Royal Highland & Royal Banquets

Banquet at Kalmar Castle, Sweden
with the Tukes of Hardiesmill

Well the Royal Highland Show is a wrap for another year and I for one am delighted we didn’t have this sweltering heat! It was marvellous to meet and greet everyone again; to watch those stunning horses parade the ring, to inspect the shampoo’d sheep and compare cattle in the Highland Hall.

This year was more challenging than usual for our chefs, given their staff shortages, Brexit and rising costs so it is with huge appreciation I thank the wonderful guys who gave their time so generously to our Theatre at the Royal Highland: Tom Lewis, Craig Wilson, Paul Newman, Billy Hamilton, Praveen Kumar, Neil Forbes and The Batch Lady along with a super range of writers, farmers and cooks (including the fascinating butchery of an entire Native Shetland Sheep) from across the Highlands & Islands representing the President’s Initiative.  I thank them all most sincerely for making the Theatre such a success – and my brilliant team of students who kept the wheels oiled so beautifully. By next year everyone will know our lovely new location for sure!

Craig Wilson
Paul Newman
Billy Hamilton
Tom Lewis
Neil Forbes
Some of the RBST winners

This year was the inaugural RBST Scotland Food & Farming Sustainability Awards, recognising their excellence in sustainable food and farming, with the awards presented at the Show. You will find the full results here and our warmest congratulations to Uradale Farm, Jane Cooper & The Orkney Boreray Community, Macduff 1890, Macbeths, Slipperfield Croft, Tulloch Highland Rare Breed Pigs, Nikki Yoxhall, The Eriskay Pony Society & Alice Lennox. The Sustainable Chef of the Year was awarded jointly to Paul Newman of Errichel and Fred Berkmiller of l’Escargot Bleu, both of whom exemplify sustainability in spades. Congratulations again to all.

The Bread & Dairy Championships were both judged in advance of the Show. The Scottish Bread Championship, sponsored by the Edinburgh Bakers Trust, Scottish Food Guide & Scotland The Bread had a good turnout with Wild Hearth and Company Bakery worthy joint Supreme Champions. Full results here. Should you be interested in applying for bread-related grants, the information is also on that link. Congratulations to Connage, Yester, St Andrews Farmhouse and Kedar for their Gold Awards in the Dairy Championships.

We were out and about in Sweden for a few weeks, catching up with friends and family and being a digital nomad. This involved some spectacular meals and great company, so, without embarrassing them by name, here’s a few mouth-watering photos.

Jerusalem artichoke
Prawns, löjrom & garden lettuce
Kalmar banquet

We also visited Kalmar Castle and were very impressed by the kitchen and dining hall displays. Food orders in days of old included a monthly supply of 63 oxen, 26 hares, 63 geese, 980 hens, 6 barrels of salted fish, not to mention the imported beer and Madeira wine! The wealthy certainly knew how to entertain and had an immense household and army to feed. Amongst the stuffed swan and jellied eels were a significant number of dishes I cook today: apple cake, pike with lemon, cloudberry cake, duck with rosemary and thyme. The Royal lands were brimming with locally grown and reared produce ensuring their safety under siege.

Last but by no means least, our book, Meadows: The Swedish Farmer & The Scottish Cook is on sale online and at selected farmshops, with more being added. There will also be a book tour around Scotland soon, with signings and samplings…details to follow.

Wishing you a safe, healthy and successful summer, Yours aye, Wendy

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