Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Welsh fish is the catch of the day at Abergavenny Food Festival

It has been likened to the Cannes festival of the food world, and once again food lovers are spoilt for choice at the Abergavenny Food Festival.

The annual event attracts thousands of visitors who come:
  • to taste and buy an array of food and drink;
  • to watch top chefs in action, and;
  • to take part in discussions about the food industry.
For the first time there is a dedicated Welsh fishing industry presence at the Festival with three Celtic Crab Products, Menai Oysters and the South and West Wales Fishing Communities.

Haverfordwest based Celtic Crab Products are selling a range of fresh Welsh crab and lobster products;

Menai Oysters, based in Anglesey, will be selling mussels and oysters farmed in the Menai Strait, with champagne also on offer to accompany the oysters;

The South and West Wales Fishing Communities - a fishermen's association based in south-west Wales – is selling a range of seasonal, locally-caught fresh Welsh fish.

There is an extremely buoyant aquaculture industry in Wales:

50% of Europe's mussels are supplied from North Wales, and;
shellfish accounts for the majority of landings by Welsh fishing boats;

with over 400 boats in the Welsh fleet.

However, there has historically been a lack of supply chain infrastructure something the Welsh Assembly Government is working with the industry to address.

The majority of Welsh catch is exported or sent to markets around the UK. However, the industry - including those companies mentioned above - is working hard to raise the profile and supply of Welsh fish within Wales.

Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones said:

"With several hundred miles of pristine coastline, a wide range of fresh, high-quality seafood is landed year-round in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government is proud to have brought Welsh fish to the Abergavenny Food Festival for the first time as part of our drive to increase awareness of just how strong a product we have here in Wales, and to make that product available locally.

"The Food Festival here in Abergavenny is a “Gateway to Wales”, attracting people from around the world and showing them what Wales has to offer. The Welsh Assembly Government is pleased to support this prestigious event once again and I look forward to my visit.

"Abergavenny’s Market Hall and the Angel Hotel’s ballroom will host a variety of Wales the True Taste Food and Drink Awards winning produce. Monmouthshire was named True Taste Food Tourism Destination at last year’s awards and the historic market hall will be the focus of this year’s True Taste Awards. The climax of which will be held at the hall on November 19th.

"The Festival also embodies many of the principles of the Food Tourism Action Plan which was launched earlier this year by the Welsh Assembly Government. It highlights the importance of food to the tourism industry. It emphasises the need for high quality, local food as a means of providing an excellent visitor experience whilst in Wales."


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