Visitors to the forthcoming Dundee Flower and Food Festival (5-7 September) are in for a treat, thanks to a boost of £4,000 from the Homecoming Scotland 2014 Food and Drink Fund.
The popular festival is one of a number of Homecoming events awarded money from the Homecoming Scotland Food and Drink fund dedicated to promoting Scottish food and drink in 2014, announced by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, Richard Lochhead.
The additional funding will be used towards a brand new Food Discovery Marquee – a collaboration with Dundee Science Centre. The marquee, seating up to 100 visitors will be hosted by staff from Dundee’s Science Centre and will provide a free three-day interactive programme showcasing the story of Scottish food and drink, as well as cookery demonstrations and an understanding of the science behind many of our favourite foods. This new activity will also enable a wider range of producers to take part in the Festival this year.
Highlights this year also include top chefs Nick Nairn and Paul Rankin, and gardening fans will be treated to displays by Beechgrove stars Carole Baxter, George Anderson and Jim McColl. The World Jampionships will also make another appearance at the festival with prizes awarded on the Saturday.
The Homecoming Food and Drink funding will be used for a number of different elements across the seven events that have received money including Blas Festival (£10k), City of Elgin Food & Drink Festival (£3,845), Dundee Flower and Food Festival (£4k), Living Food at Cawdor Castle (£4k), Best of the West (£3.5k), Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival (£3,900) and the World Pipe Band Championships (£12k).
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:
“Scotland’s reputation for exceptional. quality food and drink is growing and it is very exciting to see. With new restaurants, products, food festivals and events popping up all over the country, visitors from home and abroad are enjoying discovering all sorts of fresh local produce from delicious seafood to delightful artisan Scottish gin.
“Food and drink is a key element of our Homecoming year and this fund has helped develop and support that theme to great success. In 2015, we welcome the Year of Food and Drink and we look forward to continuing to showcase Scotland’s outstanding natural larder to the world.”
Blas Festival (5-13 September) will celebrate its 10th anniversary by mixing the best of Gaelic culture, music, art and spoken word with a number of food tastings at many of their events. Highlights include an open-tasting session at Wick Assembly Rooms on the 6 September as part of the sold-out Red Hot Chilli Pipers concert, and pop-up food tastings and musical showcases at Inverness Airport.
The 9th annual Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival (6 & 7 September) will showcase Scottish cookery demonstrations including a World War Two Cookery team. There will also be a cookery demonstrations area which will use food from the stalls of the local producers attending the event and include back to basics tutorials on how to get the most out of Scotland’s larder.
The Best of the West Festival (13 & 14 September) returns to the stunning grounds of Scotland’s iconic Inveraray Castle with a two day celebration of traditional music, family fun and the pick of Argyll’s bountiful larder. For this first time, the event will have a professional demonstration kitchen for the weekend where Ross Stovold, Isle of Eriska Head Chef (former head chef at Michelin-starred Alimentum in Cambridge) will showcase three of his signature dishes alongside a number of locally based chefs.
The City of Elgin Food and Drink Festival (20 September) which will have more than 70 exhibitors this year will be offering ‘Tasty Tours’ –short guided tours mixing food and drink themes with the wonderful local heritage including a visit to Gordon & MacPhail. The Festival will also host a ‘Children's Fruit Kebab & Biscuit Bar’ encouraging children to try different fruits, both those produced locally and those that can be purchased locally.
Living Food at Cawdor Castle (20 September) will have additional stalls to showcase the Slow Food ‘Ark of Taste’ products from Scotland. The Ark of Taste, which started in 1996, is a catalogue of traditional food products from all over the world that are in danger of disappearing. There are 10 unique and very traditional Scottish products on the list and including Musselburgh leeks, Shetland Cabbage, Shetland Black potatoes, North Ronaldsay and Shetland lamb, Shetland beef and traditional food processes.
The World Pipe Band Championships served up a food and drink festival like no other last weekend. Titled ‘Albannach Food and Drink Festival – a contemporary Flavour of Scotland’, visitors were treated to the finest fare and a full day of Scottish food and drink celebrations.
Food and drink is a key theme for Homecoming Scotland 2014 and builds on the success of the Year of Food and Drink celebrations in 2010. The investment will help increase the number of food and drink producers involved in events and promote the distinct role that food and drink plays in shaping Scotland's cultural identity and heritage ahead of the dedicated Year of Food and Drink in 2015.
A number of the events including Best of the West, City of Elgin Food & Drink Festival, Dundee Flower and Food Festival, Living Food at Cawdor Castle and Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival will also form part of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2014 taking place between the 6th and the 21st of September.
The funding is in addition to the events which were announced earlier this year which included the Forth Bridges Festival Scotland Welcomes the World to Lunch event (£25k), Whisky Month (£45k), John Muir Festival (£10k), Bannockburn Live (£50k), Ryder Cup Opening Concert (£20k), Highland Homecoming (£30k), and the Edinburgh International Science Festival (£20k).