Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is taking place from the 7th – 22nd September, and to celebrate we thought we would show you what we do at Edinburgh Castle to promote and support the best of Scotland’s vibrant larder. This week we caught up with some of the people who provide our visitors with this wealth of Scottish fare.
Kathleen Rock – Category Buyer at Edinburgh castle
How do you support Scottish Suppliers?
The Historic Scotland retail team always try to source locally, with probably more than 90% or the castle’s food and drink related products sourced in Scotland.
We also stock many bespoke items, this year we are introducing a range of sweet bags and chocolate bars for Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castle. These were created by The Cocoabean Company, a family run chocolate factory based in the south west of Scotland who hand-make and decorate all their chocolates.
We always try to support local companies, this year at the castle’s Finest Foods Shop we introduced a new supplier, Ludicrously Good, who supply us with a range of Scottish tablet and fudge. This is a small company, based in Edinburgh, who use a family recipe that has been passed down through generations. We also stock products by the Chocolate Tree, also based in Edinburgh.
What are the best sellers at the Castle?
Our most popular product on offer at Edinburgh Castle is Walkers shortbread by far! Visitors love the iconic red tartan packaging. Deans of Huntly is also a great selling shortbread range.
Our Scottish tea and coffee products, by local supplier the Edinburgh Tea and Coffee Company, also do really well.
Another best-selling food supplier is Ross’s of Edinburgh, they stock a range of kids sweets and rock. Barr’s Irn-Bru is a perennial favourite for us, as is Strathmore water – the official partner of the Princes Trust.
And if visitors are looking for something a little stronger?
All the whisky, beer and ales we stock are from Scottish suppliers and distilleries. One of our best selling products is the range of liqueurs from the Scottish Liqueur Centre in Perth. We also work with smaller up and coming companies like Thistly Cross Cider, based in East Lothian.
Janet Muff – Events Manager at Edinburgh Castle
What sort of Scottish food can visitors dining at the castle expect?
Our more adventurous visitors like to try one of Scotland’s most famous dishes, haggis, neeps and tatties, and for our international readers I should explain that haggis is made of sheep’s insides and is accompanied by , mashed potatoes and mashed turnip.
We try to work as much as we can with Scottish suppliers, all of our milk, bread and meat is sourced locally. For those visiting our Tea Room we serve local crab with Pittenweem oatcakes. We also support local brewers getting all our beers from Stewart brewing and Innis & Gunn.
Can our evening visitors expect the same level of Scottish sourced food?
They can expect even more! Our events’ menus consist of an array of products from all over Scotland. We take advantage of Scotland’s exceptional selection of seafood, from Loch Duart smoked salmon and West Coast scallops to North Sea halibut. Other produce frequently appearing on our menus includes Arran mustard, Stornoway black pudding and Perthshire mushrooms.
If you’re up at the castle this week be sure to pop into our Whisky and Finest Foods shop. We have liquor and whisky tastings most days throughout the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight.
If you’re treating yourself to afternoon tea just mention food and drink fortnight for an extra tea or coffee with your meal so you relax and enjoy our surroundings for a little longer.
(One tea or coffee per afternoon tea purchase at Edinburgh Castle’s Tea Rooms, valid until 22nd of September inclusive.)
Keir Booth, Marketing Executive