Shopping malls are closing in America and many of our high streets are pot-holed with traffic yet more likely to have tumbleweed than tourists on the pavements!. A certain chicken chain has nae chicks and yet another industrial meat distributor is being investigated. Tempting to utter a smug I told you so…
Our industrialised food systems are imploding and unsustainable. No, they should not self regulate. No, synthesizing fake meat is not the answer to world hunger; nor was golden rice or mechanically recovered meat. In the words of the song…When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
However there are opportunities – it is not all negative. Trends for experiences over material
goods favour eating out in interesting places, enjoying cooking classes and food travel. All are increasingly popular. There is a range of classes like this one (right) at Ballintaggart Farm https://scottishfoodguide.com/places/tastebuddies/
Local food networks, farmers’ markets and waste reduction have created more awareness and appreciation of farm shops, as consumers (co-producers in Slow Food speak) realise buying seasonal produce from their local supplier is positive for their whole community, healthier for their families, fair on their purse, and result in a fair wage for the primary producer. They also drastically reduce packaging so definitely win-win. Claire pictured at Ardross Farm
Another such Farm Shop that has just expanded is Belhaven Smokehouse, a beautiful Farm
Shop & Smokehouse on the edge of Dunbar where David and his son Sandy skilfully create delicious cured and smoked variations with a range of carefully sourced fresh fish. Their shop also stocks a super range of other local produce including cheeses, rapeseed oil, honeys, jams, chutneys, beers and more. For this and other farm shops check out www.scottishfarmshops.co.uk
This week at Scottish Food Studio we hosted Cheese Lovers and Hygge Courses and met some super folk. We have a growing selection of high quality artisan cheeses in Scotland that can be seen on www.scottishcheesetrail.com and we enjoy nothing better than the opportunity to share the knowledge and have tutored tastings.
We still have a few places left on the REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene Course running on Tues 6th March and the Hygge on Tues 20th March. For other courses and online booking https://www.wendybarrie.co.uk/courses-1
Last but by no means least let’s talk BREAD!
This omnipresent food can be a magnificent morsel or a dire piece! Industrialisation and mass production have taken their toll: productivity speeded up and even the basic ingredient, flour, became a shadow of its former self. In the 60’s the Chorleywood bread process reduced the fermentation period and, in the view of many including myself, vastly reduced the quality and nutritional value at one fell swoop. Along with it come additives, improvers, enhancers and you have a pap white dough that is not much use for anything.
Thankfully, there has been resurgence in the crafts and skills of breadmaking, both at home and with enthusiasts setting up shop so there is now quite a movement. Not only can you find excellent Scottish artisan bakeries, you can also source Scottish grains thanks to the efforts of Andrew Whitley and the team at http://www.scotlandthebread.org . Indeed last year STB teamed up with Scottish Food Guide and launched the inaugural Scottish Bread Championships at the Royal Highland Show. Entry forms will be available from March so be ready to enter! https://www.royalhighlandshow.org/competitions/how-to-enter/
This is Real Bread Week, the annual celebration of supporting your local, independent Real
Bread bakery and baking your own. In its 10th year it runs from 24th February to 4th March …so what better time to also launch The Edinburgh Bakers (Baxters) Trust.
The Trades in Edinburgh have been undergoing a renaissance recently and as part of this the Bakers(Baxters) have formed a separate Charitable Trust, The Edinburgh Bakers’ Trust http://www.edinburghbakerstrust.org.uk
The Trust purposes are: The advancement of education through encouraging training of bakers and the advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science in regard to breadmaking.
We had a party to celebrate the launch at The Incorporation of Trades and great to see so many kindred spirits on a nippy winter's night!
We are inviting interested bakers, chefs and millers, both professional and amateur, across Edinburgh and Lothians to network with us and welcome your support and enthusiasm. The Edinburgh Bakers’ Trust has a modest fund to award small grants to successful applicants. For further information firstname.lastname@example.org