Once again the sleepy Welsh town of Abergavenny illustrated its growing cultural ethos for their love of good foods and appreciation of independent producers at its annual festival. Seen as ‘The Don’ of all food festivals, the place was teaming with celebrities from the culinary world including the likes of Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi, the South West’s own Fabulous Baker Brothers, and renowned Michelin starred chef Pierre Koffmann. Visitors flocked from across the country to the event, and with an estimated foot fall of 30,000 over the two days it was all hands on deck for the exhibitors and event organisers. The produce on display included local cheeses, ales, chutneys, wines and sugary treats for those with a sweet tooth. Oh and of course there were some tea stalls there!
We arrived at the site early on Saturday morning, it was one of the first days this year you could feel that autumn was in the air. As we made our way to the Lahloo pitch the atmosphere was lively, and there were many exuberant exhibitors making sure their stalls were ready for the on-coming stampede of eager foodies!
The festival itself was an excellent way of promoting our beautiful selection of artisan teas to the general public and to prospective retail buyers. We met lots of loose tea fanatics, many were already Lahloo customers (which we were very pleased about!) However, we greeted with open arms those that were new to loose leaf tea, and invited them to join in the ways of Lahloo! Towards the end of the Saturday a young Welsh boy and his mum came running over to the stall, eager to sample “every tea you have please”. He was a very sweet boy with a real passion for tea- he drank loose leaf tea every now and again, but was tired and bored of normal bagged tea with milk. After tasting all the samples, he decided that our Himalayan Oolong was his cup of tea, he absolutely loved it! Turning round to his mum, he asked if he could buy a tin using the rest of his pocket money, his mum was more than happy to oblige! It was really gratifying to see someone so young exploring and developing their tastes through tea.
On the Saturday afternoon Laloo Tea founder Kate took part in one of the infamous Rude Health rants. Taking centre stage at the Market Hall Kate ranted about the common misconceptions of green tea and why they were in fact not true. The main myth Kate tackled was the misconception of green tea being bitter- Kate passionately dispelled this view and explained that it was merely down to quality of the tea leaves, and the method in which it was made that affected its flavour. Let’s hope people took note and are now brewing up the perfect cup of green tea every time. I think the free samples of iced Jade Cloud tea Kate handed out maybe swayed peoples opinions- it is delicious!
On the Saturday evening in the Old Market building team Lahloo relaxed after a busy day with a drink and a good old live food debate. Amongst those on the panel were Tom Herbert of Hobbs House Bakery and The Fabulous Baker Brothers, Carolyn Steele- a TED lecturer and writer of ‘Hungry City: How food shapes our lives’, and investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman. They tackled issues that currently affect independent producers and retailers, looking closely at the effects big corporations have on the success of the small businesses, and debating ideas of quality over convenience. All involved were inspiringly passionate for the cause and had great arguments for and against. We left feeling very motivated and valued by this community, our intentions as a small business were confirmed. We just want to give you good value, ethically and locally sourced goods at a good price!!
Until next year Abergavenny!