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Guest blog: Sophie from Cooks Galley, Abergavenny

Cooks Galley is a family-run cookware shop in the heart of Abergavenny, selling everything from a tiny whisk to a set of pans, from traditional ceramics to the latest shiny coffee machine. With Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink Fair just a few days away we asked Cooks Galley’s Sophie Bensley what’s popular amongst Christmas shoppers, and discover what cookery demonstrations she’s got planned for 2016.

Q. How did Cooks Galley come about?

A. Cooks Galley grew out of our family’s love of cooking and food. We started back in 1988 when my father, Jonathan Bensley, decided to leave behind the anti-social hours of the restaurant trade and set up a retail business. Our aim, from the beginning, has been to sell high quality brands and products, and offer a wide selection of cookware to the enthusiastic cooks of Abergavenny and beyond. With the town having a great reputation for food and the amazing annual Food Festival, our little shop fits in perfectly.

Q. What are the latest trends in cookware?

A. Spiralizing! People can't get enough of spiralized veggies which, apparently, originated in Japan. The ability to shred vegetables into ribbons has been made fuss-free with the arrival of the spiralizer. We sell a variety of spiralizers, and they all fly off the shelves.

The popularity of baking continues to grow, due to programmes such as the BBC’s Great British Bake Off. KitchenAid mixers are the must-have appliance, and, with over 30 colours, they have a shade to suit everyone's tastes!


Q. You’ve recently started Cookery Demonstrations. Please tell us more.

A. It’s an exciting new venture for us. We’ve teamed up with local chef Penny Lewis, from The Culinary Cottage Cookery School, to hold monthly Cookery Demonstrations in the classroom above our shop. With just a small number of places on each demo, we guarantee that participants get up close to Penny’s inspirational cooking. The feedback has been great: people tell us that Penny brings the recipes to life and provides informative answers to all their questions. And, of course, they all enjoy the delicious food that Penny cooks. So far we’ve run demos on French Cooking, Glorious Soups and Savoury Pies; in 2016 we’ll be offering demos on Cakes and Bakes, the Perfect Loaf of Bread, and Spanish Cooking, to name a few. If there’s a topic that interests you please tell us, and we might be able to include it in a future demo.

Q. What’s planned during December?

A. There’s a great camaraderie amongst the retailers in town, and Christmas shopping in Abergavenny is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Like many of the independent shops in town, we make an extra special effort throughout the festive season. At the Abergavenny Late Night Shopping Event on Thursday 10th December, look out for complimentary mince pies and mulled wine, and some super discounts in the shop. We’re also open every Sunday in December, and are looking forward to another fantastic Abergavenny Christmas Food & Drink Fair on Sunday 13th December.


A big thank you to Sophie for giving us a glimpse of life at Cooks Galley. If cooking is your thing, you should take a look at our newest boat, Grouse. Designed with enthusiastic cooks in mind, it has an amazing kitchen, formal dining table and smart lounge for after-dinner drinks. It appeals to couples who enjoy cooking and eating the excellent produce from the many markets and independent shops. Alternatively, we can recommend local chefs to come onboard and cook for you.