The Great Perthshire Food and Drink Festival will shine a spotlight on top-class produce in the region this September for a fifth year.
Running throughout the entire month, the festival will showcase the very best producers and food and drink experiences the area has to offer, while also bringing the community together as events begin to re-emerge as a result of the pandemic restrictions.
Made up of a series of 46 events, a number of businesses have already confirmed their involvement with a range of experiences lined up for the public to enjoy.
Events include an audio-guided chocolate tasting with Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier, a wild distillery tour and guided foraging walk with Highland Boundary, a Falls of Dochart smoked salmon and Cairn o’Mohr wine tasting with Pickled Peacock, and the Scottish Game Fair at Scone to name a few.
Spirit of Perthshire will also be organising gin and whisky tastings, too.
The regional coordinator for Great Perthshire, Sarah Russell, is hugely excited about the event which she says will be packed full of entertainment, providing something for everyone, having been borne through social enterprise, Giraffe, a few years ago.
“I work for a charity and social enterprise in Perth called Giraffe and we help people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems to gain experience which we do through a training kitchen and cafe that we have in Perth,” Sarah said.
“This is the fifth year that we have held the festival, bar 2020.
“We started out calling it the Great Perthshire Picnic which was the brainchild of the social enterprise. It was a way for us to interact with businesses locally to raise awareness and to work together.”
Festival goes from strength-to-strength
Giraffe is also taking part in the festival with their “at home” range of meals which were launched during lockdown, but continue to prove popular. Their cafe will be reopening in October.
And the event has gone from strength-to-strength this year thanks to a funding boost which has helped Sarah and her team devote more time to planning the festival.
“We are supported by Scotland Food and Drink and the council locally to be able to dedicate some of my time to a newly established regional food group for Perth and Kinross which is called Great Perthshire,” revealed Sarah.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to take all that good work we have done establishing the festival and building on that, so we are relaunching it as the Great Perthshire Food and Drink Festival.”
Boost for producers
As well as showcasing the outstanding produce in Perthshire, Sarah explained that the original idea for the festival was to provide a boost for restaurateurs and artisan food and drink producers.
“We know that after a busy summer restaurants and producers can be a little quieter in September,” she added.
“We used to call the festival a virtual festival which has obviously taken on a completely different meaning now.”
A number of businesses have teamed up to get involved, with producers and venues linking together to host their own themed evenings and dining events.
Sarah continued: “The events all take place under the control of the producers themselves and we actively encourage people who don’t have a shop front to collaborate with someone else and maybe put on a tasting or get together and have a special offer.
“For example, this year Diane (Brown) from Provender Brown in Perth normally puts on different tastings and events, but people are a bit nervous about having numbers in shops so she is working with Nelson Reposo, a chef from Crieff, who will be making a special Perthshire-inspired fresh pasta that will then be available to be picked up from Provender Brown.
“It’s a way of allowing people to participate that doesn’t overstretch their resources. It keeps people here in Perthshire and will perhaps encourage locals to see what is new and exciting.”
And despite the pandemic, the response to the festival this year has been excellent, with many businesses keen to play a part.
“People are busy but that has been coupled with staffing issues. The interest has been fabulous and we have always been very well supported locally and people are doing their best in challenging circumstances to take part,” said Sarah.
“A glossy brochure will be available from tourist centres, VisitScotland iCentres, farmers’ markets and other places so people can get their hands on it. The events are also listed on the website.”
For the full series of events, click here.