THOUSANDS of food lovers will descend on Llangollen this weekend as the town stages its 14th annual food festival. (October 15 and 16)

One of the major events on the Welsh culinary calendar, this year’s Llangollen Food Festival has attracted more than 100 independent food and drink producers and draws crowds from across North Wales and over the border.

With just days to go to the big weekend, organisers are adding the finishing touches to the festival they hope will be the best yet.

The new-look Hamper Llangollen 2011 has been organised by a group made up of local business people, festival venue Llangollen Pavilion, Cadwyn Clwyd, community leaders and Denbighshire County Council.

Committee chairman Colin Loughlin, from Llangollen-based cake producer Megan’s Kitchen, is one of a small team of local producers also behind the revival of the town’s farmers market.

He said: “The success of food festivals and farmers markets just shows that despite the economic gloom, the public still has an appetite for discovering smaller producers and trying new things.

“In some ways this makes the festival even more important, not just for producers but for families perhaps looking at alternatives to the weekly or monthly supermarket shop.

“We’ve had fantastic support from the producers once again and there’s a real buzz locally with the festival now just a few days away. I’m sure it’s going to be terrific.”

Hamper Llangollen 2011, held over Saturday and Sunday, features cookery demonstrations from some of Wales’s best-known chefs, presentations on food, jam making and grow-your-own produce.

This year a new Real Ale trail will link the festival’s Pavilion venue with the town’s hostelries.

S4C chef Dudley Newbery will lead the cookery demonstrations, and will be joined by Graham Tinsley, executive chef of The Castle Hotel in Conwy and a regular from ITV’s Taste the Nation.

“I’ve done Llangollen several times and it’s the sort of event I really like,” said Dudley.

“It’s great to be part of a festival where people take such a keen interest in food, where a room that seats 180 to 200 people is full.

“It’s a big event, well organised in a great venue, and in Llangollen it’s in one of the most beautiful settings in Wales.”

The 2011 festival has a “back to basics” theme. Emphasis will fall on grow-your-own ingredients and there will be presentations on honey and honeybees, the different varieties of apples, growing salads, and olives and the health benefits of olive oil.

Luxury items will be in abundance too, and there will be plenty of tasty treats and delicious drinks on offer, including the best local beers via the Real Ale trail.

The food festival has once again attracted high quality producers from across the UK, from handmade ice cream makers to enticing liqueurs made from a little-known, so called “superfruit” cultivated here in Wales.

Hamper Llangollen 2011 takes place on Saturday October 15 and Sunday October 16, from 10am to 5pm both days. Tickets are £5 for adults, £4 comcessions, with children (under 16s) free. Real Ale trail tickets cost £5 for five halves of beer and free shuttle bus transport between participating hostelries.