Residents across the Outer Hebrides are being urged to share their delicious food memories.
It follows a nationwide appeal by Scottish chef and food enthusiast, Shirley Spear and VisitScotland to find Scotland’s most treasured tastes.
Whether it is a plate of Granny Mary’s mince and tatties devoured after a game of hide and seek in her wild, unkempt garden in Stornoway; or a comforting bowl of Uncle Jim’s Scotch Broth following a long walk along Luskentyre Beach – the national tourism organisation wants to highlight the places and people behind the country’s favourite family meals and recipes handed-down through the generations.
An estimated £6.84m is spent on food and drink every year by visitors from Great Britain staying overnight in the Outer Hebrides, figures have revealed. It is renowned for its Stornoway Black Pudding, which has been used in the islands for over 70 years, with local butchers throughout the town of Stornoway selling their own version of the delicious oatmeal dish. The delicacy can now be seen on the menus of some of the top restaurants in the world, from Edinburgh to New York.
As well as showcasing traditional food and drink, the book will help shine a light on the personal stories behind family recipes, inspiring readers to revive some great home-cooking as well as encouraging them to come and sample Scotland’s wonderful natural larder.
The nationwide appeal was officially launched at the Taste Our Best accredited Willow Tearooms in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street on Tuesday (5th May) by Shirley Spear, owner of the renowned restaurant, The Three Chimneys in Skye, and Chair of the Scottish Food Commission alongside Chief Executive of VisitScotland, Malcolm Roughead.
Shirley said: “It’s such a pleasure to be involved in this delightful project. I’ve long been an ambassador of family cooking. Some of my most cherished memories are of spending time with my Mum, baking jam tarts and fairy cakes, followed years later with teaching my own children how to cook simple, basic things at home and making the most of seasonal ingredients such as gooseberries and rhubarb from the garden and turning them into delicious treats. And now I hope to pass on stories about where our all our delicious ingredients come from to my gorgeous grandchildren.
“We all have these food memories that instantly transport us back to a precious time in our lives. ‘Treasured Tastes of Scotland’ will provide a voice for these recipes and the stories behind them from all over the country so that people both now and in the future are inspired to visit Scotland and sample its amazing local produce. I‘m very much looking forward to reading the entries and hope that as many people as possible will take part in this nationwide search.”
Alan Mackenzie, VisitScotland Islands Manager, said:
“Everyone has a delicious, unforgettable meal they remember and invariably it is as a result of the food, company and setting. My personal favourite is homemade scones and pancakes coming off the griddle and covered in clotted cream and cottage cheese.”
“The Year of Food and Drink is a celebration of our natural larder and delicious dining experiences but we want people to continue sampling our famous fare long after 2015 is over. The recipe book idea is a way for us to inspire people across Scotland to discover more about the culinary offering that is on their doorstep and be proud of the traditional tastes created in their home towns or family holiday destinations”.
Recipes must be submitted along with a treasured story about the location or circumstances behind the meal. Entries can be sent either online on the dedicated webpage or by post.
All entries will be placed in a prize draw to win a one-night B&B stay for two at the Three Chimneys and The House Over-By in Skye. This unique prize includes dinner at the Kitchen Table at the award-winning restaurant – a not-to-be-missed experience which sees diners become immersed in the whole tableau of the kitchen, watching the chefs at work during a busy night’s service.
Entries can be submitted until the 3 July 2015. Full terms and conditions are available on the VisitScotland website.
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