Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Feast of Fife: Day 1 (AM)

Last weekend was a weekend full of many firsts. Not only was it my first trip to St Andrews,  and my first blogger experience working with a council, it was my first experience of the outstanding larder Fife has to offer.

Working alongside Fife Council - Welcome to Fife, I was lucky enough to bag myself a spot on their very first two-day food and drink conference event which was packed full of foodie fun. Hosting bloggers from across Scotland and Northern Ireland, the guys at Fife Tourism Partnership had organised one hell of a weekend for us to get stuck into. Obviously I wasn't going to leave my blogging bestie behind, so I invited Sarah from Blogs, Vlogs, Etc along for the trip - after all I wasn't going to caraoke all the way down to St Andrews on my own was I!?

Arriving at her grandparents house (which used to be popular, jam packed B&B in St Andrews) I was already excited about this weekend, and I'd only just seen my room - which in case you were wondering was absolutely gorgeous, with on suite and all!

Heading to Eden Mansion, we strolled around the grounds for a bit and headed inside to meet the other bloggers. Grabbing a cuppa and eyeing up the chocolates on our tables, we caught up with the like-minded foodies discussing all things blogging and Scottish food and drink. Of course my go-to conversation was focused around gin, and a wee mention of all the Aberdonian gins left everyone with gin for thought.
Moving into a gorgeous dining room, we were welcomed by the Fife Tourism team and Fife Food Ambassador Christopher Trotter, who updated us on the outstanding larder Fife possesses. The most interactive part of the conference was without a doubt William Curley's chocolate tasting. William, who is a Patissier Chocolatier, and who's chocolates are also stocked in Harrods, talked us through his passion for chocolate, taking us on a journey of his childhood and how he decided on the chocolates he has in his range today.

My favourite chocolate without a doubt had to be William's Sea Salt Caramel Mou - delicious salted caramel which just melted in your mouth. Other flavours included Jaffa Cake, Bounty, Piedmont Hazelnut, Millionaire Shortbread, Juniper and Cassis, and a Japanese Black Vinegar flavour, some very interesting and complex pairings to say the least. William also told us about his experience with seaweed and chocolate - to say it was rather fishy is an understatement.
Next up was digital-guru, Stephen Whitelaw, who delivered his talk on social media and the digital age at such a pace it was almost hard to keep up with his witty jokes. Some great blogging tips, and we all took something useful away from it.

Following Stephen's whirlwind presentation, we all stepped outside to indulge in some ice cream and sorbet by the infamous Jannettas Gelateria. With flavours including Scottish tablet, berry and pear and other refreshing options, there was something to suit everyone's tastes.
Stepping back inside, Drew and Helen McKenzie-Smith took to the stage. I was delighted to hear of their impressive plans to develop and open a new distillery and visitor centre at Lindores Abbey, the spiritual home of whisky. Seeing what the distillery is expected to look like was extremely exciting, and they have definitely taken the visitor experience into consideration. With Helen's expertise in customer service and marketing, she will be heading up the visitor centre at the distillery, and I truly cannot wait to see how she executes their ambitious plans.

After all of the presentations we were then invited through to another room to indulge in afternoon tea courtesy of Eden Mansion.
The sandwiches served, which were made on a selection of breads from Fisher and Donaldson, included:

  • Loch Fyne smoked salmon & dill cream cheese
  • Anster cheddar & Arran fruit chutney
  • Ham & Pommery mustard mayonnaise
  • Free rage egg & cress
  • Cucumber & cream cheese

The cakes available included:

  • Gaurdbridge plum fool
  • Russet apple leaf
  • Fig lattice with crème patisserie
  • Ginger cake & wild brambles
  • White chocolate & raspberry mousse
  • Strawberry & spiced banana cake
  • Fruit and plain scones with Arran strawberry jam and clotted cream.
After lunch, we then headed back to Sarah's grandparents in St Andrews to re-charge our batteries (quite literally), and got ready for the evening event - dinner at The Newport Restaurant...

You can read all about my Newport experience and Day two of our adventure in my following posts, and trust me, you'll want to check it out just for the pictures themselves.

   For Now...

Just Julia
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