There has been much talk recently of Food Tourism, something I have been devoted to for many years. Well, here it is in spades, as Les Dames d’Escoffier from the LDE Chapters across North America from New York to Hawaii, Texas to Vancouver joined me and Fiona Richmond on their 4 day tours of Scotland! (Pictured at Craigadam)
Whilst I am loyal to our nation whatever the weather it certainly helps when the sun shines on coast and country, mountain and glen! The American Dames, leaders in their fields of expertise in food, drink and hospitality, brought along a few accompanying charming dudes, their self- nominated sobriquet, who also embraced Scottish food and culture, from the Whisky Tasting Dinner at the Glengoyne Room at Contini (pictured) to Slow Food Ark of Taste sampling in the heart of Fife at St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company. Whilst with us they stayed at The Dunstane Houses where the standard of service was exceptional and all enjoyed their Scottish hospitality https://thedunstane.com
Andrew, eldest son of the Clan Chief of Clan Carmichael https://www.carmichael.co.uk, impressed them in his kilt and Glengarry Bonnet, complete with 2 eagle feathers denoting his rank as heir, and charmed them with tales of the Clan’s history and his superb sustainably produced venison, beef and lamb. We had a delicious lunch at their Bistro before heading onwards to Mochrum Estate, home to the unique fold of Belted Galloway on SF Ark of Taste. Not open to the public we were very honoured to be invited to this private home. The Belties are charismatic with their curly coats and iconic white belts and we were warmly welcomed into the castle kitchen for refreshments. After a beautiful drive through the landscapes of Dumfries & Galloway we ended the day, piped in to dinner, at Craigadam https://www.craigadam.com where our host Richard regaled us with tales from the estate whilst his wife Celia cooked us a wonderful dinner including Les Dames’ first haggis (freshly caught on the moor of course!), estate partridge (pictured) and home made ice cream, all served in country house dining style….
Edinburgh was a must on the itinerary …
Café St Honore http://www.cafesthonore.com ,
Contini Cannonball https://www.contini.com &
Prestonfield (below) https://www.prestonfield.com …were our ports of call, all of which extended a warm Scottish welcome to our guests and left them with very happy memories of superb dining. As Chair of the Edinburgh Bakers (Baxters) Trust, we also had a private viewing and tour of the Incorporation of Guilds of Edinburgh where Les Dames (& Les Dudes) could see 17thCentury banners and other extraordinary archives relating to the men (and a few women) whose labours and expertise formed so much of what we now know as Edinburgh and its New Town today. Their wealth was also contributory to the formation of schools in the city, and of particular interest, education for girls.
The Kingdom of Fife trip featured St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company http://www.standrewscheese.co.uk and Ardross Farm Shop http://www.ardrossfarm.co.uk. Both family farms who have diversified and gone on to deservedly be multi-award winners in their fields. Les Dames really enjoyed meeting
Jane and the Pollock family respectively and there was much discussion on ethical farming, artisan foods and sustainability. Needless to say, sampling was a prerequisite and the platters at both venues absolutely delicious. As a finale to our day in Fife (via the pretty fishing village of Pitenweem) we had a Feast of Produce at our Scottish Food Studio at Aberdour. Judging from the e mails I think everyone had as enjoyable a time as we did – there is nothing like a good party to round things off! My sincere thanks to the many of Scotland’s fine foodies, producers and chefs who made the journey to meet Les Dames there, along with their signature dishes! Lomond Ceilidh Band provided some great music…and Jolene and I agreed to sing a folk song each from Hawaii and Scotland respectively!! It was an absolute pleasure and privilege to meet such lovely people and I do hope our paths cross again. http://www.ldei.org
Members’ News around Scotland….
Cringletie has a fun car treasure hunt of the Borders and will provide you with a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your success. Come and stay with their ever-popular Taste of the Seasons and follow the link for more details. Such a stunning place with great service and style https://www.cringletie.com
On Wednesday the 13th of June, Whitmuir Kitchen will be hosting the Big Whitmuir Brunch between 9:30am and 11:30am as part of Wake Up to Organics, a national day for promoting organics being organised by the Organics Trade Board. Whitmuir is sustainable farming in action, also with lovely farm shop, café bistro, butchery, home deliveries and gallery so do take a trip and visit. For more info click https://www.whitmuir.scot
Win a handmade Mini Whisky Rack for Father’s Day from Demijohn’s. If you need a present for your Dad on Father’s Day on Sun 17 June, then they have a few good Father’s Day gift ideas for you to consider and a special free delivery offer running. Orders over £25 are delivery free* until Mon 4thJune. I just love these inspired and delicious gifts! https://www.demijohn.co.uk
John Davidsons Steak Pack with FREE steak saucefor the lover of all things ‘Steaky’. On top of the two fabulous matured Sirloin Steaks you can look forward to a real Steak week with all that’s going on here! For this and other offers from this top notch specialist butcher… https://www.johndavidsons.com
Enjoy Fish Taster Evening at Firebrick on Wednesday 6thJune 2018 at 7pm £35 per person. David and Amanda have prepared a wonderful menu for you at their award-winning restaurant in Lauder. Check for booking and further details http://firebrickbrasserie.co.uk
Treat yourself to a break at Knockinaam with fantastic offers: experience their Garden and Historic House breaks in June or try their self-catering Shingle Lodge. This stunning waterfront location in South West Scotland is the stuff of film locations and romantic hideaways. https://www.knockinaamlodge.com