“Our capital is home to everything from Michelin-starred restaurants and boutique cafes, to bustling pubs, and local farmers markets.”
The Year of Food and Drink 2015 aims to celebrate Scotland’s exceptional produce with a wealth of events taking place across the country. “The Year of Food and Drink 2015 is all about celebrating Scotland’s exceptional natural larder, the role food and drink plays in shaping the country’s economic success and the people, landscapes and culture that make Scotland’s food heritage so unique,” says VisitScotland’s Chief Executive, Malcolm Roughead. “Scotland’s reputation for quality food and drink is growing. This year will allow us to build on the momentum of 2014 and use Scotland’s strengths and assets, such as our world-class produce, to take Scotland to the world.
“We’re lucky in Scotland to have a diverse range of culinary experiences. Take Edinburgh for example, our capital is home to everything from Michelin-starred restaurants and boutique cafes, to bustling pubs, and local farmers markets. 2015 is a chance to raise awareness of all these businesses and encourage visitors to come and enjoy our world-class produce here in Scotland.”
Here are a few of the best events taking place around the country in celebration of Scotland’s gastronomic bounty.
Edinburgh International Science Festival: GastroFest
A mini festival in its own right, GastroFest hosts an innovative programme of events around the city centre that explore the role of science in food and drink as part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Mixologists, scientists, chefs and artisan producers take audiences on a culinary journey through the neuroscience and psychology of taste perception to molecular gastronomy. One of the festival’s most anticipated events is SciMart, a farmer’s market with a scientific twist that showcases the best of Scotland’s innovative food producers.
The Still and The Hive
In the ambience of the Royal Botanic Garden at night, The Still and The Hive will celebrate two of Scotland’s most iconic natural products: whisky and honey. Featuring an exciting mix of live entertainment, creative activities, film and demonstrations, audiences will have the opportunity to try quality produce and learn more about the distinctive nature and diversity of whisky and honey.
A whisky tasting with a difference, the Whisky Stramash at Surgeon’s Hall promises to be an event of mystery and entertainment with madcap, boutique experiences, one-off installations and lots of interactivity. For whisky connoisseurs and novices alike, the event regularly attracts top whisky brands and audiences will have the opportunity to sample and purchase a huge variety of whiskies from Scotland and the rest of the world.
Cake Fest Edinburgh
On Midsummer’s Day, around 50 teams of amateur and professional bakers will whip up a storm of flour and sugar in the Royal Botanic Garden as they create a map of Edinburgh’s famous landmarks out of cake. Accompanied by live music and entertainment, the free event will also have a carefully-curated food producers’ market and street food stalls from some of Edinburgh’s best independent restaurants. What’s more, visitors can have a slice of Edinburgh Castle, the Balmoral Hotel or the Royal Yacht Britannia once the map is finished.
The UK’s largest celebration of food and drink will return to Inverleith Park this summer with a producers’ market, street food avenue and pop-up restaurants. Top chefs will share their favourite summer recipes as well as tops tips for baking the perfect cake. Once you’ve sampled the food on offer, you can also attend a cocktail masterclass or relax in the Champagne, Pimms and Gin tents and watch live music and fringe performers.
The Best of the Rest around Scotland
In the stunning surroundings of Loch Lomond, Springfest (04-05 April), a free two-day event from the team behind the Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival, is one for all the family with live music, demonstrations and fun activities. On the east coast, the Crail Food Festival in Fife (12-14 June) also has a packed programme for all ages, including educational workshops, tastings, food trails and foraging walks.
Another highlight of the Year is the Mhor Whisky Fest (23-24 May) in Perthshire. Producers including Glengoyne, Deanston and Auchentoshan distilleries will join DJs and chefs in the grounds of Monachyle Mhor Hotel. Visitors can also take part in the Mhor Bake Off or test their culinary skills in Mhor’s cooking competition – the omelette challenge.
VisitScotland has also created a number of food and drink itineraries, such as ‘A Flavour of Scotland’ which includes visiting the award-winning Anstruther Fish Bar, sampling Arbroath Smokies, watching the ancient art of creating whisky barrels, learning how to make Galloway ice-cream and eating Loch Fyne Oysters.
For more information about all the events taking place across Scotland for the Year of Food and Drink 2015, visit www.visitscotland.com/about/food-drink.