Gerhard Jenne enjoys the delights of bakery in the lush valleys of south Wales… then returns to a full inbox and the prospect of Halloween just around the corner

The husband and I have just returned from a few days in the lush green landscapes of south Wales. The hills and vales were the perfect setting for a retreat - without mobile reception, nor a murmur of internet, nor the flicker of a TV screen.

Subsequently I sadly missed out on the final episode of The Great British Bake Off, but despite the apparent news black-out it somehow did penetrate through the heavy rain and nightly fog that Nancy was crowned the worthy winner - when 12.3 million are watching, there’s a lot of baking love in the air!

Like many, I was convinced that pencil-eared Richard was going to be the sure winner. I even felt I had this confirmed by the wry smile of one of our intern bakers, who happens to be a family friend of his. That’s projection for you.

The local shop didn’t have much in the way of fresh food, but luckily it did stock a selection of breads from St Mary’s traditional bakery in Brecon. ( The thick-sliced wholemeal loaf acquired made the perfect toast to go with the local farm’s handmade sausages and thick-cut marmalade for breakfast.

Apart from a small packet of griddled Welsh Cakes, we missed out on many other sweet treats, Welsh or otherwise, and this did leave us in a bit of a hole when it came to satisfying our sweet longings.

Had I known, I would have timed our trip to coincide with the Abergavenny Food Festival that took place a few weeks prior. One would have had a chance to get a taste of a wide range of Welsh baking, such as hand-crafted, wholesome loaves made by market bakery Riverside Sourdough from Cardiff ( or the gluten-free delights of Love at First Bake from Powys ( and much, much more besides.

With an additional intense programme of demonstrations and talks, the Abergavenny Food Festival seems like one for the foodie’s diary, with the added advantage that any extra calories taken on can easily be purged by going on some fine walks in the Brecon Beacon National Park – good food and nature, now that’s what I call merging gold. (

Back at home, we have started to gear up for Halloween. Spiced Pumpkin Pies and shiny Pecan Pies now grace our shelves and peppery Chocolate Pats will add some kick to our range next week.

Hand-decorated Gingerbread Voodoo dolls are next to the till, tempting the parents of many a devilish tyke to make an impulse purchase.

Meanwhile the horror of a bursting full inbox could almost give me an anxiety attack – thank goodness for those Welsh impressions!