Good, clean and fair in the West: A trip across country reveals some of Ayrshire's local delights
Earlier this month I was delighted to attend a recent supper organised by the Slow Food West Scotland convivium. After various Slow Food groups setting up across the area over the years they have now joined forces to grow the Slow Food movement in Glasgow and more rural areas. With the long standing Ayrshire Food Network and Glasgow's varied and expanding food scene, there is plenty of potential for Slow Food in the west.
The dinner had been organised to celebrate some of Ayrshire's finest producers and raise money for Slow Food. A wiggly but beautiful two hour drive from Edinburgh on the back roads, we arrived at the village hall in Dunlop for the dinner, the village associated with the traditional hard cheese of the same name. It really is incredible countryside once you leave the M8 behind and looked stunning on a warm spring evening.
Nearly 50 local producers, friends and supporters were there, with some making the train journey from Glasgow. With the support of the aforementioned Ayrshire Food Network we enjoyed a delicious meal starting with cheese canapes from Dunlop Dairy and Barwheys Dairy, with Haggis Scotch Eggs from Aye Love Real Food. Wines were provided by wine expert Pieter Rosenthal.
The meal continued with onion soup and delicious sourdough bread from a baker in Oban. We then helped ourselves to a buffet-style meal of wonderful cold meats, raised pies and colourful salads. The emphasis was on local and on taste. The meats and pies from Nethergate Larder were incredible, with the pies full of herbs and a good crust.
|The danger of a buffet!|
For dessert we tried ice creams from two different producers, Lime Tree Larder and Wester Highgate Ice Cream. One more vanilla-ry, the other contained the spice of black pepper. They were served with a pipette of balsamic reduction - I haven't used a pipette since school! We relaxed with coffee from new Ayrshire artisans Roundsquare Roastery, and handmade chocolates. There was also a showing of short films about Ayrshire's many wonderful producers, which can be found on the Ayrshire Food Network website.
What really impressed me on the night though was Slow Food West Scotland's hard work to make the supper happen. They did everything themselves to organise the evening, including devising and cooking the menu and serving it. With generous help from suppliers and supporters, a raffle to raise funds included prizes such as whisky, coffee, Easter eggs and even artwork from a local artist. I came away empty handed from the raffle but delighted to meet so many inspiring food producers making good, clean and fair food happen on the other side...