Final preparations are underway for one of Scotland's most successful food festivals. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend Ballantrae's Festival of Food & Drink on Sunday June 11th (from 11am to 5pm. Entry is £2 with accompanied children free).
The award winning event, which is now in its third year, has become a regular fixture in the culinary calendar – attracting top chefs and food producers from around the country. The very best in local produce including fish, seafood, meats, cheeses, chocolates, jams, breads, cakes, cider, wine and whisky, will be available to sample, buy, take home and enjoy.
Visitors will also be able to sit down to a range of mouthwatering delights, from stone baked pizzas to a hog roast at banqueting tables overlooking spectacular views of Ailsa Craig. The very popular cookery demonstrations and foraging expeditions are making a welcome return, and young visitors can enjoy entertainment provided by “Talk of the Town”.
With its menu of local specialities, slow food and wild produce, the Festival has a very different flavour to the fast food era. Sunday’s event reflects the growing popularity of high quality food produced locally. Ayrshire led the way in introducing farmers’ markets to Scotland and the Festival builds on that success. Tourists are crucial to the economy of South West Scotland and research has shown that eating local cuisine enhances their visit to the area.
The event is being held in a grand marquee complex at Ballantrae harbour and Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre, so whatever the weather, it’s set to be a great day out with something for all food lovers, whether you enjoy cooking, or just like eating!.
Festival organiser Siobhan Liddington says:
“There’s a real buzz about this event. Following the success of our previous two Festivals and our Farmers’ Markets Ballantrae is now well and truly on the food map.”
"Ballantrae is playing its part in helping to deliver national and local tourism and food strategies as well as generating an income for suppliers and local businesses."
One of those businesses is the Galloway Soup Company. Commenting on last year’s festival Joanne Hird said:
“Last year was the first time I had attended the Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink. I had my doubts about the success of the day but I should not have worried. When the doors opened at 11am it was constant until about 4 pm when things started slowing down.The day got better and better for us, with lots of inquiries. I know that a huge amount of work takes place prior to the event to attract people in their thousands. All in all, it’s a great set up, a fantastic selection of producers, well organised, and a superb atmosphere. After establishing our business in March 2016, last year’s Ballantrae Festival of Food & Drink was one of our first big events. We took on board the comments and feedback from those attending and used this to further develop our business. A year on we are returning to Ballantrae Festival of Food & Drink with new branding, a wider range of soups and a number of local stockists who we can refer customers to following the event. We are really looking forward to it - can’t wait to meet you all again.”
At the Festival there will be an opportunity to visit the “Ballantrae Biosphere” and visitors will be able to get a fascinating insight into the history of Scottish food and drink.
Foraging expeditions costing £12 (with free entry to the Festival) can be pre-booked at www.ballantraefoodfest.eventbrite.co.uk
Cookery demonstrations are included in the entry fee.
For details of free transport to the event on Sunday from Stranraer, Girvan and Barrhill and a full programme, visit www.ballantraefoodfest.com.
In addition to the Sunday event, two fringe events are being held this year to ensure a truly memorable weekend. On Friday evening to celebrate Ballantrae’s rich smuggling history - including the smuggling of brandy and fine wines - and part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology - The Ballantrae Smugglers’ Festival is producing an event for the whole family entitled “Music, Poetry and Smuggling Stories” starting at 7pm at Ballantrae Harbour. On Saturday at the “Edible Cinema” at Culzean Country Park, the audience will experience cinema in a unique way through aroma, texture and taste. There will be one film for adults and one for children.
Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “The Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink is the perfect stage to showcase the wonderful array of local produce and we are delighted to be supporting them through our National Funding Programme. They have pulled together a great programme of gastronomic delights, including a look back at our intriguing culinary history in celebration of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. I’m sure the Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink will once again deliver an outstanding event and continue to build a strong future in South Ayrshire.”
The Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink is organised by the Ballantrae Food Strategy Group - local volunteers working in partnership with food and drink and other professionals. This year the Festival has received funding from EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate; Carrick Futures with funding from Scottish Power Renewables Mark Hill and Arecleoch wind farms; South Ayrshire Council; Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre; and ScotRail.
For more information on the events on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, go to www.ballantraefoodfest.com.