A Scottish Chilli Farm, Scottish Wine and Scottish Sushi!

Last week’s press trip to discover some Foodie ‘hidden gems’ was fantastic, I’ve already blogged about the amazing tasting menu created for us by Chef Tom Lewis but I also wanted to mention some of the other things we got up to!

Scottish Sushi:

I love sushi and have always wanted to have a go at making it but always been a bit worried it would be too complicated or need a lot of specialist equipment and ingredients so when I discovered that we’d be meeting Ross & Fraser from LovSushi and having a masterclass I was very excited!

The fruits of my labour!

The fruits of my labour!

And yes, it was pretty easy, although it’s fair to say my technique needs a little more practice! But, with special sushi rice, some good quality Scottish ingredients and a rolling mat – it’s amazing what you can do!

Thankfully while we were ‘playing around’ the boys made plenty more for us to feast on along with some fizz – will definitely be giving this a go at home now!

This is how the 'pros' do it`!

This is how the ‘pros’ do it`!

Scottish Wine:

I’ve met the lovely Linzey from Cairn O Mohr a couple of times before and she kindly came to our hotel, Ballathie House, to tell us more about their Scottish wines and cider, and of course, let us sample them.

It’s amazing to see that all their produce comes from a very small radius from their Winery in Perthshire and hear about their phenomenal growth from their very ‘hands on’ early days to present. I’d never considered drinking fruit wines with a meal but it seems that this is now becoming ‘de rigeur’.

Gearing up for our Wine Tasting

Gearing up for our Wine Tasting

I’m a massive fan of their Oak & Elder Champagne and their amazing Cider, coming from the West Country, I can say that it is better than any I’ve tasted down there and reminds me more of delicious French ‘cidre’.

Scottish Chillis:

I’ve often grown chillis before, funnily enough having better success with one from a chilli that I was actually cooking with, and Stacey from Chillilicious Chilli Farm in Ceres, Fife, was able to explain why! (most shop bought chilli plants are germinated overseas and they don’t like the climate when they get here and can easily die).

This was an absolute delight, we got a tour of the farm, and heard about the products they make (oatcakes, jams & chutneys) as well as having a 3 course chilli lunch sat inside their poly tunnels surrounded by an array of chillis in all shapes, sizes and colours.

Twilight - such a pretty chilli - would make a wonderful table centrepiece!

Twilight – such a pretty chilli – would make a wonderful table centrepiece!

We also got to plant a couple, I was VERY taken with some of the purple ones so now have a Bulgarian Black and a Cherry Bomb (cherry bombs are the small round red ones that you often see stuffed with cheese) sat on my kitchen window sill waiting to sprout. I think I may have caught the bug a bit as I’ve since done my own research into the different chilli plants and am keen to grow some more especially now that I have some insider tips.

Meet Carolina Reaper - the World's hottest chilli

Meet Carolina Reaper – the World’s hottest chilli

I wasn’t brave enough to try the Carolina reaper however, the World’s hottest chilli (at around 2 million on the Scoville Scale, a jalapeno is around 10,000)- it’s sat waiting for someone else to take on that challenge! WARNING – it can induce vomiting, fainting and hallucinations but don’t worry, after about 20 minutes you should start to come round!

They’ll be opening a new visitor centre soon so everyone will be able to see what they do!

It really was a lovely couple of days up North and such a pleasure meeting people in Scotland showing such passion and innovation in the Food & Drink sector – here’s hoping for another one soon! 

 

 

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