This weekend the Royal Highland Centre played host to Eat, Drink, Discover Scotland, an event that celebrated Scottish produce. It was a celebration of Scottish food and drink, with demonstrations from chefs and lots to sample!
We decided to pop along on the Saturday and were pleasantly surprised that the place wasn’t too crowded and we could move among the stalls without having to fight our way through human traffic. The first purchase of the day was a rather strange one: Venison Chorizo from Great Glen Charcuterie. Their range included Venison bresoala, salami, pepperoni and chorizo all from local Highland game. It was a combination of two of my favourite things and it seemed only right to buy some. That night we served it up on the BBQ, lightly frazzled, as a starter, it was divine. The flavours of chorizo but the distinct, gamey flavour of venison.
To follow our chorizo, we knew we wanted some decent sausages or burgers to put on the BBQ and we spent a while wandering the various butcher and meat stalls trying to decide but we ended up going for the first one we went to when we walked in the door. It was one of the only butcher stalls that had tasters available and we had tried their pork sausage and loved it, so we went back. The stall was Macbeth’s, a Scottish butcher and game dealer. They had a special promotion on that included 2 sirloin steaks, 2 steak burgers and a pack of sausages for £20. For the quality of meat the size of the steaks, we figured it was perfect!
We cooked up the steaks and sausages on the BBQ, slicing the steaks up so that everyone could get their share (there were four of us, not just two). We ended up saving the burgers for another time because we were all pretty full. The steaks were great, but the sausages, oh the sausages! We had a choice but the representative for Macbeth told us that for a BBQ, the pork ones were the best choice. He was not wrong! I’ve never really been a huge fan of them, but these were delicious and really suited being cooked on the BBQ. For £20 we got a damn good deal and we have 2 very good burgers in the freezer just in case the Sun decides to come back out!
Our other purchases included a couple of favourites, namely, a bag of truffles from Alba Chocolate. We discovered them one day at a farmers market in Balloch, where we bought our first bag of these hand made, delicious truffles. I had wanted to get a bag of Chilli and Lime as they were my favourite but they didn’t have any. We settled for a bag of Raspberry in the end and paid the rather hefty fee of £5 for a bag of six. It seems a lot, but you pay not for quantity, but for quality. We also purchased some fudge from the Galloway Fudge Company – the chocolate orange and the raspberry ripple are the best!
Sam bought himself some good, hoppy, craft beer from The Eden Brewery – 5 bottles for £10. While there we also sampled some of their “hops gin” which was tasty but not worth the £30 a bottle price! After the beer it was time for my kind of drink – wine! We headed over to the Cairn O’Mohr stall which specialised in fruit wines. I tried the raspberry but found it to be far too sweet, but the vendor was happy to let me try a range of things, from their vintage and fruit punch ciders to sparkling wines. We ended up purchasing a bottle of the Strawberry Sparkling Wine AND a box of their Vintage Cider – well, the man was very convincing and they both tasted great!
With our hands full of purchases, and after almost bumping straight into Adam Handling (I was too afraid to ask him for a photo) it was time to head home. Eat, Drink, Discover Scotland is a wonderful event that celebrates Scottish produce and gives visitors the chance to sample some amazing food and drinks. Chefs including Adam Handling, Tony Singh and Scott Davies were present over the weekend providing masterclasses, talks and demonstrations and vendors were more than happy to share the story of their brand and their produce with customers. I for one am looking forward to next year – not to mention cracking open that bottle of Strawberry Sparkling Wine and somehow making my way through 5 litres of cider!