Thursday, 3 June 2010

Tasting Edinburgh and A Taste of Edinburgh

I have recently moved to Edinburgh, a city I have loved for many years and one of my favourite thing about Edinburgh is all the fabulous places to eat and shop. There are lots of websites recommending shops and restaurants but I haven't found a great resource of Edinburgh restaurant reviews on the world wide web and so I have decided to blog about all the wonderful restaurants, cafes, shops, events and foodie things in Edinburgh as I visit them. I am armed with a charming dining companion/super photographer, a copy of the List's Eating and Drinking Guide 2010/11 and extra tummy space for dessert. Always.

A great starting point is the A Taste of Edinburgh event held 28-30 May at Inverleith Park - a festival dedicated to food. We went on the afternoon of Saturday the 29th and, after a long day at a school fete and a few drinks to wind down, we were eager to start the afternoon of gluttony. It was a beautiful day in Inverleith Park and as we walked in we were greeted straight away with a sample of ale from Ghillie Dhu, and this set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. With over 100 exhibitors, most with free samples, we went from stall to stall seeing what was on offer.

The best of the samples has to be the Seafood Scotland stall, which produced 6 different types of fish to try - if you hung around for long enough and didn't mind queueing. We managed to get a sample of a mackerel in cous cous and cod in thai broth. Worth the wait, the fish was cooked perfectly and recipe cards were collected.

Another sample highlight was from legendary icecreamery S Luca (yes, ice cream can be legendary), with a toffee and fudge mini-scoop served from their summery looking ice cream van. How excited would I be to see this coming down my street!

There were a number of restaurants selling taster plates, little versions of their main dishes and desserts. We tried the classic burger from Malmaison (£6) and Tony's Table's Butts in Buns (I couldn't help myself - £5) - pulled Perthshire pork in foccacia bread with spiced slaw.

Though small, both were satisfyingly meaty which is what we needed to keep us going on with our many samples of wines, liqueurs and sweets. The burger was great quality with a juicy pickle tickling the savoury taste buds and the pulled pork was moist and delicious. The spiced slaw didn't quite live up to its name, it could've done with more of a spicy kick to go with the pork pitta.

Another notable stall was the Authentic American Food (available from Lupe Pintos in Edinburgh) selling gourmet US goods - a selection of barbeque and mesquite sauces (Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning anyone?) and as many jalapeno condiments as you could ever want. There were exotic looking mixes such as praline pancakes and pumpkin muffins, fruit flavoured syrups and I was tempted into buying some sour cherry preserves (£4).

There was a battle of the Edinburgh boutique chocolate shops: Coco Chocolate had a beautiful stall, as to be expected from Edinburgh's premier chocolatiers; Chocolate and Love, the new girl in town had an amazing selection of different chocolates and sweets; and The Chocolate Tree had their own artisan organic range. The chocolate coated liquorice (£6) from Chocolate and Love were delicious and they have a pop-up shop on George Street for the rest of June. Coco Chocolate was perhaps a victim of it's own success and I didn't really have the space to browse their stall sadly but it did look pretty indeed. The Chocolate Tree also had a beautiful display, pictured below, and had some delicious chocolate and hazelnut spreads.

There were also cooking demonstrations organised from L'escargot Bleu, Launceston Place, the Rutland, Hotel du Vin and Wedgwood the Restaurant. I watched the Yo! Sushi 'ninjas' for a little while however there was a distinct lack of ninja style in their sushi preparation. They could've used ninja stars to chop the salmon at least. I must confess that on such a beautiful sunny day it was far more appealing to leisurely walk around with Pimms in hand.

A Taste of Edinburgh was £12 entry, with a 'crowns' payment system used as money on the stalls. This amounted to 1 crown = 50p, with all stalls accepting crowns and a few also accepting cash. This was slightly annoying as it was obviously a ploy for punters to spend more money than they would have (and we did). But the entry fee was worth it as there was a huge variety of samples on offer.

My only disappointment was that there was not a great deal of baking stalls, this being a particular passion of mine. It was interesting to see a macaron stall there, Bougie, as macs are currently being hyped as the new dessert du jour. The samples we had were nice but not spectacular and the pricing was far too high in my opinion so I did not purchase any.

Oh, and Fire Food's Nitro sauce nearly finished off the tasting session for my boyfriend however a handy Pimms saved the day - if a hot sauce has a warning sign on it, approach with caution.

By the end of the day we were seriously impressed and very full. There was just about enough room for this divine blood orange gelato from Stewart Tower Dairy to leave us very happy Edinburgh Tasters!


Marianthi said...

Gotcha! You had me at 'photo of strawberry ice cream'. Good luck with the blog. xx

Katey said...

Thanks darl! I will try and add Mama Mia's very soon :-)

Peter said...

how could you eat the smiley teddy bear cone? not sure i would have been able to even if i could!

Katey said...

It does strangely look like he has ginger hair. But the teddy chomping guilt was compensated by the deliciousness.

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