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Ost, formaggio, queso, fromage, brânză …

Cheese has been at the forefront of our lives this week with three courses at Scottish Food Studio, all with elements of fragrant fromage!

Whatever you call it I love it! Cheese has always held a fascination for me. As a crusader for local produce I forever marvel at the subtleties of flavours in foods dependent on variations in terroir, climate, animals and biodiversity. This is true of so many specialty foods but all comes together in cheese in ways that cannot be said of a sheaf of barley or a crop of carrots, however tasty they are. Good cheese has a complexity, forging its success and unique taste on the trinity of breed, feed and skills. Sure there are a dozen other factors that will help create a successful product but these three are key to a great cheese.

Kathy Biss and myself co-present Be a Cheese

Champion and this time, what it lacked in numbers it certainly had in quality with representatives from and . Our combined cheese and marketing expertise hopefully made for an enjoyable and worthwhile day for all and our thanks to the cheesemakers on who supported the initiative. The tutored tasting was a great success and Kathy’s cheese iron is always a popular prop! This comprehensive course is available for groups to book on along with other courses for CPD or just a fun day out!

Later in the week we had a group of lassies looking for a Hygge Hen Day with a difference and that we certainly had! Self professed cheese lovers, they started the day with a tutored tasting along with Jean’s exceptional chutneys and jellies from Millers Larder that arrived complete with guidance notes to match to cheeses. The girls had a ball! We went on to cook a range of dishes before settling down to a leisurely lunch. What a delightful bunch #lovemywork.

Last but by no means least was the first of two Ark of Taste Workshops where participants cooked with and tasted an unbeatable range of Slow Food Ark of Taste products all under one roof including …

…not to mention Scotland’s Ark Cheeses from St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Co & Barwheys

…and many more, all seasoned with Isle of Skye Sea Salt

I am now perfecting the craft of cooking some more rare items for my next course coming up

soon and shall be sharing the latest news with the Slow Food Chef Alliance Members when we meet next week.

Christmas is fast approaching so perhaps a Gift Voucher for one of my January courses may fit the bill for a loved one?

In the meantime I am currently working hard behind the scenes to launch a fabulous new version of Scottish Food Guide around Dec/Jan so it is all go! I am collaborating with a new web designer, listening to excellent advice - and even have expertise in the family with a son in law and bonus son in the IT business keeping an eye on me! I look forward to continued collaboration with chefs and producers, enabling me to do even more to promote them in Scotland and beyond.

Members’ News…

Check out my recipe with Winston Churchill Venison in latest edition of Shooting Scotland

What a wonderful photo of Robin and Alison with their family and HRH Princess Anne. She has good taste as their Native Bred Aberdeen Angus is on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste

Craigie’s Christmas shop is open and there are wonderful hampers too. Their brilliant veg boxes are available at the front of the shop for £5 full of tasty root veg for a Sunday roast with plenty left over for a pot of soup

Book your Hogmanay at Cannonball House with their fantastic fine dining experience upstairs in the restaurant complete with magnificent views overlooking the Castle; or downstairs in their bar to enjoy a more informal live music and comfort food package.

Alternatively prepare to be taken back to the Rat Pack era at Contini George Street as their very own Sinatra will be singing his excellent repertoire of old classics throughout the evening. Glass of Bellavista and crostini on arrival followed by a four course menu. Details of both on

Give a Christmas gift from Demijohn that not only looks good and tastes good but is also original and desirable is hard to find. Filled with delicious liqueurs and spirits all at different price points to meet your Christmas needs for those who enjoy the finer things in life.

Macbeths has their very special 6 Week Hung (Dry Aged) Beef on

the go again looking better than ever! This Aberdeen Angus cross Shorthorn beef is some of the best going - it is all grass fed and extensively reared on their own farm Edinvale, and hung on the bone for 42 days. You may even be in time to get some of the very popular Hebridean Hogget available. This is a rare breed sheep and is known for its superior flavour typical of slow maturing breeds.

TURKEYS, TURKEYS and TURKEYS - Now it's serious at Whitmuir - 8 weeks to go! Reserve your turkey NOW and please have a look at our Christmas and New Year Order form now - you can order online, by email, by post or in person - but please at least reserve your turkey today for just a refundable £20.

Taste of Christmas Food Fair, Sunday 5th November 11am-4pm. Join Ardross Farm for a

day of festive cheer as they throw open the doors of the Ardross Loft for their annual event!

Following the export of their cheese to France and the USA,

Connage Highland Dairy are continuing their global success with the introduction of one of their cheeses to the Mitsukoshu Department Store in Nihombashi, and is also being served at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

Autumn ideas and delicious menus at Café St Honore - even recipes to make your own bacon!

This month's blog from Graeme Pallister at 63 Tay Street is all about the wonder of the humble apple. Have a read then book at table at

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