Wedged firmly between Burns’ Night and Valentine’s, the twain did meet at a very special Scottish food & wine tasting in Glasgow on February 6th. We showcased once again Scotland’s infinite variety of top quality artisan produce, while Pieter Rosenthal of Cork and Bottle matched the menu with some superb wines from around the world that can trace their proud Scottish roots.
Kicking off the love was a delicious glass of strawberry fizz from the Cairn O’Mohr winery; one of the producers we regularly visit on our one day Perthshire food tour.
With the dates of our 2013 tours soon to be posted on our website why not join us in visiting this fun and quirky orchard and winery. During the wine tasting that follows the winery tour, you are left in no doubt that yes indeed, Scotland does create award winning wines!
The awards mentioned are of course the Great Taste Awards. Awarded by the Guild of Fine Food and described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world or the epicurean equivalent of the Booker Price there was of course ample opportunity to sample some Oscar winning produce during the seven-stage menu.
Some hae (smoked) meat
Roast Smoked Scottish Beef & Roast Smoked Wild Scottish Venison from the Rannoch Smokery*
Based in the highlands in Kinloch Rannoch, by Pitlochry, Leo Barclay found himself one bad winter in a predicament. With no chance of getting his deer cull to market due to the wintry conditions, he filled a bath with a wet-brine solution, soaked his cull and built a home-made smoker. The result was the first smoked venison for a business that now has a staggering 27 Great Taste Awards across their product range.
Where to buy? See their website: www.rannochsmokery.com
Accompanying wines: Huia Gewürztraminer, from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, (£14) and The La Multa Old Vine Garnacha (£8)
The Taste Test
Little Doone Sweet Balsamic Dressings – Original, Raspberry, Orange and Ginger
Little Doone Foods is run by husband and wife team, Colin and Tanya in Dalry, Ayrshire. All the dressings are hand-made in small batches and based on the Original Sweet Balsamic Dressing, which sits between a balsamic vinegar and a reduction. The resulting dressings are rich, full of flavour and sweet without being cloying. Seven out of the eight products they have entered for the Great Taste Awards have won at least 1 Gold Star.
Where to buy? See their website: www.littledoone.co.uk
Organic Sourdough from Andrew Wilson of Different Breid*
Andrew’s company is a one man vision and operation based in Glasgow. He specialises in the production of first class sourdough bread made from organically grown, stone ground flours.
Where to buy? See his website: www.differentbreid.co.uk
The Rigs O’ Barley
Pearl Barley risotto served with Smoked Chicken & Smoked Duck from the Rannoch Smokery*
We accompanied the chicken and duck with a creamy pearl barley risotto using barley from Locavore. Based in Glasgow’s south side, Locavore (meaning eater of local food) is a not for profit community interest group with a shop. Their main aim is to source in a sustainable way and help people eat a more locally and environmentally friendly diet.
Unlike wheat and maize, barley grows in our often damp (and sun-deprived!) climate. It wasn’t until the making of whisky was legalised that barley, which was originally grown as animal feed, became the number one grain of choice. With no supply shortages it quickly became the fuel for many farm workers when boiled up over an open fire and mixed with vegetables to create a warming broth.
Accompanying wines: Skillogalee Rose from Australia’s Clare Valley (£13) and Glenguin Old Broke Semillon (£15) from Australia’s Hunter Valley.
A different take on the traditional ‘Scotch Broth’ using Hamlyn’s Oatmeal
Here we used oatmeal, made by Hamlyn’s of Scotland as opposed to barley to create a Scotch Broth that is based on the traditional Northern Irish ‘Yellow Broth’ recipe.
Hamlyn’s, a business in the north-east of the country is owned and managed by the family with 14 generations of history in milling oats.
Oats are also perfectly suited to the Scottish climate and to this day create a plentiful, cheap and nutritious one pot wonder: porridge. Oatcakes were eaten as an alternative to bread as wheat was an incredibly expensive commodity. Little would have been known then about the fortunes of eating a low GI diet, but today with oats being recognised for their low GI properties, they are enjoying a huge upsurge in popularity.
Where to buy? See their website: www.hamlynsoats.co.uk
Accompanying wine: Urlar Sauvignon Blanc (£12).
The Great Chieftain o’ the puddin’ race
Haggis from Ramsay of Carluke**
Based in Carluke in the Clyde Valley we sourced our haggis from the highly respected Ramsay family butchers (now run by the 4th & 5th generation).
With 32 Great Taste Awards to their name, including 5 Golds in 2012 for their Ayrshire Bacon and a 3 star Gold for their Black Pudding (described by Nick Nairn as the best Black Pudding in Scotland), their haggis gained an unbeatable score of 100/100 in the Q Guild Smithfield Awards 2012.
Using a secret family recipe the Ramsay haggis continues to deliver a robustly meaty, delicately spiced, deliciously mealy chieftain o’ the puddin race. As a result of Robert Burns’ poem, the ‘Address to a Haggis’ written in 1787, it became the national dish of Scotland.
Where to buy? See their website: www.ramsayofcarluke.co.uk
Accompanying wine: Iona the Gunnar (£14)
The Poet’s Ploughman
Barwheys Cheese from Ayrshire
Barwheys is an award-winning hard, hand-made Ayrshire cheese that is supporting the re-invigoration of Ayrshire’s cheesemaking traditions. Made by Tricia Bey and her team just a short distance from where Rabbie Burns’ mother also worked to produce cheese, it is made from the unpasteurised milk of pedigree Ayrshire cattle.
Once made they are bandaged in traditional cotton cheesecloth and aged on wooden shelves for between 9 – 18 months producing a long, rich, complex flavour moving from slightly tart to hints of nut & caramel.
Where to buy? See their website: www.barwheysdairy.co.uk
Accompanying wine: Cotes du Roussillon Special Reserve Charles Rennie Mackintosh (£11.50)
Cupid’s Dessert Cocktail
Shaken not stirred by our good friend Richard Duffy
The dessert Cranachan, also known as ‘Crowdie Cream’ is traditionally made with Crowdie, a light, fresh cheese, mixed with raspberries, oatmeal and laced with a good splash of whisky.
This adult, liquid version replaces the Crowdie with fresh cream and creates a slightly tart, yet intense raspberry flavour, accompanied by the warmth of the alcohol and a rich, cooling, creamy finish.
Did it go down well? Seriously, like you really need to ask!
Luscious Lots of Chocolate Love
White, Rose & Vanilla, Milk, Dark and The Chieftain by the Chocolate Tree, Edinburgh & East Lothian*
Ali and Friederike Gower run The Chocolate Tree which is one of very few artisan chocolatiers in the world who actually make their own chocolate from the bean. There are a few basics that are a given with the Chocolate Tree: finest natural ingredients, locally sourced where possible (well except the beans obviously!) and organic.
Walk over the Meadows and you will easily find their café in Edinburgh. It is a must visit. On arrival you will stumble upon a glass fronted cabinet (shame you can’t stumble into with the glass front raised actually!). It is full of the most decadent hand-made chocolate cakes, the tastiest ice-cream and less indulgent sorbet selection this side of Naples and displays a beautiful range of individual chocolates. On the shelves are chocolate bars that would make even Willy Wonka weep. Here sits the most interesting chocolate of the night, The Chieftain. Made with plain chocolate it is mixed with warming haggis spices and the nutty taste of oats. Some loved it, some needed a second try, but all agreed everyone should try it!
Where to buy? See their website.
Accompanying wine: El Puño (£18)
And finally, without which the event wouldn’t have been so fabulous….
We’d like to thank the producers and suppliers who part sponsored* or fully sponsored** their relevant inclusion in ‘Food, Fun & Fizz – Burns in Love’.
We mentioned the foodie Oscars earlier, but we must give a special mention here to someone who has a film and screen Oscar winning fan in Tilda Swinton; Glasgow’s very own Scottish designer Gillian Kyle of Gillian Kyle Scotland. You will instantly recognize Gillian’s work, think Tunnock’s Teacakes, Irn Bru and Scottish Pride bread for starters! A greetings card featuring the man himself, Mr Rabbie Burns from Gillian’s ‘Local Heroes (and Villains)’ range was provided as a gift to all in attendance from Gillian herself.
Thanks also go to Nicole Dalby of Flowers and Design, who presented a beautiful long stemmed red rose to everyone.
We are delighted to work in partnership with Nicole in developing our ‘Natural Scotland’ hamper range: a celebration of Scotland’s landscape via food and flowers. Orders are now being taken for our stunning Mother’s Day gift hamper, which offers exceptional value for money at £49 (instead of our normal price of £69). Order before Sat 2nd March and you will also receive a further 10% discount.
We will also be hosting a fun and creative fresh flower & chocolate workshop from 3 – 5pm at Nicole’s west-end flower shop on Mother’s Day, Sunday the 10th March. What a perfect way to spend the afternoon with your mum or to make your own gift to spoil her with later.
Our next not to be missed ‘Food, Fun & Fizz’ is on Thursday 25th April at 6.30 for 6.45 pm in our usual place, The Good Spirits Company, Bath Street, Glasgow. The theme is an ‘East West Fest’. More on that one soon (but obviously it is going to be another celebration of top quality Scottish food and a few glasses of vino!).