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A selection of food and drink news from Scotland: from the latest on Whisky Month, a brand new cook school, Living Off the Land Weekends and a chocolate cook school
(Food & Drink Update, Feb 2009)
Building on many successful fishing and mushrooming weekends, Kirkwood Farm in Lockerbie are now arranging their first Live Off the Land weekend. Over the course of three days, visitors will learn how to identify, prepare, forage and hunt for foods. The highlight of the course will be a Saturday night dinner prepared mainly from ingredients that visitors have foraged, hunted and prepared themselves on Kirkwood Farm. Hosts, Fiona Houston and Xa Milne, are the co-authors of the highly acclaimed “Seaweed and Eat it – a family foraging and cooking adventure” and have also made several TV appearances. Kirkwood is a farm/estate situated on the River Annan in the heart of the rolling hills of Dumfriesshire. The Living Off the Land Weekend will be held from 23-26th April (Thurs-Sun)
Throughout the month of May Homecoming Scotland 2009 invites you to explore and appreciate the expertise of the stillsmen and master blenders whose diligence has created one of Scotland's biggest exports and extensions of Scottish culture. Kicking off the celebrations at the biggest ever Spirit of Speyside event from 1st - 10th May the Scotch Whisky Industry opens its doors to visitors and locals alike. From a tasting session at The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, to a 3 day whisky course in Fife, there are a range of ways to sample Scotland's national tipple. Known as 'Uisge Beatha' in gaelic or 'Water of Life', the process of making whisky in Scotland can be traced back hundreds of years and has evolved geographic distinctions owing to the origins of the environment and the characters of the distillers themselves.
The month long programme is currently being developed in association with the Whisky Industry and will conclude with Feis lle, Islay's annual Malt and Music Festival. Look out too for the Spirit of the West event at Inveraray Castle between 16-17 May.
A new VisitScotland campaign which combines great walks throughout Scotland with top restaurants has been launched. The project allows readers to download the walks and foody information from www.eatscotland.com. There are walks for all levels of ability. Just the thing for guilt-free indulgence!
Bookings are now being taken for Braehead Cook School in Kilmarnock, which opens this month. Well established in the catering industry this is the first consumer venture for Braehead Foods, which has been operating for 20 years. Braehead Foods are sole game supplier to Gordon Ramsay and supply Michelin starred chefs, luxury hotels and 1 - 4 AA Rosette restaurants across the UK. The new cook school at their 30,000 sq headquarters will enable them to impart their culinary knowledge for the general public to recreate in the comfort of their own home. Masterclasses will take place in the new state of the art cook school kitchen, which comprises a demo area and 10 bays holding up to 20 people. As well as the cook school, Braehead also houses a demonstration kitchen, restaurant and shop. The new cook school will offer 18 masterclasses on a variety of different disciplines from techniques and cooking methods for game and red meat dishes to simple shellfish, healthy eating and dinner party dishes.
Day and evening courses are available.
Bruichladdich distillery has announced the release of the world’s most heavily peated whisky. The inaugural bottling of Octomore, a single malt whisky distilled at Bruichladdich from barley, is three times peatier than any other whisky ever produced. Demand has now even exceeded the 6000 bottle supply, with stocks sold out before the whisky left the distillery.
Multi-award-winning chef Albert Roux has announced that he plans to open his first Scottish restaurant in Inverness. Chez Roux will open on April 1 2009 at the city's Rocpool Reserve hotel. Speaking as he hosted the second of two gourmet introductory weekends at the hotel, Mr Roux said he had been impressed by the establishment's elegance and style, which he described as unrivalled outside London. His existing restaurants are rated among the best in the world. London institution Le Gavroche, which Albert and his younger brother Michel opened in 1967, was the first in the UK to be awarded three Michelin stars, while the Waterside Inn, which opened in the Berkshire village of Bray in 1972, gained its third Michelin star in 1985.
The announcement of the Inverness restaurant comes seven months after the five-star Rocpool Reserve was bought by the owners of Inverlochy Castle, a luxurious country house hotel near Fort William.
For those seeking a sweet indulgence, the Cocoa Black chocolate school in Peebles will prove a satisfying find. Nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders (20 miles south of Edinburgh), Cocoa Black is quickly gaining recognition amongst food lovers. Founded in 2008 by Ruth Hinks (an Olympic winning pastry chef), the company aims to delight even the most discerning sweet tooth through its range of luxury chocolates, cakes and desserts. The school provides tuition at all levels - from those looking to while away a lazy afternoon tasting chocolate, through to industry professionals aiming to refine their craft. All instruction is provided by Ruth, who will demonstrate some of the essential skills which enabled her to reach the pinnacle of her profession. Classes vary in size (3-6 participants) and usually last for about 2.5 hours. They are currently run from Ruth’s new, delightful and spacious farmhouse kitchen, pending completion of a purpose-built school in 2009. Cocoa Black will supply an apron, utensils and recipes - all you have to bring is enthusiasm!
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