FOOD, glorious food!

Food lovers in North Wales are in for a treat in the coming weeks as the region prepares for an autumn packed with foodie events featuring a host of fabulous local food and drink producers.

These delightful events are all hosted and dotted around the beautiful Clwydian Range, Dee Valley and Wrexham areas.

Many of the business showcasing at these events are clients of Cywain – a Menter a Busnes project.

Cywain is a business-led programme dedicated to developing new and existing micro-businesses and SMEs in the Welsh food and drink sector, focusing on maximising opportunities and growth potential.

Alex James, Cywain’s marketing and events team leader, said: “We work with producers in a variety of ways to make sure they have the skills and support they need when selling to the public at events.

“North East Wales has an abundance of food and drink producers, and food festivals are an excellent way for producers to widen their customer base and promote their brands.”

This year's Denbigh Plum Festival takes place on October 5.

The Denbigh Plum Festival is now in its 11th year, but this will be the first festival since the fruit was granted Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in February, under the European Union Protected Food Name (EUPFN) scheme.

It’s been a long road to achieving PDO status for the Vale of Clwyd Denbigh Plum – a technical process which takes several years to reach fruition. So, this year’s festival will have a celebratory feel.

Once in decline, the fruit has undergone a renaissance in recent years and is used by a growing number of local producers in increasingly innovative ways.

One producer is Elisabeth Jones, who infuses gin and vodka with fruit - including the Denbigh Plum - to create her Shlizzy range of liqueurs and chocolates.

Her Shlizzy Denbigh Plum Gin Liqueur has been going down well with customers.

She said: “You can taste the difference between the liqueurs made with the Denbigh Plum and our other plums.

"Everyone who has tried it says they prefer the version made with Denbigh Plums.

“It is my third year doing the Denbigh Plum Festival, it is one of my favourite festivals, and it has a great community atmosphere.

"The festival has been going 11 years – and it’s getting bigger and better every year.

"It is very supportive of local food and drink producers, and it’s a great way to show the variety of produce from this area.”

October 19 and 20 will see the 2019 staging of the Llangollen Food Festival.

Held at the world-famous music venue that is the Royal International Pavilion, this food festival has visitors singing its praises.

A picturesque town on the banks of the River Dee, Llangollen is a magnet for tourists, drawn by the scenery, steam railway and cultural events including the International Eisteddfod.

A popular producer at food festivals and events across Wales and the borders, Rossett-based artisan chocolatiers – Aballu – will once again be taking part in Llangollen Food Festival.

Jo Edwards, of Aballu, said: “Llangollen Food Festival attracts a diverse range of people from all over – including overseas.

"Last year, I met someone I haven’t seen since I used to serve them at a pub in Cardiff 20 years ago!”

Formed 13 years ago by Jo, Aballu also supplies retailers and the hospitality sector with its sumptuous chocolates.

Jo added: “It is early days, but we are working with Cywain to set up an online shop.

"They have been great and we’ve done several courses with them to improve our selling and marketing skills.

"It is good to have someone there who we can contact and point us the right way - that’s such a big help to small businesses.”