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3 reasons to visit Abergavenny

Although this small Welsh market town at the foot of the Black Mountains has plenty to warrant a visit all year round, September is the time to go. The town takes on a merry and collaborative atmosphere when Abergavenny’s annual food festival arrives, bringing with it like-minded (or should that be like-stomach’d?) home cooks and star chefs.

1. Abergavenny food festival

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Taking over the town in the middle of the month, this is an annual gathering of all things food-related and the grande dame of Welsh food festivals, having grown from small but firmly-planted roots in 1999. There’ll be 200 food producers, chef demos (Tom Kerridge and Hemsley + Hemsley among them) and workshops. A celebration of meat, a craft brew festival and an evening street food market are part of this year’s event, as is a special Feast With A Chef event cooked by Matt Gillan of The Pass.

2. The Hardwick

Consistently voted one of the country’s best restaurants, the Hardwick may be a pub, but chef Stephen Terry and wife Joanna have made it into something special. Try shoulder of local Brecon lamb with chargrilled purple sprouting broccoli, roasted red onion, deep-fried polenta, salsa verde and black olive. There are eight stylish bedrooms on-site, but if you’re staying at a local cottage, you can book one of the restaurant’s chefs to come and cook for you.

3. Cooks Galley

In business for even longer than the town’s food festival (it opened in 1988), this kitchenware shop is a place of pilgrimage for visiting cooks. From basic kitchen gadgets to toys for the professionals, it stocks most of the well-known brands and also hires out baking equipment. In association with Penny Lewis of local cookery school The Culinary Cottage, the shop also runs occasional evening demonstrations and classes, from ‘cakes and bakes’ to bread-making.


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