When we were growing up, sibling rivalry reached its peak at dinner time.
The familiar cry, ‘tea’s ready’, marked the beginning of an unspoken race – a sprint to the table for the biggest helpings of Mum and Dad’s cooking, especially when there was a tasty bit of Aberdeen Angus beef on offer.
Bringing those happy memories flooding back was the Taste of Grampian event, held at Thainstone in Aberdeenshire, which brought together the best of north east produce for one delicious day.
With over 200 exhibitors at the event last Saturday, there was local produce galore – everything from Granite City fish to Summerhouse Drinks lemonade, Castleton strawberries to Wark Farm pies (who, incidentally sold all 480 of their scrumptious pies by lunchtime) – and there was certainly no shortage of local breweries and gin makers on site as well.
The sunshine was out to play, so taking a leisurely stroll around the stalls outside was a joy. Live music blared out, the smell of venison was in the air – what’s not to love?
Taking place throughout the day were cooking demos held by celebrities of the culinary sphere, including Masterchef judge John Torode and Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews, who was runner-up in Celebrity Masterchef this year.
Further demos were held by local chefs – Kevin Dalgleish from The Chester Hotel, Craig Wilson from Eat on the Green and Ross Cochrane from The Rothesay Rooms in Ballater all cooked up a storm with some fabulous local produce, showcasing the best of the north east of Scotland. Lending a helping hand were some local school children who worked alongside them as commis chefs.
Trotting along to Spencer Matthews’ demo, we were met by a long line of eager fans already waiting for their chance of a selfie with the Made in Chelsea star. (The phrase ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ springs to mind…)
Entertaining the audience throughout with tales of his time on Masterchef, he explained that his main aim of the day was to leave with his new best buddy John Torode’s number.
After showing off his culinary skills, making lamb loin with celeriac purée, puy lentils and candied carrots, he was taught a few Doric lines by the audience, and soon enough he was off to make ‘a fly cuppie’ for his wife, Vogue Williams, Irish model and media personality. Vowing to return next year with his own alcohol-free gin range, the north east is already eagerly awaiting his return.
Next up was Helen Vass, award-winning Scottish pastry chef and one-third of the winning team in the first Bake Off: Crème de la Crème series. Showcasing her chocolate-making skills, she wowed the audience with her deliciously decadent chocolate truffles, gooey brownies and chocolate desserts (all of which, I can reliably inform you, were truly divine.)
With the 20th anniversary event of Taste of Grampian behind us, I wonder what’s in stall for their 21st celebrations… Having brought in over £40m to the area, it is sure to be even bigger and better than before – and I can guarantee, I’ll be back!
Visit the Taste of Grampian website for more news.