A town where Wales meets the world will be transformed into the culinary capital of the UK – for one weekend only.
Thousands of foodies will be making a bee-line for the annual Llangollen Food Festival which has established itself as a major highlight in the gastronomic calendar.
As a result, it’s been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the UK by the Independent and Daily Telegraph newspapers.
This year’s event on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20 ,will be held as ever at the iconic pavilion which also stages the iconic Llangollen International Musical Festival.
Among the stars of the festival will be TV chef Chris ‘Foodgasm’ Roberts who went from being a man who cooked on an old-fashioned spit roasting fire with his friends, without anyone watching, to overnight fame as a Facebook foodie with thousands of fans.
He will be championing the use of Welsh meat with his outdoor cookery demonstrations at the food festival.
Chris said: “There is always variation when cooking on an open-fire, instinct needs to be used when adapting to the climate outdoors.
“You must feel the food, the heat, test the temperature and be patient. When the food’s ready, it’s ready. I’m not just putting food in the oven and waiting for three hours, I work with the elements and the experience is always different.
“I want to show that we have amazing local produce, to showcase and celebrate the local food. Food is the best way of bringing people together, it makes life worth living and makes everyone feel good.”
Another highlight will come courtesy of a nature-loving duo who will be inspiring families to embrace their “inner wildness” and help beat stress with “camp fire” cooking.
Forest school and bushcraft experts James and Lea Kendall will be hosting interactive cooking workshops throughout this year’s event to reconnect parents and children with nature to boost their mental wellbeing.
The couple, who run the highly successful Woodland Classroom in Wrexham, will be unlocking the gastronomic secrets hidden in Wales’ hedgerows and forests and creating a range of mouth-watering treats.
Children will get the chance to toast popcorn over the camp fire and make hedgerow tea, toffee apple slices, hazel chocolate parcels and hedgerow crumble from freshly foraged berries and other herbs and plants on site.
Parents, meanwhile, will be introduced to “weeds for wellbeing” and will learn about the medicinal benefits of a host of garden herbs and plants – as well as the joys of “hunting and gathering” as a family.
Edible slime-making, C02 rocket building and pizza designing are also on the menu as part of science-inspired cookery workshops delivered by Kiddy Cook.
The business, founded by former BBC Radio Leicester presenter turned marketing expert Nikki Geddes, has become a national success since launching 15 years ago from Nikki’s kitchen – and now boasts 13 franchisees across England and South Wales.
At Llangollen, her sessions will include ‘Fizz! Bang! Wallop’ where children will discover how Co2 makes dough rise with bread bubble bombs and carbon dioxide rockets and ‘Bonkers Bacteria!’ which is an interactive session about hygiene and germ prevention.
Former university lecturer Kevin Flower will be unveiling the special edition gin after setting up his new solar-powered distillery in time for the food festival.
Kevin, 53, who taught chemistry at the University of Manchester, has developed the eco-friendly distillery in the garage at his home in Conwy.
Three years ago he threw caution to the wind, alongside university pals Andy Whiting and Euan Noble, to develop a unique brand of gin based on decades of combined scientific expertise.
Their company, PHure Liquors, continues to go from strength to strength with a growing list of stockists including pubs, delicatessens and off licences across North Wales.
It will be their second visit to the Llangollen Food Festival and this time they will be launching the new Autumn gin flavoured with seasonal fruits and berries.
Sicilian cook Marina Midolo, 51, from Cyffylliog, near Ruthin, is ditching plastic packaging to launch a new range of classic Italian meals contained in reusable pottery dishes at the festival.
Initially, Marina concentrated on producing Italian sweets, cakes and savouries which are on sale at delicatessens, community shops and hotels across the region.
Now Marina is looking to expand her product range but wants to ensure there is no plastic packaging or anything else about her products that could harm the environment.
So she and her partner Peter Lamb have come up with the idea of a new reusable pottery dish that can be refilled with new meals or returned and the deposit paid at the time of purchase returned to the customer.
Festival committee member Phil Davies said: “We have a wonderful array of fantastic food producers clustered in the area for whom we can provide a shop window.
“I’m glad to say we’re also making a positive contribution the local economy with food lovers travelling from far and wide because the festival is now firmly and rightly established as a major highlight in the UK’s culinary calendar.”
“One of the things I am particularly looking forward to is seeing the chef, Chris Roberts, in action.
“He doesn’t need a kitchen, he doesn’t even need ovens or hobs to cook, alternatively, he uses good old-fashioned spit roasting fire and smoke, this cooking method is what turned him in to the barbecue beast that he is today.