Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival

Every summer, the city of Cardiff hosts its annual international food and drink festival.  Located in the bay area, with its bustling bars and restaurants, there are hundreds of stalls to browse, with most allowing you to taste their fantastic produce.  Alongside, there are demonstrations and talks, and entertainment such as live music.

Our first stop was at a little tent on Mermaid Quay itself, where staff from the newly opened Veeno Italian chain were about to begin a food and wine tasting.  We had front row seats, and were soon sampling a range of delicious Sicilian wines, accompanied with a range of tasty 'spuntini' appetisers.  We tried a lovely olive spread, some parmesan cheese, and a melt-in-the-mouth parma ham.  All of their food and wine is imported from Italy, in accordance with strict criteria.  I have had parma style ham before, but... proper, crown-stamped parma ham was a revelation to me.  I can never buy the stuff from Lidl again.

Veeno CardiffA member of staff from Veeno leading the food and wine tasting.
Veeno Cardiff

Veeno Cardiff

After the tasting we had a look at the rest of the festival, but I quickly tired from all of that walking and tasting, and so we thought we'd check out Veeno restaurant itself.  It's attractively presented, with lots of outside seating to make the most of a sunny day.  I was really impressed with the menus.  Lots of choice, and all kinds of preferences are catered for, such as some grown-up sounding mocktails, and some innovative sugar free wines.

Veeno Cardiff

It was shortly after the above photo was taken that I was attacked by a parasol...

I'm not kidding!  It was a windy day and we'd just watched one of Veeno's massive parasols blow out of its base and into the walkway, thankfully hitting a sign rather than a person.  My husband went to help the staff wrestle it back into its base and work out how to lock it in place, and had just returned to our table when a different parasol at the adjacent table lifted up and then tipped over onto me.  I was saved from the brunt of the impact by our table, but I did feel it brush my nose on the way down, and it was only the next day that I noticed a red mark on my nose from being grazed.  Sadly there was one victim who did not get off so lightly -  I had been enjoying a particularly lovely white wine in a tasting trio, but the glass was knocked over by the evil parasol and seeped through the holes in the table.  Sigh.  I eventually managed to attract a member of staff's attention to have the wine replaced, (I think they forgot about me in the ensuing confusion, being preoccupied with taking down all of the remaining parasols).  It could have been so much worse, and I felt bad that they'd only been open a day - imagine the lawsuit if I'd been knocked unconscious or something!!

It was time for more cheese to fortify us after that little drama, so we headed back to the stalls.  The bay is a lovely place to wander around, you have some interesting buildings to look at - the Wales Millennium Centre, the Pierhead building, the Senedd, and the Norwegian Church to name a few - all with the water in the background with the little boats bobbing up and down.  It was eyes down on this visit though, on the hunt for exceptional cheese, and maybe something for liquid refreshment.

Cardiff Food Festival @porcelinasworld
That building is the Pierhead building, I wrote about it here, with more photos.

Cardiff Food Festival @porcelinasworld
Stalls, with the Millennium Centre in the background.

I know that this post is supposed to be about food and how lovely Cardiff Bay is, but I need to show you all what I wore.  I finally gave in and bought this tiered skirt from H&M, after seeing Jessica over at Zella Maybe in hers back in the Spring.  At the time I couldn't quite justify spending £40 on such a frou-frou skirt.  But, I still thought about it from time to time.  Luckily it was reduced in the sale, and I got a further discount for signing up to the H&M club, so it came in at under £20 in the end.  Hurrah!  I enjoyed wearing the skirt so much, I kept twirling when I thought nobody was watching...

Cardiff Food Festival @porcelinasworld

Cardiff Food Festival @porcelinasworld

Cardiff Food Festival @porcelinasworld
Shimmying on the steps of the Senedd (the Welsh Assembly)

Cardiff Food Festival @porcelinasworld
I'm smiling because I have gin and sausage in those bags.

A big plus point is that the festival is free of charge.  I do like going to some of the well-established events such as the Abergavenny Food Festival, but it's nice to have more money to spend on the produce itself rather than a ticket.  We left the festival laden with German sausage, gourmet garlic, gin, flavoured tonic waters, cocktail curds, and some Welsh ales for my Dad.  A very lovely day out!

Have I made you all hungry?


7 comments:

  1. You shake it, lady!

    That looks like an ace festival. There is a theory that places charge entry fees because people are more likely to buy something if they've had to pay to get in - as though they've already spent some money, so they might as well have something to show for it. I don't know who could resist buying things at food festivals, though.

    What are cocktail curds? I am intrigued.

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  2. Interesting theory! But I can never resist whether I've bought a ticket or not.

    You know lemon curd? Well now there is Mojito curd, and Pina Colada curd!!! Unbelievably good.

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  3. Just goes to show that you have to watch those parasols! Glad you were okay though.

    Love a good twirl myself, though my recent attempt almost saw me on the floor, twirling on uneven ground with vertigo is not advised, hehe! xxx

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  4. I thought that skirt looked familiar! Looks lovely on you and what a bargain. I'm glad the parasol didn't really hurt you and I was smiling reading the story because I was attacked by a parasol lately myself! It was in my friend's garden a week before the wedding and I was carefully positioning myself near it so that I didn't get sunburned before I had to wear my wedding dress... It was quite windy and I joked 'If it's going to blow over onto anyone, you all know it's going to hit me right?' Yeah, famous last words. Luckily I escaped with a light bruise and nothing that showed up!! And no sunburn, so there's that... xx

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  5. What's not to like about a Food Festival, and with over a hundred stalls, the Cardiff one must be huge! I love your skirt, and surely it is made for twirling, why else all those floaty layers? I'm glad the parasol didn't do any more damage than it did. I was going to ask what cocktail curds were, but Mim was there before me. I'd never heard of them, although I do know lemon curd. xxx

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  6. Love that skirt! H&M is very innovative and often, like Zara manage to hit the mark.

    Yikes...that's a bit scary about the parasol! We saw that happen when we were at the beach in Hong Kong. They can be quite dangerous.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  7. That skirt is great fun on you!
    Arghh, injury by parasol! Glad you got your wine replaced.
    I went to the food festival in Ludlow years and years ago and went a bit mad on cheeses. xxx

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