Welcome to our Taste of Scotland Blog where you will find news and views on Scottish restaurants, food from Scotland, traditional and contemporary Scottish cuisine. Occasionally we will drop in some useless but entertaining snippets of foodie information as well as the odd restaurant offer or food promotion which we feel is worth passing on to our friends and web visitors.
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If you run or know of a restaurant which showcases trasditional or contemporary Scottish cuisine and you think we should feature – then please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well this was one of the most demanding jobs I have ever had to do – take a bunch of guys around Scotland on a …… WHISKY TOUR!
It’s great how my website brings in all sort of enquiries from cooking with children or mens’ groups to after dinner speaking at tourism or business events, talking at Book festivals and organising food demonstrations all over Scotland. So it was, I got an e mail from Dubai – bunch of guys on a stag do with the ‘bachelor’ passionate about Malt whisky. After much deliberation and to-ing and fro-ing I created a whisky tour for them which not only they will never forget but neither will I!
The stag stuff was sorted very quickly with a night club in Glasgow; I had nothing to do with that!! But earlier in the day my friend Brenda from Tasting Scotland http://www.tastingscotland.com/ took the guys on a wonderful walking tour around Glasgow showing all aspects of the Glasgow food culture from Indian through Chinese to Italian. They loved it. It’s good to have friends in the right places!
We set of on the Sunday of an amazing week of sunshine driven by the characterful Gordon from William Sleigh Chauffeur Services to our first Distillery Auchentoshan which happily was a perfect first stop. Their ‘Ultimate Experience’ tour was just that, with an excellent in depth explanation and tasting from the cask we were on our way. Two more distilleries later Deanston and Glengoyne and then lunch at the Old Mill at Killearn which was excellent. Then onto Balquidder where I put my trust in my old friend Tom Lewis at his superb Monachyle Mhor Hotel who produced the most amazing dinner which had each course matched to a whisky. Tom of course came in to our private room before each course to explain what it was and why he matched the whisky. The boys loved it. Continue Reading >>
From 1st to 3rd July Scone Palace in Perthshire is once again the the stunning backdrop for the 2016 Scottish Game Fair. The event will showcase of food, drink, country sports, competitions, main arena activities running over three action packed days. This is Scotland’s most popular outdoor country event and is a true celebration of rural Scotland featuring Scotland’s cuisine, crafts, game, wildlife and countryside management. Over 27,000 visitors attended last year and, weather permitting, this could be another record year.
Get your taste buds excited with a visit to the Food Hall jam packed with Scottish produce and tastings. Enjoy cookery demonstrations at the Cookery Theatre sponsored by Graham’s the Family Dairy. Scottish chefs include Three Sisters Bake headlining the cookery theatre and Christopher Trotter making a welcome return with his Forgotten Foods culinary displays.
Three Sisters Bake’s food philosophy is to ‘delight the senses’. They run two countryside cafes and an events catering company close to Glasgow. Their first cookbook, ‘Three Sisters Bake, Delectable Recipes for Everyday’ was published in 2014. Chris Trotter is a renowned Scottish chef and cookery writer who has contributed to many books on Scottish cuisine including his latest booklet on ‘Cooking with Kale‘
Further details at – www.scottishfair.com/food_hall.php
This year’s Foodies Festival in Edinburgh runs from 5th to 7th August and features a host of exciting attractions and top chefs including Great Taste Award winners. Headlining the show will be Scotland’s Michelin-star and top chefs cooking live in the Chefs Theatre as well as stars from Masterchef and the Great British Menu.
This is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to meet local artisan producers and sample award winning produce. A new ‘Vintage Tearoom’ and demonstration theatre will highlight top bakers and award winning cake makers and chocolatiers. The adjacent ‘Chocolate, Cake and Bake Village’ will be selling fresh baked breads, cakes, tarts, jellies and trifles as well as bubbly and refreshments.
The Festival includes the Childrens Cookery School, where budding foodies can decorate their own Olympic gold medal with icing, glitter and edible ribbons. Kids pizza and cupcake making classes are also available.
From 23th to 26th June crowds will be flocking from all over Scotland to Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre for the 176th Royal Highland Show. Here they will see, enjoy and sample the best of farming, rural life and Scottish food. As well as livestock judging, equine events and displays of farming equipment, a huge array of foodie events will take place over the four days at Scotland’s Larder Live – including cookery demonstrations, tasting and competitions where Scotland’s best ice cream producers will battle it out as part of the Scottish Ice Cream Championships.
Scotland’s Larder Live is the Royal Highland Show’s very own food event which features over 100 food and drink producers including East Lothian Food & Drink, Mackays Ice Cream, Shaw Meats, Stoats Porridge Bars, Wild Fig Jams and Trotters Independent Condiments. With a healthy mix of established stalwart faithfuls, small independents and the new online entrepreneurs this is one food event not to be missed.
For full details visit: www.royalhighlandshow.org
Scottish Beef is renowned the world over, and quite rightly so. But why should this be?
With the help of Donald Russell, the UK’s top online meat ordering company we find out why.
It seems to be that the climate, soil type and overall topography simply create the perfect conditions for beef cattle to thrive. In the same way as the ‘terroirs’ on which grapevines grow create vastly differing wines, the land on which cattle graze affects the final flavour and texture profile of the beef. In Scotland, grass grows lushly in the mild, often damp weather, and wild native herbs add a subtle tang to the flavour of cattle grazed on higher pasture. We’re just spectacularly lucky that our rolling green grassland and moderate (yes, really!) climate combine to produce what we firmly believe to be the world’s finest beef.
Anywhere in particular?
Most of Scotland has the potential to produce really great beef, but Aberdeenshire in particular has a reputation for raising the finest beef of all. The region (renowned also for its wild game, seafood and Speyside whisky) has long been regarded as the ‘the larder of Europe’, and is home to the world-famous ‘Aberdeen Angus’ breed, from which much of the global beef stock is descended.
So is ‘Aberdeen Angus’ the best beef? Continue Reading >>
Hebridean Sea Salt was Scotland’s first gourmet salt founded in 2012. It’s now available on the high street and online. The flakes of crunchy salt are produced to the highest of standards are have been used in top quality kitchens throughout Scotland including Gleneagles, The Three Chimneys and Edinburgh School of Food and Wine.
Sourced from the crystal clear waters of Loch Eriscort on the East Coast of Lewis, Hebridean Sea Salt is claimed to be the most pure, natural and unrefined sea salt. With over sixty naturally occurring trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc essential for good health and wellbeing.
Founded in 2012 by Natalie Crayton, Hebridean Sea Salt has enjoyed continued growth and food awards. This year the company introduced two new naturally flavoured salt ranges; Hebridean Sea Salt Peat and Hebridean Sea Salt Seaweed Infused. Both complement the original and rich taste of Hebridean Sea Salt but add an extra tasty hint to any dish. The salts have previously been stocked in over 300 independent stores throughout the UK and are also available through the online retailer Amazon.
Contact details: 01851 880 324 / 07787850009
LOST SUPPER is a new cookery programme being filmed by STV in February. The programme will feature celebrities going down memory lane via the dishes of their childhood.
If you are a keen amateur cook with a talent for traditional recipes and you would like to show off your most treasured recipes on television, then STV would love to film you demonstrating your classic childhood cuisine!
Filming for LOST SUPPER starts in February so get in touch today by contacting Scott Watkins – email@example.com or 0141 300 3934
Good luck and let’s hope for a feast of childhood favourites.
Mara, a Scottish seaweed company, is on a mission to bring “the ancient food of seaweed to modern thinkers”. Mara produces an innovative product range of natural seaweed seasonings and is launching on March 11th in Harrods Branded Pantry.
The Mara seaweed range includes the “Truffle of the Sea”, (Pepper Dulse), the most unique and unusual flavour that has become a favourite of some of Britain’s fine dining chefs.
Mara grew out of the founders’ (Fiona Houston and Xa Milne) shared passion for Scotland’s natural larder and its forgotten tastes and traditions. Mara harvests seaweeds seasonally from the wild, pure waters of the British Isles. Their intense flavour, freshness and health benefits are captured in the natural drying process, then milled to a flake to use as a seasoning, a natural flavour enhancer, and a healthy salt alternative.
Some of the UK’s most inspiring chefs including Nick Nairn, Brett Graham and Nathan Outlaw use Mara seaweed in their cuisines. In his BBC show ‘Pies and Puds’ Paul Hollywood featured one of the Mara products – Shony ®, a Great Taste Award winning blend of three seaweeds: red, green and olive. He described it as most exciting ingredients he had come across.
There is a fascinating story behind Mara Seaweed – Seaweed is the most highly mineralised vegetable on earth – just one sprinkle a day has enormous health benefits containing important minerals such as vitamins ABCE, anti-oxidants, omega 3, iron, magnesium and potassium.
Mara is a Scottish company selling a range of seaweed products from native seasonal seaweeds of Scottish and Irish provenance. Based in Edinburgh, Mara (means ‘of the sea’) evolved from the founders’ desire to harness the potential of one of Scotland’s forgotten foods and natural resources – seaweed – bringing an elemental food to a modern audience.
The first phase of the new World Whisky Day website is now ‘live’ at: www.worldwhiskyday.com
World Whisky Day invites everyone to try a wee dram of whisky in celebration of Scotland’s national drink – the water of life. Events will be taking place all over the globe. If you can’t find an event happening near you then why not host your own World Whisky Day event? All you need is some whisky to share with your friends and a desire to find out more about this world famous spirit.
Look out for new sections to the web site including competitions and special features as the big day approaches.
Recent announcements include:
World Whisky Day celebrates all types of whisky / whiskey and encourages everyone to enjoy whisky responsibly.
Get in the spirit, mark the date in your diary and let’s raise a dram to World Whisky Day 2014.
Further details: www.worldwhiskyday.com
From Beijing to Brussels, New Delhi to New York, Scotland’s food and drink is going global
A new marketing initiative has been launched to help make Scottish food and drink as well known internationally as Scottish whisky.
The Scotland Food and Drink Export Plan aims to capitalise on Scotland’s Food Industry’s success by focusing on 15 key export markets. The key areas the campaign will target are North America, France, Germany, the Middle East, China and Hong Kong, Japan and South East Asia.
Experts from successful Scottish food companies will work with the Scottish government to maximise export potential for these markets. The strategy is encourages by news that previous food and drink export goals were met six years ahead of schedule. Scottish food and drink is one of the country’s strongest exports and enjoyed a 52% increase between 2007 and 2012. During the decade leading up to 2012 exports of Scotch whisky also increased by 87% to £4.3bn.
It’s great to see Scotland’s food and drink sector coming together as one to lay out a plan for the industry as a whole”
Mark Laing Nairn
Food and Drink Secretary Richard Lochhead backed the plan saying:
“From Beijing to Brussels, New Delhi to New York, Scotland’s food and drink is going global. The sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years – in fact, if the current rate of growth continues then we will have an export rate similar to that of the North Sea oil and gas industry. That is remarkable.”
The Scotland Food and Drink Export Partnership is made up of the Scottish government, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Development International, Quality Meat Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Scottish Bakers, Scotch Whisky Association and Dairy UK and Seafood Scotland.
The new scheme was backed by several high-profile Scottish food companies.
Mark Laing, chairman of Nairn’s in Edinburgh, said: “Exports are a key part of our business. We currently export to 30 countries around the world and have experienced the benefits from this, but we know there are many more potential opportunities out there.
“It’s great to see Scotland’s food and drink sector coming together as one to lay out a plan for the industry as a whole.”
The group has produced an online document outlining how the scheme aims to boost the profile of Scottish food and drink exports.
With the rise and rise of cookery classes, cook schools, bakery masterclasses and more, there’s never been a better time to get out your apron and learn some new skills. Whether it’s basic kitchen skills, classes for children, the art of foraging or a hundred other subjects, you’ll find a host of cookery classes and cook schools throughout Scotland. You will find a listing of Scottish Cookery Schools on our Taste-of-Scotland.com web site
One day courses or week long advanced classes for all levels can be found at Glasgow’s Cookery School. Located in new premises in The Jacobean Corsetry Building, Virginia Street in Glasgow, the Cookery School is renowned for a wide range of courses on cookery, wine tasting, malt whisky tasting, cocktail making, cupcake decorating, making hand-made chocolates, hen parties and cookery courses for children.
More info: http://www.thecookeryschool.org/
Cooking for Corporates – a great way to enjoy cooking within the workplace. What better way to reward achievers that with a culinary experience that mixes new skills, fun and gourmet food into one memorable day. The Cooks School at Stepwell offers a range of corporate options as well as childrens’ classes and vouchers – ideal for Mother’s Day!
More info: http://www.cookschools.co.uk/corporate/
Editors note: For those friends south of the border we can recommend a new venture in the South East called Emma’s Kitchen. Based in Frinton on the Essex Sunshine Coast this a small but exciting enterprise focused on local produce and easy cooking skills.
More info: http://www.emmaskitchencafe.co.uk/