Food festivals and Welsh language policy

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sat Jun 25 15:19:10 UTC 2005

Hay tries out the best food from Wales Jun 25 2005

Gareth Morgan, Western Mail

GASTRONOMES were expected in their thousands today for a food festival
showcasing some of the nation's best food. The Hay Food Festival will
include more than 40 stands selling everything from bread and hog roast to
cider and smoked salmon. Andrew Powell, catering manager for the Brecon
Beacons National Park Authority, said, "Wales is the best, there is loads
of Welsh produce out there.

"There are some affluent visitors to Hay who buy lots of honey and organic
breads. "Some of them have never heard of Welsh Black beef. The pies are
very popular. "And Welsh smoked salmon from the Black Mountain Smokery in
Crickhowell is fabulous."

Mr Powell, who uses his holiday time to organise up to four events a year,
has been invited to the Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on July
19, for his work promoting Welsh products. Arwyn Davies, food director
with the Welsh Development Agency, said such events showed consumers were
keener than they ever were on regional food. "People like to know where
their food has been produced and they like to feel that they are
supporting the local economy," he added.

"They like to discover food that tastes distinctive and to create a fusion
with good quality ingredients." Today's feast of events will include a
Ready, Steady, Cook-style challenge with Nick Davis, captain of the Welsh
Culinary Olympic Team, using items selected from stalls. Meanwhile Brecon
Male Voice Choir, the Llanigon School Choir, and 100 morris dancers will
provide street entertainment.

Gareth Ratcliffe, mayor of Hay-on-Wye, hoped the event would see more than
4,000 people descending on the town. Western Mail chef, Mary Ann
Gilchrist, of Carlton House, who has promoted Welsh food at festivals
throughout Wales and the UK, said such events were now taking place across
the whole of Wales and that they were a great way for families to be
introduced to new tastes. "Nine times out of 10, I end up demonstrating at
festivals in Abergavenny, Brecon and Swansea," she said.

"Swansea Cockle Festival is great for making fish less daunting to the
average householder." However, one festival's Welsh-language policy drew
criticism from Mrs Gilchrist. "I won't be going to Aberaeron Food Festival
this year since they have changed it to the medium of Welsh, which I think
is a mistake," she added.

"I'm not 'anti' the medium of Welsh but if you try to introduce Welsh
ingredients to people, many of whom live away, through demonstrations in
the Welsh language only, you are not going to get very far."

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