The ever popular Cowbridge Food Festival returns this weekend, and promises to be the best one yet with over a hundred exhibition stands spread across three sites. Friend of Little Otter Events, Melanie Constantinou aka Baked by Mel will be there selling her amazing array of home bakes.
I had a chat with Mel about this year's festival and asked her for her highlights from over the years.
When did you first start attending Cowbridge Food Festival Mel?
My first ever Cowbridge Food Festival was in 2013… the end of October and the weather was absolutely shocking! Brrrrr… cold, wet and windy, the trinity of weather-misery! I was part of the Fringe Festival held in the Old Hall gardens and supported by Cywain. Despite the conditions the fellow stallholders and lovely customers made it an enjoyable and successful event. In fact it’s where I was introduced to Barnaby Hibbert of The Gallery, Barry. He liked my bara brith and I supplied it to his restaurant where he served it on the cheeseboard. If you have never tried bara brith with cheese I suggest you give it a go, especially as I now make a walnut & ale version. It’s a little less sweet than the original so it really makes an excellent cheese-companion, though I like them both to be honest.
What do you like best about the event?
As I live in Llantwit which is only a few miles away its truly a local event for me. This means I get to see lots of familiar faces during the festival and it makes it such a lovely sociable occasion! I love saying hello to friends old and new… so it’s a wonderful, bubbly atmosphere, which suits me down to the ground! It can be a bit lonely being a home baker. There’s just me, nobody for tea breaks or to organise a Christmas do!! When I get to Cowbridge Food Festival and people come to see me on the stall, its like, hellooooooo!!!
What are your festival highlights from over the years?
I think it would have to be in 2015. I had won a 2-star award for my bara brith recipe the previous august and launched my online shop during my first appearance at Abergavenny Food Festival of 2014. It led me to have the bara brith stocked in London’s Fortnum & Mason so when I had a stall at Cowbridge 2015 I had lots of customers coming to offer their congratulations and say how pleased they were for me. It was incredibly touching and I felt very thankful.
Do you have favourite makers that attend?
Ooooh… now that’s a tough one!! Honestly it’s quite hard to say because there are truly so many excellent producers. If I have to name names I would say the Hangfire girls (love them) and Samosaco… if you haven’t tried an onion bhajee scotch egg now’s your chance!! Naturally, I also have a bit of a thing for the greek souvlaki and also a tipple with Tomos a Lilford. I must also mention Artisan Cakes which is run by my friend Myfanwy. I got a lot of love for her and I really think she is the Mary Berry of the Vale. On top of all the market stalls and demo’s, the producers and street food we also have great food coming out of the pubs and restaurants. I hope this year is as popular as ever and everyone enjoys it as much as I do!
Thanks Mel and have a fabulous weekend!
Cowbridge Food Festival returns this weekend Sunday 27th and Monday 28th May. For ticket information and the run down on who will be there, visit the Cowbridge Food Festival website.
April Liddell. Founder of Little Otter Markets. Lives a crafty life. Loves going for walks with her dog Betsi, listening to music, and eating chelsea buns.