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Feature Article: On a trail of discovery at the BBC Good Food Show Scotland

A busy East Lothian stand.

In my last post on the blog I indicated just how much I was looking forward to my first experience of the BBC Good Food Show Scotland (GFSS). Well, I am pleased to report that my anticipation was duly rewarded by, what turned out to be, a really informative and highly enjoyable Friday at the SECC.

The scene was set upon arrival, when immediately after picking up my blogger accreditation I was invited to attend a demonstration on the merits of a new, craft-distilled gin. I should point out that it was after midday (just) and given the fact that I am a big fan of small scale food and drink producers it would have been rude to have refused – ahem… The gin in question is produced with an obvious passion by the Warner Edwards Distillery, based in the English Midlands. Sniffing, then sipping, a neat shot of the award-winning spirit left no doubt that this was a stunningly-good nip of “mothers’ ruin” – ripe with juniper berries of course, but having a distinctive nose of black pepper and citrus peel and a great hint of cardamom in the mouth. I can safely say that the Harrington Dry Gin truly holds its own amongst the other – often Scottish distilled – small batch gins I have sampled, and I plan on getting my hands on a bottle forthwith.

Moving into the main exhibition space I was suddenly taken with exactly how big an event this was. The SECC plays host to some major gigs, and the GFFS more than filled this cavernous container. The Supertheatre was exactly as billed – a huge space where The Great British Bake Off judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood provided expertly witty demonstrations of, well, baking. It was rightly packed. The Interview Stage served punters with the opportunity to learn what makes their favourite chefs’ and foodies’ culinary hearts go aflutter. Yet the real “grab” for me was the main exhibition space, where stand upon stand was populated by producers showcasing a fantastic array of food, drink and culinary paraphernalia. I wish I could summarise all of these, but that would be infeasible. Instead, please find below some of my highlights. Frankly, I can’t wait until next October when I have another opportunity to visit the GFSS. If you live in Scotland and like food it’s an event not to be missed.

Hebridean Sea Salt – who hand produce salt from the Atlantic waters off the Isle of Lewis. If the “base” product wasn’t great enough, they also have seaweed infused and smoked varieties. Trust me; you have to try these to fully appreciate how they go beyond merely being defined as a “condiment”.

The Big Cheese Making Kit – happened upon these lovely people on the stand promoting produce from East Lothian. I have always harboured a secret desire to make my own cheese and these kits look like an ideal answer. The kits include ones for producing Mozzarella, Ricotta and (the one I intend to try) goats cheese.

The Little Herb Farm – was at GFFS thanks to being awarded a bursary by the show. Their lovely herb-infused, fruit and botanical vinegars – as well as smashing herb jellies – clearly demonstrated why they had earned such an accolade. I can’t do justice to their rhubarb vinegar in print; you will just have to try it yourself…

Supernature – sharing its name with a fine album by Goldfrapp, this company produces delicious, cold-pressed rapeseed oil a stone’s through from Scrumptious Scran Towers. Not only is their healthy and subtly rich “base” product a world away from what might be found on supermarket shelves, a range of oils flavoured with the likes of lemon and coriander is also available. I could have left with armfuls of bottles.

The Little Round Cake Company – interestingly the descriptors “little” and “wee” seemed to feature in a fair few producers’ names. But look at the picture of the “merangz” – nowt little about those, I am sure you will agree?

Equi’s Ice Cream – Scotland is blessed by a rich vein of foodie entrepreneurs who have Italian roots, and this family-run business provides some amazing gelati – the dolce latte and raisin flavours, in particular, were chin-drippingly good.

Kelly Bronze – I love a traditional turkey at Christmas, but nothing graces the table of Scrumptious Scran Towers unless it is a truly free-range fowl, from a breed that imparts great flavour. For the last few years our Christmas feast of choice has come from the Home Counties, but having seen how good these turkeys look, this year I hope to report back on a tasty Scottish bird…

Sincere thanks go to the BBC Good Food Scotland Show press and blogging team for facilitating my visit.

BBC/ food/ Scotland/ show

Feature article: Glasgow bound for the BBC Good Food Show Scotland

This weekend, food and drink lovers from across Scotland (what is the collective noun for a group of Scottish foodies – a “snashter”?) will be descending upon Glasgow, as The BBC Good Food Show Scotland (GFSS) comes to town. I’m very pleased to say that I shall be joining their ranks, in what will be my first visit to this particular culinary festival.

So what might I expect / be looking forward to from the show? Well first off, I think GFSS might be quite different to other large food events I’ve previously attended insofar as it takes place indoors – at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). This may well mean it has less of the “country fare” feel which some outdoor food festivals seem to emanate. This might be a positive thing, as taking place in a dedicated exhibition space is likely to mean that exhibitors at GFSS have more technology on hand to better demonstrate their products and services.

Taking place at the SECC also allows the GFSS to play host to a Supertheatre, which will be home to cookery demonstrations provided by a number of cooks and chefs, the majority of whom will be very familiar to regular viewers of the BBC’s culinary output. I’m delighted to learn that on Friday – the day I shall be attending GFSS – the Supertheatre will feature a Great British Bake Off Masterclass, fronted by none other than Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. This will be a must for me, as I hope to get some tips that may alleviate my frequent baking-related anxiety, as well as helping me to achieve a “good rise” and avoid the dreaded “soggy bottom”…

Another part of the show I anticipate I shall be spending some time visiting is the Producers’ Village, which will feature the very best of local and regional produce from across Scotland.  I’m hoping it will mean that I get to sample, first hand, products I have only heard about online or – almost even better – great produce I was previously unaware of. In a really nice touch to this area of the show the GFSS organisers have established a Producers Bursary Award, which will allow selected small artisan producers to exhibit free of charge, giving their products a level of exposure their marketing budgets might not ordinarily be able to secure.

As well as exhibiting, food and drink, GFSS is also ensuring that visitors can sample some “…deliciously satisfying breakfast and lunch dishes from BBC Good Food’s recipe collection” at the BBC Good Food Kitchen. The dishes available include: cardamom butter chicken with Indian cucumber salad; and roast pumpkin and parsnip cassoulet. Diners also have the option of enjoying a glass of specially matched wine with their meal, courtesy of the Kitchen’s sponsor, Hardy’s.

I’m really pleased to note that GFSS isn’t merely about consuming food and drink, but will also be examining important food-related issues, such as food waste. A section of the show will be given over to a team from the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which will be on hand to help visitors make the most of the food they buy, waste less, save money and help the environment at the same time. This is really important in an age of rocketing food prices and diminishing food security, as – shockingly – Scots annually throw away 566,000 tonnes of perfectly edible food, which costs each Scottish household an average of £35 per month!

As you will gather, I’m pretty excited about my wee trip to Glasgow to attend the BBC Good Food Show Scotland – and will report on what I experience there in a future post.

The BBC Good Food Show Scotland takes place at the SECC from 18-20 October 2013. For further information and to obtain tickets, visit

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