September marks a very special time of year here in Abergavenny. For one weekend, our quaint and normally peaceful town is enlivened to a whole new level as tens of thousands of foodies flock to the foothills of the Black Mountains for the Abergavenny Food Festival.
This year we invited twenty Abergavenny Food Festival attendees to our farm for a permaculture feast. We wanted to showcase some of the amazing produce that is grown and reared in the local area, including our own.
We started the evening off with a farm walk led by Huw, who explained and demonstrated to guests what we do here at Three Pools. Alongside our locally-sourced ingredients, this was core to what is a key facet of all of our food events - our intention to further reconnect people to their food and to the land. Each course that we served incorporated an element of our own farm produce, and every ingredient used, minus the salt and pepper, was from a 20 mile radius.
Our first course showcased rye bread from The Angel Bakery, tomatoes from Pauls Organic Veg, spring onions from the garden and a welsh ale chutney. The flavours came together perfectly to re-create that Saturday ploughman's feeling within a mouthful.
Next we took to the fields with what we like to call a 'ceppuccino'; a frothy, fungi twist on your classic mushroom soup, served up in our Three Pools mugs. We combined a base of slow cooked stock using chicken from Beaven butchers with locally-foraged ceps and garden leeks.
Rabbit has appeared on the menu at Three Pools a lot over the past year, and for good reason. It is one of our most sustainable meats, especially from an environmental perspective. We harvested the rabbits the night before the feast to ensure it was as fresh as possible. We accompanied the rabbit heart pâté with our orchard pickled plums and Angel Bakery sourdough.
Pork belly - a Great British classic. This was an opportunity for us to showcase cut of meat from the very unqiue Jamie’s farm. There are three Jamie’s farms in the West, which specialise in supporting the emotional and academic wellbeing of vulnerable and disadvantaged children from urban environments. We love what they are doing, and cooking up some of their pork was a real treat, which we served alongside Gary's goats milk, pressed potatoes and cavolo nero. We topped the dish with a fallow deer fat, red wine, cider vinegar and garlic jus.
One of our major goals here at the farm is to start producing heritage and ancient grains. With an increasing focus on selectively breed modern grains such as wheat, rice, and corn, so many fantastic ancient grains have been lost along the way. These unmodified grains are generally more nutrient-dense as they have retained their nutritional qualities for centuries, and supporting them also supports the diversification of crops. We showcased a delicious ancient grain called Khorasan in our gooey brownie dessert, which we accompanied with Wye Valley ice cream and a freshly picked blackberry sauce.
A big thank you to everyone who came to our permaculture feast, it was a really beautiful evening and a fantastic opportunity to show people what our local area has to offer in terms of wonderful food produce.
Our guest chef series will start again in November with Julian Tailleur, from Amsterdam. Tickets for this will go on sale mid-October.