A day out at the Cardiff Country Fair in Cardiff Castle, 28-29 September 2014


A row of tractors lined the entrance to the Country Fair, outside Cardiff Castle.

This weekend marked the annual return of the Cardiff Country Fair, running from 10am-6pm on both Saturday and Sunday at Cardiff Castle.

Cardiff Castle was a great venue choice for the Cardiff Country Fair.

Sponsored by Brace’s Bread, the Country Fair offered a range of cookery demonstrations, talks, produce and handicraft competitions, food and drink stalls, livestock and farm animals and children’s activities. Entry cost £8.50 for adults (£7.50 in advance) and £5.00 for children (£4.50 in advance) with concessions available, although all talks and demonstrations were included in the ticket price.

Event sponsors Brace’s Bread ran a demonstration on bread making and ran a children’s activity tent.

Arriving at the Country Fair on Sunday, my friend Sarah and I made a beeline for the talks and demonstrations registration tent. Hosted by Green City, the talks promoted sustainable living by focusing on topics such as food foraging, back garden composting, chicken keeping and home remedies. There were also six different cookery demonstrations taking place, including ‘Fish Craft’ with E. Ashton Fishmongers of Cardiff Market and a cookery demonstration by the Laguna Kitchen and Bar of Park Plaza hotel. As big fans of Laguna we wouldn’t dream of missing the opportunity to learn how to cook some of their delicious dishes, so we promptly signed up for their demonstration, along with the talk on wild food foraging.

We were shocked at how much there actually was to see and do at the Cardiff Country Fair, and we began to wish we’d arrived a little earlier. If you’re thinking of attending the Country Fair next year, it’s definitely worth staying in Cardiff whilst you’re at it. There are so many different activities, events and stalls to explore – and only two days in which to do it! I would recommend checking out the ibis hotel near Cardiff Castle for a convenient and economic place to stay within the city centre. It is just next to the Country Fair and all of the different events held here.

With a few hours to kill before our talk and demo were due to begin, we seized the opportunity to explore the seemingly endless array of local produce stalls.

This stall sold plants and herbs that I’ve never even heard of, like ‘chocolate mint’! Whatever it is, it sounded delicious.

Most of the stalls were selling food and/or drink, like Lyme Bank Farm, who sold cheeses in just about every flavour you could dream of. We couldn’t get enough of the free tasters and Sarah came away with five different cheeses, a bargain at £10. I was particularly fond of the garden herbs and garlic, although the mango and lemon cheeses tasted surprisingly good too.
We all know that cheese tastes even better with wine, which gave us the perfect excuse to indulge in a spot of red rose petal wine from Field Bar Fruit Wines. The elderflower champagne was equally as refreshing, and how I managed to resist going home with a bottle is beyond me. Field Bar Fruit Wines can be found at the weekly RCMA Farmers’ Markets in Riverside and Roath – see you there!

If cider is your drink of choice, however, you’d have loved the varieties on offer from the award-winning Welsh Cider and Perry Company, Gwynt Y Ddraig.
I was very impressed by the scotch eggs sold by the Moody Sow Farm Shop, based at Cefn Mably Farm Park. Faced with a choice of plain, pork and stilton, pork and apple or black pudding, I eventually succumbed to the latter. Pictured above, the black pudding scotch egg won a Great Taste star award this year. It’s much larger and meatier than your average scotch egg and I can definitely taste the black pudding, without it being too overpowering. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one of these again – if it wasn’t for the fact that they cost £3 each, which I think is excessive for a scotch egg. A further three Great Taste stars were dished out to the Moody Sow’s traditional scotch egg, smoked bacon and 5oz beef burger. 


Meanwhile, Johnson’s Toffee & Fudge proved popular amongst children and adults alike, with classics like coconut ice and strawberry cream invoking a real sense of nostalgia.

At 2pm, we made our way over to the Country Kitchen for the Laguna Kitchen and Bar cookery demonstration with Head Chef, Justin Llewellyn. He showed us how to prepare four dishes: chorizo and scallops on toast, tuna nicoise salad, eton mess and baked Alaska (see picture below).
I’ve never tried scallops before and I’m not a big fan of seafood, but they tasted great cooked in the same pan as the chorizo. The tuna nicoise looked stunning and tasted even better – I loved the idea of using fresh tuna and quails eggs. The Eton mess was absolutely divine – the blackberries were incredibly fresh and the meringue had literally just been made. The baked Alaska was okay, but nothing to rave about; it looked a little too burnt to me.


After the Laguna demonstration, we headed over to the Talks Tent for a talk on wild food foraging. The talk covered the benefits of foraging, what plants and herbs to forage for, where to forage and what to be wary of when foraging. Although a little dull in parts, it did leave me wondering about what I might be able to forage for in my local community.

After absorbing all that information during the demo and the talk, Sarah and I felt like we deserved something hot to eat. We’d spotted a stall that we really looked the like of earlier on, so we made our way back there. 

The Wrap Shack served a choice of chicken and chorizo stew, smoked Mexican beans or chicken shish, each served with a choice of salad, cheese and sauce, in a tortilla. We went for the chicken and chorizo stew because it looked irresistible. The chicken was really tender and tasted great with the chorizo, and we managed to get an XL serving because it was nearing the end of the day and there was so much food left. This didn’t justify it costing £8, though.

After eating our food, we had just about enough time left to explore the different kinds of farm and livestock animals on display. I never knew cattle could grow as big as the Longhorn Cattle in the top-left of this photo – he was a giant! Cardiff Riding School brought two beautiful horses along, and that little piggy in the bottom-left is a Welsh Pedigree from Glamorgan Farm. We also saw several different varieties of sheep, goats and chickens…

…Not to mention this cuter-than-cute alpaca! I wanted to take him home with me.

Please click here for further information about the Cardiff Country FairI was given two free tickets to the Cardiff Country Fair, but I was not obliged to write a positive review of my experience. 

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