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 Saturday was particularly busy. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and we have received positive feedback from our exhibitors, many of whom have already booked for next year which is very encouraging.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to all the volunteers who worked so hard over the weekend, including the students from Castell Alun High School and Argoed High School who worked backstage in the cookery theatre kitchen and helped in the children’s cookery school. Everyone has put in a lot of effort to make the Festival a success.”
“We are already thinking about next year and we will be looking at way of developing and growing the event moving forward. The Festival has really helped to build Flintshire’s reputation as a foodie destination and this brings huge benefits to the local economy.
On Saturday, star baker, Jo Wheatley, gave a series of baking demonstrations in the cookery theatre, showing audiences how to make a variety of scrumptious cakes and bakes, including a show stopping orange, chocolate and praline meringue. The recipes were taken from her book, ‘Home Baking’ which she signed copies of in between demos.
Expert chef Graham Tinsley MBE received a warm welcome as he took to the stage to prepare a host of delicious dishes using produce from the local area. He also teamed up with local butcher, Peter Rushforth, to cook a range of distinctively flavoured dishes using cuts of Clwydian Range Lamb and a selection of ingredients from exhibitors.
Headlining Sunday’s programme, celebrity chef Jean-Christophe Novelli 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.
In between demos he signed copies of his book, ‘Simply Novelli’ and enjoyed talking to visitors and taking questions from the audience.
Speaking about his return visit he said: “I am hugely honoured to be invited back to one of the greatest food festivals nationwide. It is extremely well organised.
“There are so many wonderful local producers here, and it is lovely to talk to people I had met here six years ago and also to meet lots of new producers. I used some of the produce such as the Welsh luing beef and Welsh lamb in my demonstrations and, when the quality of the ingredients is this good, it is a delight to cook and helps to do the job for me.
“There is so much going on for children and I really like the emphasis on healthy eating, which fits with my style of cooking.
“I have really enjoyed coming back, and I would like to bring my family to enjoy the experience.”
Also showcasing their culinary skills with local produce were Kelvin Parry, Head Chef at The Dining Room restaurant, Llanrhaeadr Springs, and Mark Robinson, chef lecturer at Coleg Cambria.
The Best of Welsh Bake-off Competition which is run in conjunction with the WI proved a great success yet again this year with entries well up, especially in the junior category. The competition invited entries of homemade coffee and walnut cake and prizes were presented to the winners by Jean-Christophe Novelli.
The junior entry category was won by Georgina Molloy. In second place was Elen Davies, and Peter Brennan won third prize.
Caroline Lutchmiah scooped first prize in the adult category, Rebecca Boulderstone came second and Hazel Evans won third prize.
There was plenty of hands-on cooking fun in the children’s cookery school and food science lab where youngsters enjoyed learning to make healthy treats and trying out experiments such as inflatable balloons and bicarb rockets.
The Tesco Farm to Fork Healthy Eating Trails which were a new addition to the event this year were very popular and most sessions were fully booked. Children learned about which foods to choose for a balanced diet, and enjoyed making their own healthy snacks. Staff also demonstrated a selection of Tesco’s ‘Food Love Stories’ recipes for visitors to try.
Other attractions for festival goers included a beekeeping exhibition and honey show, apple pressing with Growing Ruabon, sugar craft demos by Lovelies Delights, and paint technique workshops with Florence & Bunce.
Local bands and musicians added to the great atmosphere over the weekend. Included in the stage line- up were newcomers Platform 1, Six Ton Dog and singer songwriter, Joel Anthony, as well as festival regulars Skariad, Babylon Leaf, 50 Hertz , Cor Y Pentan, Pentenyn and Espionage. The Drive, Yubaba, Strictly Saxes and Jim Bazley who gigged at the festival for the first time last year also made appearances over the weekend. Both days kicked off to the start of brass bands with Mold Town Band on Saturday and Northop Youth Band on Sunday.
Also appearing on Saturday were the finalists from Mold Carnival’s ‘Time to Shine’ talent competition who gave impressive singing and dance performances.