The search for Scotland’s best-kept secret ingredient: Dumfries and Galloway
This week the blog moves west to Dumfries and Galloway where the climate is surprisingly warm due to currents from the Gulf Stream. This, coupled with plenty rain makes for a perfect environment for top-quality farmed produce.
Sheep are plentiful on the rolling, grassy hills of Galloway where many of the towns still have thriving independent butchers. Check out The Blackface Meat Company who sell Heather-bred Scottish Blackface lamb, haggis, Iron Age pork, grouse, partridge, bronze turkeys and venison. Quite a selection!
The nutrient-rich grass in the area also helps to produce great dairy products. The Lockerbie Creamery makes an award-winning cheddar to a traditional recipe and a deliciously creamy, slightly sweet butter that’s famous across Britain.
However, it’s not just meat and diary that benefits from this unique climate. Large amounts of strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes from the area are sold all over the UK.
But you can also find them at one of the six regular farmer markets across the region, in Creetown, Dumfries, Langholm, Lockerbie, Moffat and Wigtown. If you’re just visiting the area, the Kilnford Farm and Shop near Dumfries sells a great range of local products from their in-house butchery, greengrocer and deli counter. There’s even a nature trail you can explore to help you build up an appetite.
And I must mention the amazing Loch Arthur Creamery, a social enterprise near Beeswing that provides a community for people with learning disabilities. The impressive shop and café sells cheese and dairy products made in their creamery, bread and baked goods from their bakery, as well organic meat, poultry, fruit and veg from their farm. They won ‘best food producer’ at the BBC Food and Farming Awards in 2011 – and rightly so. Well worth a visit.
And last but not least, for those who like a bit of spice in their lives, Galloway Chillies make an exciting range of preserves from home-grown chillies. The Chilli Chocolate Mincemeat is on my ‘to do’ list!
Do you use any of the products I’ve mentioned in my blog posts so far? Or is there something else you think I should know about? It can be anything from meat to seafood, condiments to herbs, or even alcohol. As long as it’s produced in Scotland, it’s eligible. Just tell me what it is, and describe how you use it to make your favourite dish shine.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday 15th August 2014 and you could 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 explore Ayrshire, Arran and Argyll 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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