Town comes out for festival as sun shines on Narberth By Sarah Hoss Narberth’s 10th famous food festival saw an increased attendance on last year as thousands flocked to the town moor for a taste of ‘something spicy’ for the weekend. Celebrity chefs mingled with local food producers and townsfolk creating a carnival atmosphere in the town. More than 40 specialist food stalls experienced brisk business throughout the weekend in the main festival marquee, while audiences packed out the cookery demonstrations in the food theatre. ‘It’s our favourite festival in terms of the friendliness of the organisers, the value for money and the positive attitude of the people attending,’ said Edward Tobin of Aardvark Books. Their stand hosted book-signings with the celebrity chefs and enjoyed brisk trade throughout the weekend. Taking up the biggest marquee the festival has used in its 10 year history, tastingtalks on wild food, cheese, wine, sushi and local food history proved very popular throughout the weekend. Twin town Ludlow’s former and current mayors also attended the festival and were a constant source of help and support. ‘Narberth has a strong presence at their food festival where we showcase our local food producers and they reciprocate and bring their talents to Narberth which has created a strong bond between the people of both towns’ said festival chairman Jacqui Palit. Street entertainers kept the crowds amused with their whacky ostrich, camel and giant bunny stilt routines and back by popular demand was Sister Ruth on her motorised piano which attracted hordes of Narberth children. Free craft activities, food technology experiences in a traditional yurt and local icecreams created a family atmosphere in what has become ‘Britain’s friendliest food festival’. Celebrities Sophie Grigson (sponsored by the Welsh Farmhouse Company, Narberth) , Angela Gray (sponsored by St Brides Bay Hotel, Saundersfoot) , Elisabeth Luard (the festival’s patron) and Dudley Newberry (sponsored by S4C) attracted large crowds to their cookery demonstrations while fresh food was served throughout the day such as crêpes, Dutch pancakes, Harmony Herd wild boar burgers, freshly cooked Paella from the Feathers Royal Hotel, Aberaeron, and Portuguese specialities from the chefs at Narberth's Gallery Restaurant.
The food festival team and Welsh Baccalaureate students from Pembrokeshire College – all enthusiastic volunteers – also put on an education day for local primary schools. The event, which introduced children to an array of herbs and spices and gave them, hands-on cooking experience – was held on Friday prior to the main festival. Narberth and Tavernspite schools attended. The participants experienced – and tasted – a variety of foodstuffs from home-made bread and spicy beef and lamb burgers and sausages from Narberth butcher Andrew Rees; learned how to make fruity smoothies, tasted spicy cakes made to traditional medieval recipes by historian Terry John, tasted an array of local cheeses including those made with spices, and had a virtual world tour following the spice trail with the help of a fantastic selection of herbs and spices from all over the world, supplied by Wisebyʼs Narberth. International students studying at Pembrokeshire College brought some exotic flavours to the event by cooking dishes from their home countries for the youngsters to try, such as spicy aubergine from Turkey and Malaysian prawn curry. Pip Lewis of Space to Create lead craft workshops, which produced large banners decorated with a food theme that then flew over the festival showground throughout the weekend. On Sunday, Welsh celebrity chef Angela Gray cooked a special Sunday lunch at Ultracomida, Narberth, using local produce including pork reared within a couple of miles of Narberth – supplied by Bethesda Meats. Second year catering students from Pembrokeshire College assisted, gaining valuable fine dining experience. Local musicians kept the atmosphere going in the live music marquee (sponsored by Dingle Marquees) including Pat Grovor and the Hawks with a brilliant rhythm and blues set. The festival was brought to a close with a lively gig in the marquee on Sunday evening, where local band Renthouse Groove warmed up the crowd for the main act ska-sensation Los Albertos. See next weekʼs paper for details of competition winners and more photographs.
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