In the pursuit of quality journalism and delicious eats, the Quench Food team set out for the Cowbridge Food & Drink Festival…
Words: Emilia Ignaciuk
Already in its eighth year, the festival, although relatively small in size, boasts quite an impressive number of exhibitors and guests. Cowbridge itself is the perfect location – this quaint town, located just a half hour drive from Cardiff, provides the ideal setting for this kind of event with its relaxed atmosphere and charming high street.
There were numerous activities to take part in, such as talks, workshops and cooking demonstrations, as well as family entertainment and arts and crafts but obviously, what was at the centre of the event was the bustling main festival marquee, where it was possible to sample and purchase food from numerous, mostly Welsh suppliers. After trying some of it for ourselves, it was easy to see why it drew such interest – there was an extraordinary variety of foods on offer, ranging from the familiar to the almost experimental. We had the chance to come across products you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else – because really, where else can you try whiskey cheddar or lavender biscuits? And I can assure you that both of these are delicious.
Nevertheless, the more familiar fare wasn’t something to scoff at either – especially the sheer variety of preserves, not to mention some very inviting desserts. Most of the products on offer were locally sourced and sold by the people that made them, which definitely helped create a welcoming atmosphere.
All that degustation definitely made one work up quite an appetite, and luckily the festival also featured a separate marquee with food truck-style dishes, which had something for everyone, from classic comfort food (with the pies worth a special mention) to Indian cuisine. However, a greater variety of stalls would be quite welcome. It’s quite rare to have the opportunity to have such a tasty meal in a casual atmosphere – and more importantly, the length of some of the queues proved to be quite discouraging. As unlikely as that sounds, maybe the organisers weren’t quite prepared for that level of interest.
Though the food was nice, the “drink” part turned out to be a bit of a letdown. Personally, I was quite excited to try some local specialities – but the selection of beers and ciders wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary, and what we tried was a bit underwhelming. After that, we were quite eager to investigate the champagne marquee as consolation. Apparently it wasn’t just us, as the volume of crowds inside it put us off this idea quite quickly.
The festival spans a whole weekend, but it is safe to say that considering its size, one day was enough to sample everything it had to offer – however, I should point out that it also made it ideal for a thoroughly enjoyable, fulfilling day out. We’ll definitely be coming back next year, and even if you’re not a sworn foodie and just want to experience a bit more of Wales, I would recommend you pay a visit to Cowbridge as well.