The search for Scotland’s best-kept secret ingredient: Perthshire
This week I’m focusing on ingredients from Perthshire. With its fertile soil and mild climate, it’s not surprising that food and drink from this region is of such extensive diversity and high quality.
At Perth Farmers’ Market on the first Saturday of each month you’ll find an array of wonderful regional delicacies. I particularly love Perthshire for its variety of game. There’s some stunning smoked venison, great for a simple go-to salad as all the hard work has been done for you. Serve with a few choice leaves with some tangy Perthshire raspberry dressing and you’re onto a winner.
Cold-pressed rapeseed oil is like liquid gold and has made a real impact in recent years. It’s packed full of nutrients and tastes great. I get mine from Mark at Summer Harvest, whose farm is near Crieff. I just love it.
You can even find wine. Yes, wine. Cairn O’Mhor winery in Errol makes surprisingly delicious alternatives to grape wines using local leaves, flowers and berries. And Perthshire is also home to the smallest distillery in Scotland, Edradour in Pitlochry, which produces a 10-year-old single malt.
But as many of you will know, my absolute favourite ingredient from this region is the strawberry. I feel like a wee boy on Christmas morning when the first batch arrives at the restaurant door! Perthshire strawberries benefit from rich soils and slow-growing conditions making them much plumper as well as lending them a fuller, rounder flavour. It was these beauties I used in my Modern Day Eton Mess on the BBC’s Great British Menu. I think those strawberries helped me to win the dessert round!
But it’s not just strawberries, there’s an abundance of berry fields in Perthshire. If you're lucky, you may even have sampled the Tayberry - an intensely sweet hybrid of the raspberry and blackberry that’s unique to the region.
Well, I hope I’ve got your creative juices flowing and you’re ready to share your best-kept secret ingredient with me. As long as it’s produced in Scotland, it’s eligible. Remember to describe what you use the ingredient for in your entry.
Email me at email@example.com before Friday 8th August 2014 to be in with a chance of being selected to join me in a cook-off at Eat Drink Discover Scotland.
Visit www.eatdrinkdiscoverscotland.co.uk for terms and conditions.
Join me as I look at ingredients from Dundee and Angus next week.
Eat Drink Discover Scotland, which is taking place at the Royal Highland Centre between 12th and 14th September, will bring to life the rich diversity of Scotland’s brimming larder by featuring exhibitors from the length and breath of the country. One for the foodies, it will be offering something for every palate, plate and price range and with a regional focus, it will be providing opportunities for smaller rural food producers to share centre stage with more established brands. The weekend will also include demonstrations and masterclasses such as chocolate workshops, cocktail making, game butchery and craft bakery.
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