Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd Hosts Big Welsh Bite 2018

This post is in collaboration with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

What better place for a Welsh food festival than in the lush green grounds of Ynysangharad Park in Pontypridd, the home of the National Lido of Wales, perched right next to the River Taff, with quaint terraced cottages built for the local mining community around one hundred years ago visible in the distance.

River Taff at Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd

Last weekend, I went along to Big Welsh Bite 2018 in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park: a free annual food festival organised by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to showcase the best food and drink produce the region has to offer.  Having had a great time at Big Welsh Bite last year, I was really looking forward to tasting some of the food and drink on offer from the different producers. Now in its fifteenth year, the two-day festival attracted record numbers of visitors this year, over Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th August 2018.

Sponsored by Rhondda-based family-run business Subzero ice cream yet again for 2018, this year’s Big Welsh Bite featured mouth-watering food and drink over 35 exhibitors. Here are some of my personal highlights.

Highlights of Big Welsh Bite 2018 at Ynysangharad Park

La Ffroga

I first came across Cardiff -based La Ffroga at last year’s Big Welsh Bite and I regretted having already eaten as their hot raclette cheese looked and smelt so good. When I heard they were at this year’s event, I made a beeline for their stall.

The gourmet cheesy fries (£5) were absolutely delicious; golden, crunchy morsels of fluffy potato, laden with tangy melted raclette and finished with balsamic glazed shallots and salad. If you prefer, you can order a traditional raclette, served with new potatoes instead of fries, and extra meat and veg is also available at an extra cost.

La Ffroga raclette cheese and fries

Ooh La La Patisserie

Another stall I just couldn’t resist visiting was Ooh La La Patisserie. Based in Abercynon, Ooh La La Patisserie is best known for its beautiful handmade macarons, available in a range of flavours.

I picked up six macarons for just £5 including chocolate orange, lime and coconut, raspberry, Nutella, salted caramel and marshmallow. I can’t speak from experience but I’ve heard macarons are quite tricky to make, and these ones looked absolutely flawless – and the taste was even more impressive!

Macarons from Ooh La La Patisserie at Big Welsh Bite, photographed at the funfair at Ynysangharad Park

Cottage Sweets

This year’s Big Welsh Bite was my first encounter with Cottage Sweets, run by a Californian lady named Cathy Icardo who moved to Chepstow to live closer to her parents, who had settled in the town, and eventually set up her own business making artisanal marshmallow.

Forget marshmallow as you know it. This is next level. The minute you place it onto your tongue, it begins to melt in your mouth, dissolving into a creamy, sweet liquid.

The marshmallow lollies (£2.50) are something else. Marshmallow cubes are slid onto a wooden skewer, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with various toppings. I tried the vanilla marshmallow lolly, thickly coated in milk chocolate and finished with colourful sugar balls.

Marshmallow lolly by Cottage Sweets, with Ynysangharad Park in the distance

Rogue Preserves

I’ve been a big fan of Rogue Preserves for a while now. Back last year, I used their Bloody Mary Chutney to create a mouth-watering Italian panzanella salad.

This year at Big Welsh Bite, Rogue Preserves were displaying a selection of their best-selling chutneys and preserves, including the newly launched Espresso Martini Marmalade.

Rogue Preserves chutneys and preserves

Van Goffi

If you follow my Instagram stories, you might’ve guessed that I’m a little bit addicted to iced coffee. So, when I discovered mobile coffee bar, Van Goffi had come stocked up on cold brew, I just had to try it out. It tasted great and it was the perfect thing to quench my thirst on a hot, sunny day in Ynysangharad Park.

Iced coffee

Subzero

It would’ve been rude not to try an ice cream from event sponsors, Subzero. I went for a single scoop of bubble gum ice cream which was a luminous blue in colour, indulgently smooth and slightly sweet, with a subtle hint of bubblegum. All in the name of cooling down, of course 😉

Blue bubblegum ice cream from Sub Zero

Taffy’s Treats

I featured Taffy’s Treats in my blog post about last year’s Big Welsh Bite, and it was lovely to see them at the festival again this year. Their Welsh Cake Fudge is still going strong and it was actually available for sale in its newly developed retail packaging for the first time ever! A range of other flavours were also available, including bara brith and Irish creme liqeur.

Taffy's Treats Welshcake fudge

Cookery demonstrations

As well as stuffing my face with food purchased from the stallholders, I also managed to catch a couple of cookery demonstrations, taking place at Ynysangharad Park at regular intervals throughout the day. I especially enjoyed learning how to make Welsh beef and ale with croutons, a hearty dish that I will be attempting to recreate myself at home as soon as Autumn arrives and the colder weather is upon us.

Welsh beef and ale with croutons

Family entertainment

Besides tempting festival-goers with a tantalising selection of food and drink, Big Welsh Bite 2018 also offered an exciting variety of family entertainment.

The show arena next to the National Lido of Wales, also situated within Ynysangharad Park, hosted a number of amusing performances throughout the day, including running ducks, racing llamas and an interactive bird of prey show.

A lady holding an owl

It wouldn’t be a Welsh food festival without sheep putting in an appearance. A number of farmyard animals were invited along to Big Welsh Bite 2018. As well as a pair of adorable sheep, there were turkeys, rabbits, ducks, hens, pigs, goats and numerous other animals.

A sheep poking its head through a gate
If you wanted more of a thrilling experience, or just fancied a ride on the cup and saucers, the funfair was the place to be, complete with colossal bags of candyfloss, over-sized sugar dummies and candy lollies.

Funfair rides at Big Welsh Bite 2018

Big Welsh Bite 2019

For the second year running, I had a lovely day-out at Big Welsh Bite and I can’t wait to find out what Big Welsh Bite 2019 has to offer, taking place from 3-4th August 2019 at Ynysangharad Park – clear the diary! For more information, visit the Rhondda Cynon Taf Council website. 

 

What’s your favourite food festival? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below.

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This post is in collaboration with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council.

17 Comments

  1. August 13, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    I would love to attend a Welsh Food festival, heard of it but never been. The amount of treats just has my moutj watering

    • August 13, 2018 / 2:16 pm

      You would have to come to Wales for that 😉 But believe me, it’s worth the journey!

  2. August 13, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    What a lovely post! I often find enjoyment in food (Who am I kidding – I LOVE food!) and the bubblegum ice cream looks Devine!

    • August 13, 2018 / 2:35 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the read. That ice cream was amazing! <3

  3. August 13, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    This looks such a great event! I can’t believe I use to live right down the road from here and never even knew this existed!
    C x

    • August 14, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Oh wow, I didn’t know you’d lived in South Wales before – small world!

  4. Elizabeth allcock
    August 13, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    This looks like my kind of food festival! Those fries look so good! I always try to go to foodie events by me in Warwickshire they’re so much fun!

    • August 14, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      The fries were a real highlight! I saw them at last year’s Big Welsh Bite and I wanted them then but I’d already eaten so much food, so I made sure I ate them first this year!

  5. August 14, 2018 / 10:04 am

    This looks like such a lot of fun! My kind of day out, for sure! I’ve only ever been to Wales once, briefly, years ago. I’d love to go back one day.

    • August 14, 2018 / 1:33 pm

      I do love living in Wales. Travel is always nice, but we have so many lovely things to see, do and eat right here on our doorstep.

  6. ChelseaMamma
    August 14, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    I love a good food festival and this one looks fun for all the family

    • August 14, 2018 / 1:32 pm

      I was really impressed by the amount of family entertainment they put on.

  7. August 14, 2018 / 1:31 pm

    Me too! They make for a lovely day-out.

  8. August 15, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    What a fun event and that bubblegum ice cream looks delicious! x

    • August 15, 2018 / 5:19 pm

      That was so tasty! And so vibrant too – totally caught my eye!

  9. August 18, 2018 / 12:30 am

    Wow! All that food looks amazing. I haven’t been to a food festival yet despite my love for food! This one looks like one to beat though! Yum…

    • August 20, 2018 / 4:38 pm

      Oh wow – you need to get to a food festival – they can be amazing!

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