Food lovers in North East Wales are in for a treat in the coming weeks as the region prepares for an autumn packed with foodie events featuring a host of fabulous local food and drink producers.
These delightful events are all hosted and dotted around the beautiful Clwydian Range, Dee Valley and Wrexham areas.
Many of the business showcasing at these events are clients of Cywain – a Menter a Busnes project. Cywain is a business-led programme dedicated to developing new and existing micro-businesses and SMEs in the Welsh food and drink sector, focusing on maximising opportunities and growth potential.
Says Alex James, Cywain’s marketing and events team leader, “We work with producers in a variety of ways to make sure they have the skills and support they need when selling to the public at events.
“North East Wales has an abundance of food and drink producers, and food festivals are an excellent way for producers to widen their customer base and promote their brands.”
Wrexham Food & Drink Festival – 7th & 8th of September
Organised by a community group that works on a not-for-profit basis, Wrexham Food and Drink Festival saw over 5,500 people visit the event last year. And the 2019 Festival will involve more than 75 local and regional food producers.
It will be the first time that James Duckers and Leigh Brigham will have brought their fresh, handcrafted doughnuts to Wrexham Food Festival – or indeed any festival!
The pair launched their enterprise – Doughnutology Chester – last October and deliver to customers within a 15-mile radius of their Wrexham home-town.
Says Leigh, “We take orders for our doughnuts up to midnight and then make them fresh the next morning and deliver them. We’ve done some markets and fetes, but this will be the first time we have done anything the size of Wrexham Food Festival. Cywain has given us lots of help, and we’ve been to meetings and workshops with them.”
Mold Food & Drink Festival 21st & 22nd September
Now in its 14th year, the festival is a blend of food, music and family fun. The event features firm favourites and new faces, and really brings the community together.
For Delaney’s Gluten Free Bakehouse, this foodie event will be on home turf.
Established in 2018 by Elaine Delaney, Mold was the first event the new bakery attended.
Says Elaine, “Last year’s festival was our first event, and it was unbelievable. It’s a fantastic event, and we had a really, really good time. Mold is our home, and we had such great support from friends, family and local people.
“Our products are fresh-baked, and we want to give people more gluten and dairy-free options. Being able to sell directly to the public is important, and it was wonderful to see the customer appreciation that we were making something new and exciting.”
Denbigh Plum Festival 5th October
The Denbigh Plum Festival is now in its eleventh year, but this will be the first festival since the fruit was granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in February, under the European Union Protected Food Name (EUPFN) Scheme.
It’s been a long road to achieving PDO status for the Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum – a technical process which takes several years to reach fruition. So, this year’s Festival will have a celebratory feel.
Once in decline, the fruit has undergone a renaissance in recent years and is used by a growing number of local producers in increasingly innovative ways.
One producer is Elisabeth Jones who infuses gin and vodka with fruit – including the Denbigh Plum – to create her Shlizzy range of liqueurs and chocolates.
Her Shlizzy Denbigh Plum Gin Liqueur has been going down well with customers.
She says “You can taste the difference between the liqueurs made with the Denbigh Plum and our other plums. Everyone who has tried it says they prefer the version made with Denbigh Plums.
“It is my third year doing the Denbigh Plum Festival, it is one of my favourite festivals, and it has a great community atmosphere. The festival has been going eleven years – and it’s getting bigger and better every year. It is very supportive of local food and drink producers, and it’s a great way to show the variety of produce from this area.”
Llangollen Food Festival 19th & 20th of October
Held at the world-famous music venue that is The Llangollen Pavillion, this Food Festival has visitors singing its praises.
A picturesque town on the banks of the River Dee, Llangollen is a magnet for tourists, drawn by the scenery, steam railway and cultural events including the International Eisteddfod.
A popular producer at food festivals and events across Wales and the borders, Rossett-based artisan chocolatiers – Aballu – will once again be taking part in Llangollen Food Festival.
Says Jo, “Llangollen Food Festival attracts a diverse range of people from all over – including overseas. Last year I met someone I haven’t seen since I used to serve them at a pub in Cardiff 20 years ago!”
Formed 13 years ago by Jo Edwards, Aballu also supplies retailers and the hospitality sector with its sumptuous chocolates.
Says Jo, “It is early days, but are working with Cywain to set up an online shop. They have been great, and we’ve done several courses with them to improve our selling and marketing skills. It is good to have someone there who we can contact and point us the right way – that’s such a big help to small businesses.”