For the last 21 years, Abergavenny Food Festival has highlighted and celebrated Wales’ thriving food scene, and the chefs, producers, farmers, and growers who all work so hard to make it what it is.
Every year, the rural market town becomes a hub of activity, as staging in the Castle grounds is erected; new, locally-commissioned artwork is hung in the market hall; and more than 35,000 people flood into the town to enjoy a four-day extravaganza of food, drink and culture.
But this year, a global pandemic and social distancing measures mean that September 2020 will break with tradition. But whilst Abergavenny town centre won’t be the bustling hub of activity that it usually is – this bastion of the Welsh food scene will still go ahead, online.
Kicking off on 14th September and running for a whole week, ardent food-lovers can get a taste of festival life from the comfort of their own homes by attending the Virtual Abergavenny Food Festival 2020, what’s more most of the events are free.
Today, 1st September, it was announced that joining the line-up will be food writer Anna Jones, chef and bestselling author Sabrina Ghayour, award winning writer and broadcaster Tim Hayward, chefs Steven Terry, Hywel Griffiths and Cyrus Todiwala, food and drink writer Fiona Beckett and the Cook School Club, with more to be announced. The festival will be opened by friend of the festival Kate Humble.
Also joining the line-up are festival favourites Gower Cottage Brownies, Belazu, Caws Cenarth, Chase Distillery, Ultracomida, and many more.
Across the seven days, ticket holders will be able to enjoy all of the usual Abergavenny Food Festival highlights; from tutored tastings to debates, cooking demonstrations, and access to insider info from some of the industry’s top talent.
The full festival programme, timings and details on how to reserve a space will be launched on the Abergavenny Food Festival Website at 6pm on Tuesday 1st September.
The Virtual Abergavenny Food Festival will be free to attend, but spaces will be limited and festival fans are encouraged to sign up to the Abergavenny Food Festival newsletter to receive a notification as soon as tickets are available.
The option to purchase food and drink to accompany the tasting events will also be made available from Tuesday onwards. Patrons will also be able to make a donation toward the cost of running the festival, if they wish.
Kim Waters, acting CEO of Abergavenny Food Festival said today:
“We know how many people keep this week free in their diaries year after year, so we wanted to send them a little postcard from us, to them. We hope to see some familiar faces, even if they are on screen, rather than in person.
He continued. “Cancelling this year’s ‘real life’ festival was a sad decision but the right one to make; and the silver lining is that it has given us and our sponsors even longer to make sure that 2021 will be the best year yet.
In its 21-year history to date, the festival is used to navigating hiccoughs, from snowstorms to the foot and mouth outbreak. It is thanks to the supporters, stall holders, speakers, chefs, volunteers and sponsors that it continues to thrive, and it is a testament to them that this virtual version of the festival is going ahead.”
Cyrus Todiwala said:
“Join me and some fabulous food and drink friends for a week of Virtual Abergavenny #VAFF2020. Learn a new skill, join a virtual tasting or a live debate. We may not be together for Abergavenny Food Festival this year but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun!”