Today, Edinburgh Spotlight attended the Foodies Festival at the Assembly Rooms and was there first thing to witness the Lord Provost (Rt Hon George Grubb) declare it officially open. A piper was in full tune and it was an extra celebration for the Lord Provost as it was his birthday. He looked pretty happy when he was presented with a cake.
The main tickets are taken at the door and then to the right, you can get tickets (free) for the various foodies master classes throughout the day. I would plan ahead for tomorrow and get there early to ensure you get to the ones you want.
I took a quick look round at the various stalls, including the lovely Mama Tea where it was good to speak Anna who founded this wonderful company and their caffeine free teas. Not just for ‘mamas’ but also anyone who wants to be caffeine free without losing the quality.
I then attended the Cupcakes and Ribbons masterclass held in the hall downstairs where I witnessed Fiona ice various cakes and give advice on best ingredients to use and where to get them. They looked delicious, and I can confirm they taste as good as they look as I recently bought them for my friends’ birthday.
Wandering around both of the halls, I took all the wonderful sights and smells of the products on the stalls. There are free samples by most of the companies – and also some of their produce, such as meat and baked goods. Earthy Foods and Goods from Ratcliffe Terrace are there with a selection of their stock for sale.
The wonderful Simple Feast from Howe Street had a table full of their delicious baked goods with the neighbouring stall, The Candy Can Company selling a great selection of American sweets which is sure to be popular with ex pats living here. I tried a squirrel nut zipper!
Various restaurants around Edinburgh were demonstrating some of their dishes, such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), GBK were handing out £5 gift vouchers to redeem against a meal in their George Street branch. The Prince of India were also there and the wonderful Wedgwood the Restaurant. They were doing small samples of a wonderful duck dish which was rilletes with Jerusalem artichoke veloute and chesnut butter. You could also buy some of their dishes to try.
Snapz Crisps who distribute their goods from Edinburgh, you can find their wonderful dried apple crisps in Sainsburys. They had a generous selection of samples of all flavours. I particularly liked the apple with blackcurrant, with the bonus that a pack counts as 1 of your 5 a day. I also tried their beetroot crisps which are 100% dried beetroot, no added ingredients. A refreshing change to normal crisps in that they actually taste good.
Other great stalls there were Stag Bakeries, The Chocolate Library and Bramik Foods (wonderful snacks). I bought some lovely cherry shortbread from Country Fare who are from Cumbria, but their goods are for sale in the National Museum cafe. Representing the Borders, we had Borders Meringues and the super sweet but oh so delicious – Borders Tablet. Anyone want some crumbled tablet on their porridge ? You can also catch them weekly at the Farmer’s Market at Castle Terrace.
Not strictly food related, I loved the wood stall ran by Pete Hewitt. What a talented young man who does custom work, but was selling kitchen pieces today in theme with foodies. Simply beautiful pieces of wood which would look great in any kitchen, a real young Edinburgh talent.
I spent the afternoon at the Chef’s theatre, enjoying the demonstrations by Edinburgh’s finest chefs. It really is great to see the chefs ‘live’ and to admire their passion and culinary skills which bring me so much eating pleasure.
Finishing off the afternoon, I visited the Fudge Kitchen who have a mouth watering shop on the Royal Mile. You can even seem them make the fudge in the shop. I tasted a wee sample and it’s made with cream, so super soft and absolutely sublime!
And lastly in this round up, was Kirsty Baker (an apt name if ever there was one) who runs Cook Fusion, a new cooking school which designs its’ classes around your needs. One to watch in 2010 when they fully launch.
The venue did get a little warm in the early afternoon, and a little smoky. So much so the alarm went off but after a brief evacuation, it was business back to normal. Coffee is available at various stands, as is cider and beer. There are seats to take a break on, along with good toilet facilities.
As I have been writing this, I have just finished another cup of Mama caffeine free tea and a malteser slice from Laura’s Chocolate stall – yum yum
P.S For those that have read all the way to here, the best ‘freebie’ is from the Ocean Kitchen stall (an actual kitchen) who were cooking all kinds of wonderful goodies and giving out very generous portions of both sweet and savoury goods.