Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Food festival titillates the tastebuds

Neath's first Food Festival titillated the taste buds of hundreds of food lovers last weekend.

Connoisseurs from all over South West Wales descended on the town to tuck into the tasty delights on offer in Neath Port Talbot.

Opened by Ospreys and Wales prop Adam Jones, food and drink from farm producers, local businesses and brewers was showcased during the first Food Festival to be held in the town.

It is hoped that the festival will become a regular feature in the town, following its outstanding success.

Organised by Neath Port Talbot Council in conjunction with Ian and Sian Hindle, of locally based company La Creme Patisserie, the event has well and truly put Neath on the food festival map.

Ian said his phone has been ringing constantly since the event with messages of congratulations.

"The feedback has been excellent," he said. "People from Aberdare and Llanelli said they were shocked to discover what Neath has to offer. With so many out of town shopping centres attracting visitors out of towns, many of the people I spoke to were pleased to shop in a traditional town centre."

More than 30 traders from Neath Port Talbot and surrounding areas took part in the event on Saturday.

Stalls lined the main pedestrianised area, from the top of Green Street down to 'Next' square and through New Street onto Angel Square by Morrisons.

A number of traders from the Victorian Indoor Market selling fruit and vegetables, welsh cakes, laverbread and cockles, sausages, bacon, cheeses and cooked meats, faggots and peas, herbs, vegetables and bulbs, took part.

There was also a range of independent traders from Neath and other areas, including La Creme Patisserie, Penderyn Whisky, Fiona's Fudge, Pemberton's Chocolate Farm, Indian Cuisine and Trophy Foods who sell a variety of vegetarian foods.

Street entertainers adorned the streets, cookery demonstrations took place at St David's Church and a specialist Fair Trade stall also brought the plight of third world producers to the forefront of visitor's minds.

Other stalls included Neath Port Talbot Catering College, Communities First, Neath Port Talbot CVS, Dove Workshops and the Bluebell Hotel and the Castle Hotel.

Ali Thomas, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said the outstanding success of the event is testament to the hard work put in by everyone involved.

"All the traders saw the economic benefits of the food festival and have indicated that they would like to see it becoming a regular event," he said. "It has also raised the profile of the good, home grown and natural produce on offering the Neath Port Talbot and surrounding areas."

Terry Harvey, Neath Town Centre manager, added: "The festival was a wonderful success with people coming from as far afield as Bargoed and Carmarthen. We hope to repeat the success with future events."


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