* Welsh and proud, Welsh Government Tourism Minister Ken Skates, left, and Hamper Llangollen Chairman Colin Loughlin show off some of the finest local produce.
A flourishing food festival is offering to showcase the products of new food and drink producers – and the appeal is being backed by the Welsh tourism minister.
Hamper Llangollen boasts an enviable track record as one of the UK's most popular food events and one that has been a successful platform for innovative new food and drink from North Wales.
The two-day October festival has helped launch successful products like the Aberffraw biscuit, Blodyn Aur extra virgin rapeseed oil and the Dangerous Food Company’s chilli jam.
It is expected that this year’s 19th annual event will again attract thousands visitors to browse over 120 stalls at Llangollen’s Royal International Pavilion.
That’s music to the ears of Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism and Sport, in whose Clwyd South constituency the event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18.
He said: “Hamper Llangollen is an incredible success and a great annual occasion for the Dee Valley.
“I’m particularly pleased that there’s a focus on encouraging new exhibitors and giving prominence to the many outstanding food and drink producers in North Wales for whom it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase their unique and delicious products.
“Food tourism is proving to be big business and we are delighted to welcome thousands of visitors each year, many of them from England, to see some of the fantastic landscape and heritage we have and enjoy the best of food and drink.
“The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty was recently extended through the Dee Valley and visitors are able to enjoy the phenomenal hills, mountains, rivers and valleys where this wonderful food is produced.”
Over the years the festival has introduced the public to a range of different and innovative foods as well as boasting household names like Patchwork Pate and Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt among its exhibitors.
It has also been named one of the UK’s Top Ten food festivals by national newspaper The Independent and each year it generates over £400,000 for the local economy.
Hamper Llangollen chairman Colin Loughlin said: “We are very keen to hear from new producers as we have been very successful in helping launch some amazing products.
“We have special rates for new products and even a special section of the festival especially for them where we can give them prominence.
“They are the lifeblood of events like this and we appreciate the importance of making sure the event is always fresh and has something new to taste.
“Last year we had South African dunking biscuits and they were very successful and I’m pleased to say that they’re back again this year.
“We want to promote the fact that the facilities are here for producers so that they can show off their new products to an appreciative public and we are also careful to make sure that we don’t have more than two of any one kind of producer.”
The one area he would like to see better represented is vegetables: “Perhaps it’s the time of year but I would really like to see more of them on show in all sorts of forms and we’d love to hear from growers and indeed any new producers.”
For more information on Hamper Llangollen go to http://www.