Foodies in Fife - #TasteYeBack Part One
I told you I would be back to eat you, and I wasn’t kidding.
Second time around and you just keep getting better. Your artisan food, beer
and excellent whisky is something to behold and there is a real feeling of
pride in your produce and your people.
This is Part One of the lowdown of what happened on last week's #TasteYeBack blog trip, named after the Scottish saying Haste Ye Back (meaning hurry back, in case you weren't sure!).
Our launchpad for the trip was The Larder Bistro in Edinburgh, a sustainable and local produce haven. Located in a basement, the décor is den-like with exposed wood and cosy booths covered in blankets. Created to showcase the talents of Scottish food producers and to remind people that delicacies can be found virtually in their backyard, they also organise events and mushroom hunts. Keep an eye on their website for details.
After indulging in a little local cheese, it was time for us to venture into the county of Fife, travelling over the spectacular bridge spanning the Firth of Forth.
First stop on our journey was to explore the finer points of whisky at Adelphi Selection. They are soon to open the first Scottish distillery powered by locally sourced woodchip biomass, to be located in Argyll. The barley will be grown in Fife where the matured malt nectar will return to be bottled. For now they buy individually chosen casks from producers and bottle it. Turns out Denmark and Switzerland are two of their biggest customers, so I was in the right place!
In a whiff of whisky, onwards we went in search of St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company, a shining example of a dairy farm adapting to the times and becoming more sustainable in the process. With milk prices in free fall a few years ago, owner and chief cheese maker Jane Stewart knew something had to change. This was the beginning of her cheese adventure that led to the birth of her signature cheese, the Anster, made from unpasteurized milk. Seven years later the farm is a resounding success, so much so that production is likely to double over the next year.
With a viewing gallery overlooking the facility and a café/deli with supplies to create the cheeseboard of your dreams the farm has become a local attraction and a place for the local community to meet and catch up over cheese inspired food. I could have bought everything in that shop, but as dusk was fast approaching it was time to head for our home for the night.
Pitcairlie House contains four self-catering apartments in a former castle set in beautiful grounds and benefits from a heated indoor pool. As dark fell, the hoots of owls were accompanied by the noises of unidentified creatures of the night. It was splendid and slightly spooky, invoking the suspicion that a murder mystery plot was about to unfold, perhaps during the delicious dinner our chef and guide Ruairaidh Menzies was concocting. I can highly recommend his services if you’re in need of someone who knows their way around a kitchen and Scottish produce.
Agatha Christie must have had the night off as our entire group was alive and well at breakfast, invigorated by a steaming hot bowl of porridge to set us up for the day. Just as well – we were about to be blown away. Literally!
Read what happened next in Part Two, to follow soon....