One thing I think we can all agree on is that Scotland has some pretty awesome food. Forget about your stereotypes of deep fried Mars Bars and Irn Bru (forgive me Bru, I love you really), Eat Drink Discover Scotland showcases Scottish cuisine at its best, it’s freshest and it’s most creative. For me and David, it was a chance to treat ourselves so we headed along to the Royal Highland Centre last Sunday with empty bellies and full wallets, planning to reverse this sharpish.
The exhibition hall was divided in geographical regions, from Orkney to the Borders, with a bonus island of “Chocolate Zone” as well as a couple of stages with chefs demonstrating recipes, an education area, and a masterclass area. We didn’t sign up for any masterclasses, but we did enjoy wandering through the stall, listening in to some of the presentations and chatting to the exhibitors. Between trying samples and filling our shopping bags we also stopped for a buffalo burger from The Buffalo Farm in Fife and a scoop of my favourite honeycomb ice cream from Mackies from the Grampian area.
Wanna see what we bought?
Predictably it includes chocolate, cheese and cake.
This caramel shortcake cheesecake from the Handmade Cheesecake Company in Ayr is without a doubt, the best cheesecake I have ever eaten in my life. The BEST. EVER. IN MY WHOLE LIFE. Really. It was perfect. And that caramel sauce – oh holy hell, that was beyond perfect. It was dream-like. Luckily for us, they deliver nationwide. Who will send me a profiterole cheesecake for my birthday? Profiteroles! On a cheesecake! I need it!!
OK. I’ve calmed down now. But only slightly, because Mackies is making chocolate now! They had a wee deal so I got all four flavours. I would say that the traditional milk chocolate one is not that special but the rest are amazing, especially the dark and the mint. I can see the mint bar being a regular addition to my shopping basket.
To Orkney and obviously I had to try some cheese and oatcakes. I can’t get enough smoked cheese in my life so we picked up some from The Island Smokery. Very nice indeed! But you can’t eat cheese by itself so we also purchased some rough oatcakes from Stockans and for a fancy addition, some pate from Castle MacLellan all the way over in Dumfries and Galloway.
Over in the Edinburgh section, David was drawn to these little sachets from Flavour Magic. The Chilli and the Smoked packets are flavour infused rock salt for jazzing up your cooking and they pack a lot of flavour in there. We’ve had the smoked rock salt on steak last week and it was lush! The Togarashi is a Japanese spice blend that is wonderfully complex and unique. Both the Togarashi and the Chilli have an intense afterburn! Great for spice lovers as the heat hits you after the flavour has a chance to build, so the flavour is not overpowered – very impressive.
From Perthshire we got these absolutely delicious oils and dressings. It was a mix and match selection so we got a cold pressed rapeseed oil and two dressings – chilli and red pepper and apple and walnut. These are seriously good! I’ve been having the chilli dressing drizzled over spaghetti for a super quick dinner and it’s just lovely.
Lastly I got some coconut ice from Handmade Tempting Treats in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs area. Love coconut ice. Yum yum yum yum yum.
Didn’t we get a good selection? I was also tempted by the Edinburgh Gin stall, the cider and alll the meat, but I had to control myself. Overall, it was a great day out. Buy local! It’s good.