Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Newport Festival

No this isn't the United States and Jazz, its South Wales in the United Kingdom and its all about food. 

Last week, while I was in Wales staying with family, I had the opportunity to visit some different places, such as Cwmbran, Usk, Pontypool and Newport.  It was excellent timing to be in Newport as the city hosted its first ever Food Festival.  The 50 or so exhibitor and producer stalls were scattered around the city centre and food demonstrations were either at The Riverfront Theatre on the banks of the River Usk, or at the Newport Indoor Market where I got a peek of celebrity chef Stephen Terry.  It was a great way to explore the city if you were new to it. 
I know I am a foodie, but at the same time I am also a vegetable grower so the first stall that really got me excited was Earthed Up hosted by Siobhan.  The stall was shared with The Rudry Kitchen - a local food co -  operative made up of an eclectic mix of farmers, producers and friends, all using their talents to produce unique and exciting products. 
The vegetable gardener in me, just couldn't resist the Veg Patch Planner and with my dwindling pennies, it was the only thing I purchased at the festival. 
I really loved the illustrations on all of the seeds packets. I've only ever seen something similar on American fellow bloggers sights, but never in the U.K. I really could have purchased one of each, but it had to be eye candy this time.
As I walked down Newport High Street, I could see that the organisers had put on plenty of family and street entertainment such as the Trolls Kitchen.  
Click on image below to view some of the far out ingredients to make repugnant stews, rancid cupcakes, mangy salads and putrid smoothies.
I got my nephews to read some of the ingredients and they went Yuk!
Onion and garlic man with his french beret and kerchief, but not his Breton stripy shirt.  He's forgiven though as it was a bit nippy.
A vegetarian stall selling pakoras, pies, smoked butternut squash lasagne and a pumpkin and chickpea curry. I did pick up a Vegetable Pie and really wanted to like it, but I was a tad disappointed as the filling was really, I mean really salty that I couldn't eat it. 
Some home-made Welsh soup.

Artizani: the giant walking lobster which amused my nephews and nieces.  I missed out on seeing the three comedy chef musicians: The Courgettes, and the Green Fingered Gals.  All in all I thought it was good for a first time foodie event. The only thing I think it would have made it better is if all the stalls were in one place like the city's John Frost Square. I noted some stalls were isolated and barely picking up traffic, had I been in there shoes I would not have been a happy bunny. Anyway, lets hope the Newport Food Festival continues as well as it has started, it certainly has plenty of potential.
I for one will definitely be heading back to Newport.  For a start it has a fairly well stocked Indoor Market with a wide range of traders including fruit and vegetables and to entice you into the market more so, you will get the gentle waft of freshly cooked welsh cakes teasing your nose. You won't be able to resist.

Updated: 2013 - Newport Food Festival 2013. 
There are also a lot of quirky things to look at and be amused - Darth Vader from Star Wars.  I was also impressed at the number of independent niche shops in the arcades and coffee shops.

These  novelty machines made me smile.  It reminded me of times when I was at school and had a crush on a handsome boy.  I recall putting my hand in something similar like the Love Tester to see how madly in love I was with him.  These days I need to check my stress levels!
Finally we also walked over to the Riverfront Theatre. I have to admit, I wasn't really wanting to see chefs demonstrations, wanting to just absorb the sights. These pocket size four foot Welsh Dragons were quite sweet. 


  1. Seems like you had a wonderful day there. I love these dragons!

  2. Looks like a good festival. And i love The Parsnipship vegetarian stall, i eat from the Yorkshire one a couple of times a month - they are brilliant!

  3. Hi, after you said hi on my blog I had to check you out. Your blog is very intersting so I have added myself as a follower

  4. What a wonderful event, something for everyone in the family!

    Sandie xx

  5. Wow looks amazing, this is the kind of thing that we miss when we are away, we're curious to see more of Wales when we are back in the UK too. The smoked pumpkin lasagne sounds wonderful.

  6. This looks like such a fun festival! Who knew Darth Vader was a foodie? :)

    I probably would have screamed if I saw that giant lobster coming at me. But those baby dragons are adorable. Thanks for the nice comment on my blog!

  7. What a cool festival! I love the frog prince brain from the Troll's Kitchen and of course these cute dragons :))

  8. This festival looks like great fun although I agree it would more navigable with everything grouped in one place. I enjoy the kind of drawings on those seed packets too. Kitchen art?

    The Welsh flag is one of my favorites. I have a friend who had one on her wall (just because she liked Wales), and I thought it was beautiful.

    Happy November.

  9. Thanks Lela.
    Me too - apparently there were loads of them around the city last year for an exhibition, only some of them survive.

    Thanks Jen.
    Yes they certainly had a good selection of grub.

    Thank you so, so much Cookie Jar.
    I am really thrilled

    Thank you Sandie.

  10. Thanks Yogi Kitchen.
    I am looking forward to exploring more of Wales too, each time I go down to see family i note something different.

    Thanks Sage.
    LOL - Darth Vader was a foodie!

    The giant lobster was amusing being led by the dressed up chef promoting the event, but i agree with you the baby dragons are adorable. Had I the space, I'd love one for my garden :)

    Thank you Torwen.
    Mmmm not sure what to say about the frog prince brain from the Troll's Kitchen; but agree with you about the cute dragons :)

    Thank you Miss Rachel.
    So please to read that you agree re the festival being grouped in one place.

    I love the Welsh flag too, but my husband would not permit to display it in our home - says i am no longer a student, and our home is a family home now - fair enough. Happy November to you too.

  11. Looks like you had a great time. And I love the dragons (of course). Newport's a nice place.

  12. Thanks Morning AJ.
    Like any place, it does have its characters, of course!


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