Flavours of the Festival – Edinburgh Food Festival 2017

Slow Food Edinburgh at Edinburgh Food Festival 

This was the third year that Slow Food Edinburgh participated in the Edinburgh Food Festival. Our first two years had been so successful and unusual that we weren’t sure how things would turn out. But in the end, everything worked well with some innovative events and presentations all geared to display the best of Scotland’s Good, Clean and Fair larder.

Our stall attracted a lot of genuine interest – especially when our demonstrations featured products from the Ark of Taste – a metaphorical Noah’s Ark of forgotten foods at risk of extinction through over-commercialisation or loss of heritage. There was a fascination with the Barra Snails, the Traditional Blood Black pudding; the Arbroath smokies, the Isle of Colonsay black bee honey and the diverse uses of beremeal and peasemeal.

The cricket brownies from the Ethical Carnivore generated as much attention as the snails. Denise Walton’s presentation compared cooked organic – produced sausages (chorizo and boerwurst) with the cured charcuterie equivalent. And the Sunday Scotland’s Strawberry tasting demonstrated that Pick Your Own from a fruit farm (Centenary and Arabella) yield more flavour than the finest from the supermarkets.

Each day started with “Our Daily Bread” when, with the support of Breadshare – the community bakery,  Blair Atholl watermill and the Bakehouse at Findhorn we presented bakery using different grains each day – wheat, spelt, rye, oats and bere barley. We had artisan cheeses and other interesting spreads to go with the bread.

Chef Alliance meets Ark of Taste 

At the end of each day, we had a guest chef presenter from the Slow Food Chef Alliance who featured one or more Ark of Taste products.  The “Chef Alliance meets Ark of Taste” menus included Pannacotta of Colonsay honey and Carrageen moss (Alison Henderson); Crowdie Tortellini with Musselburgh Leek and Black Pudding and Finnan Haddie Cullen Skink (Steve Brown); Ways with Shetland Mutton (Neil Forbes); and Musselburgh Leek and Lanark Blue Risottos (Marcin Medrygal). Recipes for these dishes and all the other demonstrated foods will be posted on our website part of the Slow Food Edinburgh Recipe Bank.

To support the Picnic in the Garden on the Sunday Martin Ashing prepared Slow Food tasting canapé platters for purchase.

Throughout the Festival, Slow Food members and supporters gave plenary presentations in the Piccolo Tent – Shirley Spears on The Three Chimneys and Marmalade; Amy Rankine on Urban Foraging; and Carina Contini on the Italian contribution to Scotland’s Food and Drink. A Slow Food Taste Adventure attracted about 50 children with their families and a Slow Food Youth Network panel discussion examined the contribution of young people to the Food Industry.

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Our volunteer spreading Slow Food message 

None of this could have happened without the help and encouragement of our volunteers, supporters and food suppliers. Follow the link here to a list of suppliers’ contact details should you wish to obtain any of the produce featured on our stall.

Our thanks to Assembly for welcoming us back and helping us through the week. Will we be back another year? An almost certain, Yes judging from the success and enthusiasm for this year’s event.