Crowds Flock to Foodie Extravaganza!
Thousands of visitors descended on Mold at the weekend to experience the delights on offer at the town’s annual food and drink festival.
Organisers of the Mold Food & Drink Festival said visitor numbers showed a slight increase on last year and hailed the event as a huge success.
John Les Tomos, Festival Chairman said: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant weekend and, once again, the weather was on our side, it was glorious. Saturday was incredibly busy and we also saw a higher number of visitors on Sunday compared to last year.
“We’ve received very positive feedback from our exhibitors. Around 140 attended this year, the most ever, and it was great to have so many more producers from the local area. The Festival is all about showcasing local food and drink and, as it has grown over the years, it has helped to build Flintshire’s reputation as a foodie destination which, in turn, benefits the local economy.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly over the weekend, including the students from Castell Alun High School and Argoed High School who worked backstage in the cookery theatre kitchen and also helped in the children’s cookery school. Everyone has put in a lot of effort to make the Festival a success.”
On Saturday celebrity chef Graham Tinsley and chefs from the North Wales Culinary Guild gave back to back demos and masterclasses delighting audiences with a broad range of recipes. Several of the dishes were taken from the Festival’s new ‘Flavours of Flintshire’ recipe booklet produced in association with Graham and he signed copies at intervals during the day for visitors to purchase. For the finale demo, the chefs split into two teams for an exciting Ready, Steady, Cook! style challenge using surprise ingredients gathered from exhibitors.
Celebrity chef Nick Nairn headlined the cookery theatre on Sunday and entertained packed audiences with his impressive cookery demonstrations, passing on tips and culinary techniques as he prepared and cooked a mouthwatering variety of starters, main courses and desserts during his three demos. He incorporated numerous ingredients from local exhibitors that he met on his initial walk around the Festival.
In between demos Nick signed copies of one of his best-selling cookbooks ‘Nick Nairn Cook School’ and enjoyed talking to visitors and taking questions from the audience. Speaking about his visit he said: “It’s a much bigger Festival than I had imagined, there are loads of really great producers here. I am very impressed with the overall organisation, it’s very professionally done.
“The cookery theatre set up is excellent and it’s great to see local high school students having the chance to get involved. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being here, there’s been a great rapport with the audiences throughout the day and there’s just a really good atmosphere!”
Included in Sunday’s cookery theatre line up were local chefs Tony Griffiths from The Crown, Lixwm and Phil Peacock from The Fat Boar, Mold who both cooked a selection of typical dishes from their respective restaurants.
Throughout the weekend audiences were provided with tasters of all the dishes cooked.
The Best of Welsh Bake-off Competition which is run in conjunction with the WI proved a great success again this year with over thirty lemon drizzle cake entries. Judges awarded first prize to Linda Owens from Mancot, second prize to Maureen Evans from Lixwm and third prize to Caragh Jones from Buckley.
A junior entry category was introduced this year which saw brothers Thomas and Peter Brennan, aged 10 and 8, from Gwernaffield win the first and second prizes respectively, and Holly Williams aged 9 from Flint won third prize. Celebrity chef Nick Nairn presented trophies and rosettes and congratulated all the winners on their success.
There was plenty of hands-on cooking fun in the children’s cookery school and food science lab too where youngsters enjoyed making scones and pizzas, and trying out a host of explosive food-based experiments.
Other attractions for festival goers included a marquee with a fascinating display of live bees and a honey show from the Flint & District Beekeepers’ Association, local crafts, arty activities by Spavens and a birds of prey display.
Local bands and musicians added to the feel-good festival atmosphere over the weekend providing entertainment to suit most musical tastes. Included in the stage line- up were newcomers Strictly Saxes, Yubaba, The Trigger Hounds, and Jim Bazley as well as festival regulars Skariad, The Drive, The Cheesecutters, Backbeat, Babylon Leaf, 50 Hertz , Pentenyn and Espionage. Both days kicked off to the start of brass bands with Mold Town Band on Saturday and Northop Brass Band on Sunday.
Also appearing on Saturday were the finalists from the Mold’s Got Talent competition who gave impressive singing performances.