The Sun Shines On Caerphilly Food Festival

28 May

With wag putting £9,753 of funding into this one day festival I was looking forward to see how Caerphilly ran it. It started well with AA signs going into Caerphilly directing you to their Park & Ride service. That worked well and really made life easy for locals getting into the festival. Caerphilly had also been clever as the Olympic torch was also travelling through Caerphilly that morning which created a huge buzz and I’d never seen the town so busy. What a great start.

The stalls lined the street but I couldn’t find any map or list of stands, but maybe I missed were they were. I’d taken a list of traders off their website on Thursday, which was good to have that, but there were as always anomalies. But I soon spotted one of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, (BOW), Ralph’s Cider and it was good to see them there. Although they might not have been sited in the busiest area the weather certainly made a big difference after the wet, cold, windy days they’ve been trading in so far.

There were three cookery demo areas running which was quite a lot, but what I did appreciate was that Caerphilly had asked the producers that had taken stands to do the demos. What a great idea!  I went along to see one of our Best Of Welsh & Borders,  Goldie from SamosaCo in action and I was impressed with her skill and her rapport with the audience. What I found disappointing was her microphone wasn’t working and right across from this demo area was a stand that had a selection of parrots squawking away throughout her slot and of course the other producers that fololwed. Surely a little thought was all that was needed here. Birds are noisy and although they were a great attraction they should not have been sited by a demo area. I struggled also to find a list of demos, who was doing what and when and it was 12.30 before a Caerphilly employee had time to put the list out on view. Although there was hand washing facilities and think a few cooks had to run around to find water to cook with. I appreciate that the council; had a lot on, but planning and preparation could have easily sorted out these niggly bits. I do though have to give you 10 out of 10 for having the sense to use the cookery talent that was already attending – that was a smart move and I know that mahny of them then got good trader back on their stands as well. What a bonus!

I was unimpressed to see the garlic man who’d travelled up from the Isle of Wight and a huge stand Vins De France. I didn’t bother to count the Welsh stands versus English and European and as I haven’t heard of any Welsh stands couldn’t get into this event, I’ll leave that one there. What did not impress me was that there were eight cup cakes stands – eight – is that overkill or what? I’ve no
idea how many of the eight were professionals, but it’s sad if there is so much competition from some if the are just ‘playing’ at it. It also good to catch up with Mike from Cwm Deri Vineyard, another of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, who was having a very busy show – great news.

What I do find disappointing is the number of stands that haven’t got their own banners, business cards or any literature about the company either.  Unprofessional to say the least……………….

Walking back to the car late in the afternoon, across Castle Green, I‘d though get very cross with the massive amount of litter everywhere. This time I can’t totally blame the public because every litter bin I passed was totally full. Please, please, please, if you are planning to hold two busy events in one day, you are bound to get lots of litter  – then for goodness sake get the bins emptied beforehand. Just in case anyone from Caerphilly wishes to take me to task on that, it is going to cost you as a council a
lot of man hours to clear all that rubbish away, as it was bloowing all over the place, instead of just emptying the
bins again. You are not encouraging people to use bins if they are always full and that’s a poor message to send to the people of Caerphilly and your visitors. The festival was held with such a beautiful background of the castle and ruined for me with all this rubbish. I did notice ‘yellow jackets’ about picking up some rubbish but full bins was your biggest problem.



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  1. Esther Apoussidis

    May 28, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Hi, I read with interest your blog post here about Saturday’s Caerphilly Food Festival. We are one of the culprits in having cupcakes on our stall, but we also had a huge variety of homebaked muffins (15 in total) as well as continental cakes. I’m afraid to say though that our cupcakes sold the quickest and there’s no denying that the cupcake fad continues, even if I personally am not a big fun of the sickly things. Muffins are far more interesting to me as a chef to make and eat, but cupcakes look prettier and sell easier! In terms of organisating the event, we too were a demonstrator and I was appalled at the lack of communication as to where we could store our equipment and ingredients, and mainly about the lack of a plumbed in sink. I looked high and low for some hot running water with which to wash my utensils…particularly as I had a second demo in the afternoon. I hadn’t taken double utensils because of the burden of transporting them. I ended up washing in cold water downstairs in the Visitor Centre and then in the afternoon, when things had quietened down in the cafe, they kindly offered their kitchen for my use. Really grateful to them. I will think again about demonstrating at an event organised by CCBC…unless they are able to learn from the problems of this one.