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Monday, October 21, 2013

Crowds come flocking to Hamper Llangollen

Foodies came in record numbers for a taste of the 2013 Hamper Llangollen food festival over the weekend, providing a big boost to the local economy.

With Llangollen Pavilion packed to capacity, visitors had the opportunity to browse stalls offering everything from hand-produced liquors to spice infused honey and home churned butter to delicious decorated cup cakes.

Hamper Llangollen 2013.

Celebrity chefs, including Graham Tinsley Harri Wyn Jones and Dai Chef and were on hand throughout the weekend to demonstrate the very best cooking techniques and some of their own award-winning recipes.

This year’s festival is being supported by Cadwyn Clwyd whose contribution came via the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.

The event has now been officially recognised as one of the top 10 food festivals in the UK.

Sisters, Rashelle Smith, 26, and Renee Smith, 27, of Ruabon showcased their Yours Truly Vintage Catering business at the Festival and drew a large crowd as they cooked up a Spanish chicken and chorizo paella in a huge open pan.


* Rashelle and Renee Smith with their Paella from Yours Truly.
Rashelle said: “This is our second time at Llangollen and the feedback we have had has been excellent. We have been so busy and it has to be good for our business.”

Renne added: “People tell us they are drawn to our stall thanks to the cooking aromas. I have to say we are really pleased with the sheer number of people here and the amount of interest shown in our produce and business.”

Among the new products being launched there this year was Britain’s oldest biscuit.


* Aberffraw Biscuit Co's James and Natasha Shephard with Ella Jones.

The ancient recipe for the Aberffraw biscuit dates back to the 13th century when it was first baked in the Anglesey village of the same name.

It’s now been brought back to life by former journalist James Shepherd and his wife Natasha, who live in Llansannan.

James said: “It has certainly been a learning curve and Natasha and I are delighted with the way our biscuits have been received by visitors to the festival this weekend.

“The event itself has given us the chance to seek advice from similar small enterprises and entrepreneurs as well as Cadwyn Clwyd.

“It has also given us a real platform to promote our exclusive brand of biscuits to a really wide audience and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to exhibit at what is one of the UK’s top food festivals.”

There was also a comeback from the woman who co-founded the festival – but this time as one of the exhibitors.

Sue Haygarth, from Buckley, was instrumental in setting up Hamper Llangollen when she worked for Denbighshire County Council’s Regeneration and Investment officer.

Sue chose this year’s event as the launchpad for her own one-woman business making mouth-watering macarons – her company is called KarmaSucre.

According to Dewi Davies, the Regional Strategy Director of Tourism Partnership North Wales, Hamper Llangollen  is a key part of their recipe for economic success in the region.

Recently the festival has also won a special award from Llangollen Town Council for its contribution to the commercial life of the town.

It’s estimated the event pumps nearly £400,000 into the local economy every year with £156,000 being spent at the event and a further £234,000 being spent in the town and the surrounding area.

The Food North Wales campaign launched by Tourism Partnership North Wales is aimed at building on that success and showcasing the very best in regional produce.

Mr Davies added: “It’s vital we raise awareness of our food and its authenticity. We are increasingly finding that visitors to the region like the look of our food, they like the taste of our food and they are spreading the word and telling others about the quality of the food on offer here in North Wales.

“It is fabulous to see Llangollen in the sunshine, the car park full and the pavilion packed to the rafters with festival goers, some of whom have travelled a considerable distance.”

He added: “We should not lose sight of the fact that high quality food and drinks are increasingly important to our visitors and the Hamper Llangollen Food festival certainly showcases the quality products we have on offer.”

Cllr Hugh Evans, the Leader of Denbighshire County Council, added: “I have nothing but praise for all those involved with the Festival including the exhibitors who have put on such a fantastic show.

“The sheer volume of people who have come along to visit is proof of what a wonderful event this really is. It is clearly something we should all, in North Wales, be very proud of.”

It was a sentiment shared by Gareth Evans, company secretary of rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd, who supported sponsored the event.

He said: “The festival is now a very important event in the calendar and people are not just browsing, they are spending their hard earned cash and buying the quality goods on offer.

“I have watched the Festival grow and expand since the first  event was held way back in 1999.

“This is clearly a very sustainable industry that can only be good for the region and rural North Wales in general.”

Carolyn Thomas, chair of Flintshire County Council, chair of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Cadwyn Clwyd director, said the Hamper Llangollen Food Festival was a brilliant example of co-operation.

She said: “Flintshire and Denbighshire work closely together to promote the area along with our colleagues from other North Wales authorities.

“This wonderful event showcases the very best of what we have on offer right across the region.

“The Festival highlights the very best of North Wales and shows just what the community has to offer.

“We can and must learn from each other and continue to showcase North Wales to the world. The Hamper Llangollen Food festival plays an important part in doing that.”

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