FOOD is to the forefront at Scone Palace, writes Katrina Candy.
I can’t wait for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace, not just because I can see the months of hard work by the organising team pay off and culminate in one of Scotland’s biggest and best outdoor events but also because this is the country’s Year of Food and Drink and this much-loved event will be the very embodiment of this initiative.
The tented village that appears on the Scone Palace parklands every July is the temporary home to all that is great about rural Scotland
And within its white canvassed walls, visitors of all ages from the UK and overseas enjoy the warm, friendly atmosphere and are encouraged to try their hand at various country pursuits.
One of the biggest structures is the food hall, a gigantic marquee full of the best artisan producers.
More than 50 food and drink specialists will be providing a true taste of Scotland and giving you the chance to buy the ultimate picnic. Food hall sponsors Ian Macleod Distillers will have their own whisky station and will be teaming up with award winning chef Tom Lewis on the Saturday to do a whisky and food pairing demonstration in the cookery theatre, sponsored by Graham’s The Family Dairy.
With Tom’s dynamic approach to cooking and the quality in Macleod’s Glengoyne malt collection, the partnership will offer visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in this culinary experience and sample dishes such as venison game broth with a Glengoyne malt to accompany each dish.
On Saturday and Sunday, Three Sisters Bake will delight cake lovers and baking aficionados by demonstrating a range of baking and icing techniques. The sisters, whose food philosophy is to “delight the senses”, run two countryside cafes close to Glasgow and a catering business.
The girls will demonstrate a few of their café favourites including a colourful ombre cake and chocolate ganache icing.
The cooking demonstrations will be focussing on produce available in the food hall and Christopher Trotter (chef and food writer) will be the foodie in residence throughout the Fair, working with guest chefs and extolling the many benefits of game foods.
Throughout the Fair site, there are a variety of food vendors offering a range of foods from crepes and waffles to spit-roast pork.
The Fair provides GWCT Scotland (an independent wildlife and conservation charity) with an ideal platform from which to educate people about Scotland’s rich natural heritage, and presents an excellent opportunity for everyone to engage with the countryside.
The event allows visitors to discover more about the importance of conservation, Scotland’s game and wildlife management and sports not least via the main GWCT exhibit which will be delivered with partner organisation the World Pheasant Association.
Many breeds of pheasant, partridge, grouse, black game, ptarmigan and the majestic and endangered capercaillie will form a live exhibit.
It’s a chance to see, up close, some of these fabulous and rare birds and learn more about their ecology.
This is GWCT’s biggest educational event with its roots firmly in tradition but embracing the new innovations and trends in countryside management and pursuits.
And what better venue to promote game as a healthy, versatile food source than this?
Game management techniques have wide ranging benefits for a whole suite of wildlife.
Field margins, over-winter feeding, beetle banks, predation control, woodland design and many more features sustain wildlife populations while also delivering a harvestable surplus of game and thus an additional income in rural communities.
Now in its 27th year, the Fair goes from strength to strength and is an excellent day out for visitors from all walks of life.
Set the sat-nav for Scone Palace and tone your taste buds for a fantastic food adventure.
• Katrina Candy is head of PR and education at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (Scotland) www.gwct.org.uk
• The GWCT Scottish Game Fair runs from Friday 3 July to Sunday 5 July at Scone Parklands, Perthshire. For more information and ticket offers, log on to www.scottishfair.com