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Foxlake, Ballintaggart & Gardening Scotland

Scotland's Food & Drink County Festival Village at Foxlake will take place this weekend with a series of cooking demonstrations by ‘expert chef and highly respected campaigner for finest local produce, Wendy Barrie.’

I shall be cooking Belhaven Canapés, Pizzettas with Mungoswells Flour; Briggs Lamb pot with spiced dough balls, slow cooked in Knops beer; Weiner Schnitzel with Gosford pork, and a touch of scandi cooking with Brodies coffee cakes. Hope to see you there.

Feast Nights at Ballintaggart are not to be missed. This relatively addition to Perthshire is absolutely charming, refined and a pure pleasure to visit. We dined at a long feasting table under wooden beams, sharing some platters whilst others were served individually. Our fellow diners were equally enthralled and conversation buzzed as the candlelight flickered.

We dined on dandelion tempura, home smoked hock with nettle soup; Isle of Lewis crab, new season asparagus, slow roasted Atholl estate lamb; delicious Bath Olivers with Isle of Mull cheese and carrot jam followed by juicy strawberries with dandelion jellies and black pepper shortbread, all created by Chris and served by Rachel with her team from their beautiful kitchen that doubles as a Cook School by day. A memorable and wonderful evening I would commend to all. Check out their website for their dining, accommodation and courses.

Småland is a relatively large region in south Sweden, famous as what many consider ‘the start of real Sweden,’ home to lakes and forests, snowy winters and glorious summers. Others know it as the birthplace of IKEA, where Ingvar Kamprad first set up selling pencils and paper and his business grew as friends asked him to advertise their home made wooden chairs and tables too. In those days railways chargedblossomstugan.jpg freight by the cubic metre so flat packs made sense for economy and the rest as they say is history.

The region is still famous for it family enterprises, and wooden crafts, many of which have apples in their designs, reflecting another famous characteristic of Småland, its abundance of heritage apple orchards. Last time we went the lakes were white with a thick layer of ice and sparkled; now, on our return, all were a deep clear blue with beautiful spring blossoms everywhere.

Travel north west and just before you reach Norway you come to the pretty village of Grebbestad, home last week to the Nordic Oyster Opening Championships!! The fishing boats were active and the crowds gathered as the restaurants here are renowned for their seafood. I just loved watching the skills of this guy and would have loved to bring everything on his stall home… I think Easyjet would have had something to say about that! All you see is hand made by him. Bengts Sjöbod

Last but by no means least we attended Slow Food Scania’s AGM, where Bosse is on the Board – his 4th Board meeting of our trip the others being rare breed cows, pigs and goats. Talk about a job lot!! It was a very interesting meeting followed by an excellent lunch provided by the participants, all local produce and delicious as you can see.

Countdown is well and truly underway now for Gardening Scotland at Ingliston and I am delighted to welcome this year to Scottish Food Guide’s Pavilion: Slow Food Ark of Taste cheeses from St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company beautiful foraged cordials and fruit cheese from The Scottish Fruit Company; Chris Rowley of Ballintaggart Farm; Ark heritage potatoes from Skea Organics and heritage apples from John Hancox, The Apple Man .

There will also be other Slow Food Ark of Taste products available on the stand for you to taste and purchase so we look forward to seeing you the first weekend in June.

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