Llangollen cooks up treat

Thousands of food lovers are preparing to make a bee line for a picturesque North Wales town.

They will be heading for Llangollen – where Wales meets the world – when it becomes the culinary capital of the UK for one  weekend.

There to greet them at the Hamper Llangollen 2012 on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, will be a  trio of top chefs who have signed up as the stars of the popular food festival.

Organisers are confident the event at the home of the International Musical Eisteddfod is on course to be bigger and better this year.

Graham Tinsley, the star of ITV’s Taste the Nation and a former captain of the Welsh Culinary Team, will be joined in the show kitchen by S4C favourite Dudley Newbery.

Completing the hat-trick will be the ever popular Dai Chef, who is returning to the event after an absence of several years.

It’s also been revealed that the quest for the perfect pint will be finally over at Hamper Llangollen 2012.

The award-winning Llangollen Brewery has created a new beer called Holy Grail Ale which will be launched at the festival.

It’s been inspired by a local legend involving the great Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis and Dinas Bran Castle, on the hilltop towering over the town.

According to the story, the castle is the final resting place for the Holy Grail, the cup that Christ drank from at the Last Supper and that there is a tunnel all the way down to the abbey below.

Adding an international flavour to the proceedings will be two Hungarian friends who are looking forward to their first ever visit to the festival.

Katalin Halmosi Clewsstarted her mobile catering business, A Little Taste of Hungary, last year, with fellow Hungarian Andrea Balogh.

“We both enjoy cooking and we thought we would like to introduce Hungarian food to the UK,” said Katalin, 34, who arrived in the UK in 2001 to learn English.

She and Russell live in Whittle-le-Woods between Chorley and Preston, but used to live in Gresford near Wrexham. Partner Andrea lives with her Hungarian chef husband Peter, at Flint Road, Saltney Ferry.

One of the main driving forces behind the festival is businessman Colin Loughlin, Chair of the local committee that runs the event, supported by the rural development agency, Cadwyn Clwyd.

Mr Loughlin said: “We have a wonderful array of fantastic food producers clustered in the area and the festival is the perfect shop window for them.

“A food festival is so much better and more interesting than going to the supermarket because here you can sample the food and talk to the producers.”

Cadwyn Clwyd’s 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.

Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd’s agri-food project officer, said: “In addition to many favourites, we have lots of new food producers wanting to come this year.

“The location of the Pavilion is absolutely  spectacular – I can’t imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting.”

For more information about the festival go to www.llangollenfoodfestival.com

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