Our weekly round-up of all the latest food and drink news

Food: 

Tesco urged to stock more Scottish food and drink 

Scotland’s Food Secretary Richard Lochhead has encouraged Tesco chairman John Allan to explore further opportunities to get even more Scottish produce into Tesco stores.

Mr Lochhead said: “In recent years Tesco has developed a strong partnership with Scotland Food and Drink and, as a result of that partnership and other work, has witnessed has witnessed a £9.2 million increase in sales for Scottish suppliers, seen 72 new Scottish products land on their shelves, and created 10 new jobs in Tesco’s buying team.

“Scotland has a fantastic natural larder that lends itself to some of the best food and drink around. I’m glad our hardworking producers, farmers, suppliers and processors are receiving support from Tesco, and I hope this partnership continues to grow as retailers and the food service sector play their part in helping Scotland become a Good Food Nation. (source: farminguk.com)

Scottish food exports reach a record £1.1billion

Scotland’s Food Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced that Scottish food exports have surpassed the £1.1 billion mark for the first time, with total food and drink exports valued at £5.1 billion in 2014.

The new figures, which have been extracted from official HMRC export statistics for 2014, show that food exports alone grew by 3.5 per cent on 2013, driven primarily by an increase in fish and seafood, which was up £38m. (Source: Scottish government)

Food and Drink Festival Urges Local Businesses to Help Put Inverurie on Scotland’s Food Map

Feast North East, a three-month food and drink festival taking place from June to August, will showcase the very best food and drink producers, farmers, independent retailers and eating establishments in the region.

Festival organisers are encouraging local businesses to show their support by hosting an event, helping to bring a summer full of events to the area. Families and visitors can take part in a range of activities, including tasting events, foraging tours, cooking demonstrations and fun days.

Feast North East, which is supported by Aberdeenshire Council, will officially kick off at Taste of Grampian on Saturday 6 June, with further event details to be announced soon. If you are interested in participating in Feast North East, please contact Julia Bryce on 01224 857999 or email Julia@frasermedia.co.uk

Edinburgh soup cafe launches new crowdfunding campaign

The Union of Genius Kickstarter campaign is half way through but still has just over half of its £10,000 target to raise. The soup start up is looking for funds to support its kitchen expansion so they can make more soup for Edinburgh’s independent cafes, nursery schools and homeless care van.

Last week they committed to providing a free soup for someone who can’t afford it for every person who backs them. Backers are already able to ‘suspend’ their soup rewards, donating them to the homeless community. Union of Genius will also match the contribution of anyone who does this. Consequently, there are over 300 soups available for the homeless so far, assuming the Kickstarter is successful.

Watch their video, learn more about the rewards on offer and back them here before June 8th.

Drink:

Scotland’s distilleries attract record visitor numbers

Scotland’s whisky distilleries have attracted more visitors than ever before, according to new figures.

A survey by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) revealed that more than 1.5 million people visited the country’s 54 distilleries, which were open to the public last year – an increase of nearly six per cent on 2014’s figure, and up 15 per cent on 2013.

The statistics suggest that visitors from across the world spent close to £50 million on distillery tours and in shops and cafes, nearly doubling 2010’s total spend.

Jura teams up with Drygate for Tastival festival

A limited edition Jura Tastival bottling 2015 is unveiled today, marking the launch of the island’s Tastival 2015 celebrations on 27 & 28 May.

With only 3,970 bottles available, Jura Tastival 2015’s rich and fruity flavour is influenced by its maturation in specially selected sparkling wine barrels from the chalk cellars of the House
of Bouvet Ladubay in Saumur, Maine-et-Loire, France. The whisky is non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength, 52% ABV.

A collaboration with Drygate Brewing Co. will also see a limited edition craft beer released to pair with Jura Tastival 2015, inspired by the aromatic single malt. Made in an extremely limited run, this beer will be available to taste at an on island craft beer session held as part of Tastival 2015, or on tap at Drygate during the week of the festival.

Picture: Jura

Picture: Jura

New whisky distillery planned for the isle of Raasay

A tiny Hebridean island off the coast of Skye is set to become the location of Scotland’s newest distillery.

The multimillion-pound Raasay Distillery and visitor experience centre will be independently owned & operated by R&B Distillers and hopes to open in January 2017, if planning permission is granted later this year.

The development would become the island’s first legal distillery and is expected to generate employment for eleven of the island’s 120 residents.

Events:

Ginomics for Generation Gin – Glasgow

(Thursday, 4th June)

Discover the science of gin with Ewan Henderson of Scotch Broth Events, Dr Richard Burchmore, Dr Isabel Vincent, Dr Stefan Weidt and the team from the University of Glasgow Polyomics. Explore the chemistry of botanicals with taste tests & science experiments. This with 5 delicious gin cocktails over 4 courses and a multi-sensory jazz pairing element.

Royal Highland Show – Edinburgh

(Thursday 18th June – Sunday 21st June)

2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink and the Royal Highland Show, Scotland’s largest food and drink event, plans to celebrate by launching a brand new food offering, ‘Scotland’s Larder Live!’ the ultimate celebration of Scottish produce. Featuring over 150 Scottish food and drink exhibitors there will be live cooking experiences, an opportunity to have taste buds tickled at every step and hundreds of products on sale, from Orkney artisan cheese to botanical gin from Angus.

Whisky Fringe 2015 – Edinburgh

(7th,8th & 9th August – 2pm to 6pm)

Now in its 14th year, Royal Mile Whiskies annual Whisky Fringe tasting event attracts people from all over the world to Edinburgh.

Come along to the beautiful Mansfield Traquair (a former church with magnificent murals by Phoebe Anne Traquair) to sample some of the best whiskies around. Over 25 distillers will be on show with a total of more than 250 drams available to taste.

Summer Beer & Food Fest – Edinburgh

(August 1st)

Summer Beer & Food Fest is Edinburgh’s first collaboration festival taking place on Saturday 1st August at Stewart Brewing. Rather than hosting an event by themselves, the local craft brewery wanted to organise a real celebration and as such, have decided to team up with local & likeminded food and drink producers and industry specialists. Emily Gray, Marketing & Communications at Stewart Brewing explains that, “the day will triumph all of the incredible, local and high quality produce that is available in Edinburgh and further afield. It is certainly the biggest scale event that our team have tackled and I imagine the largest food and drink festival to set foot on Midlothian soils”.

Distillery of the week:

Aberfeldy distillery, Highlands

The home of Dewar’s White Label, once ignored and forgotten, this little distillery is battling back

Aberfeldy-2

Recipe of the week:

Tom Kitchin recipe: Lamb sweetbreads with ravioli

photography: Marc Millar  240515 Unusual cuts  Spectrum food, Kitchin

Picture: Marc Millar

Tom Kitchin’s gorgeous recipe for lamb sweetbreads.

Feature of the week: 

Why Scotland is a great place for a vegetarian to live

Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Picture: Lisa Ferguson

We take a look at all the reasons why Scotland is such a great place for vegetarians  and vegans to live.

Restaurant review: 

The Boath House, Nairn, restaurant review

Boath

The Boath House restaurant has a great menu with aesthetic and sensory appeal but just falls short of living up to its exciting reputation, finds Ashley Davies

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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