I had the luck to get a free ticket to the Taste of Edinburgh in Inverleith Park today. In truth, there was much about it that was a taste of elsewhere – local suppliers and restaurants were there of course, but also companies and producers from many miles away (parmesan anyone?) The big stars of the show were from England (and of French and Italian descent) and were joined by local chefs including Tom Kitchin who had a crowd of several hundred trying to watch his demo (why don’t they make the theatres bigger?)
Were the visitors food lovers, or there to just to have a good day out sampling the wide range of alcohol or both? At £16 to get in and £10 to get you 2 to 3 sample dishes, it was certainly not a cheap day out!
So, with these quibbles aside a few highlights.
The Tasting Restaurants
Twelve different restaurants took part together with one “pop up” restaurant which was my particular pick: Launceton Place taking a guest slot with all proceeds going to Action Against Hunger.
Dishes were priced from the equivalent of £3 to £5
Generous suppliers donated productsto the restaurant with staff giving their timeup freely to come along and help. I tastedthe Scottish Lobster soup with wild herb mousse. The depth of flavour was astonishing – I am still dreaming of the taste. Truffles were well in evidence on the beef dish with each dish finished off by Tristan Welch himself. The picture of the soup looks rather unprepossessing, but that’s the challenge of plastic containers!
Jean Christophe Novelli
Much of the demonstration time was taken up by JCN trying to find an adequate number of spoons, “proper” pans and various other missing elements (even the meat for one dish!) . On the last occasion I watched one of his demonstrations a similar thing happened, which does beg the question, is it all show or was the pre-preparation inadequate?
His passion and enthusiasm, however, were not at fault, particularly emphasising healthy eating. “I ‘ate butter” he exclaimed. He had taken the time to visit some of the local producers to source ingredients for the demonstration and praised the Scottish rape seed oil and the pork in particular. I will post notes on his apple souffle that he made later. All very entertaining and very easy on the eye
If you’re not sure about the taste of rape seed oil, add a chili and let it infuse.
If you use calvados in your cooking, add a pinch of cumin it really enhances the flavour