommerin. The programme includes demonstrations from local chefs and street entertainment for all the family.