Sunshine, Sandcastles and Seafood was the order of the day at Crail Food Festival on Sunday. What a scorcher of a day it was. I have a real soft spot for the whole of the East Neuk of Fife and all its wee nooks and crannies. Crail Harbour was an absolutely idylic setting to showcase the fantastic produce of the Fife Larder.
We arrived just as the Harbour Sunday event was starting at 11am so got a good nosey round all the stalls before it got too busy. Plenty of seafood of course but also chillis, strawberries, preserves, venison, chocolate, herbs, vinegars, cakes, gingerbread, scones, ice cream, burgers, pizza and garlic bread.
Wonderful seafood on offer from the ramshackle Reillys Shellfish Lobster Hut. Here you could pick your lobster from the tank and it was freshly cooked while you waited. Dressed crab was also on offer. Hard to believe such gourmet cuisine was emerging from such a shabby shed but that was all part of the charm.
Arbroath Smokies from Iain R Spink can always be smelt before they are seen. When you do see them its through a pungent cloud of smoke. Such a treat to see them being smoked in situ and to eat them at their best, fresh from the barrel.
Chillilicious provided a fantastic combination of food and art and I purchased both. A gorgeous glass nibble dish formed from a bottle, Chilli Cola and some Chilli & Coriander Oatcakes. A couple of Vinegars were procured from Penny at The Little Herb Farm who appeared to be doing a roaring trade with lots of items sold out. I got myself some Blackcurrant & Thyme and Blackberry & Rosemary.
Plenty of places to eat at as well as buy. Absolutely loved Wild Rover Food with their Land Rover and pop up ex Army Kitchen. Also loved the ethos behind their cooking and their sustainable and ethical stance. Turns out that Cat's parents own the Gypsy Caravans in Stirling where we Glamped last month. Scotland is such a village.
Caught a demo by Jim Knox showing us how to Dress a Crab. He made it look oh so easy. Having seen it done I'd certainly be up for giving it a go armed with the required tools of the trade. Hammer. Screwdriver. Kirbygrip. He also shed light on the somewhat worrying "dead mans fingers". They're not going to kill anyone if you leave them in but just won't taste very pleasant. Phew. Christopher Trotter, Fife’s Food Ambassador, showed us how to make a fish stock. Thanks to his tips I'll be able to extend my repertoire beyond Nick Nairn's Chicken Stock. I'll be at the fishmongers asking for a free bag of fish bones before the week is out.
Boy and Girl were desperate to give the Smoothie Bike on The Fife Diet stand a go. They made their own smoothies with local berries and foraged food and returned later on in the day to help avert a crisis. The Doorstep Bakery had run out of the tomato sauce for their pizza. Seriously Good Venison stepped in with some left over tomatoes from their salad for burgers and a tomato sauce was blitzed. Community teamwork at its best.
Tummies were rumbling by this time. What to choose for lunch? Girl and Foodie Loon opted for Venison Burgers from Seriously Good Venison and we bought four of their Wee Veni Pies to take home.
Boy and myself couldn't resist the seafood so opted to share a Seafood Platter of Smoked Mackerel, Hot Smoked Salmon and Smoked Mussels with a side of a Dressed Crab. A wood fired Garlic Bread completed our feast.
Could there possibly be a better location for an al fresco Sunday lunch? I very much doubt it.
One of the real highlights of the day was a Coastal Foraging Walk let by Mark Williams of Wild Galloway Foods. Absolutely loved this and it deserves a blog post of its own. Watch this space.
Foodie Loon clearly wasn't quite full as he spotted the ladies from Balgove Larder with their tray of goodies and opted for a Caramelised Onion and Sausage Parcel. Boy and Girl chose Strawberries and a Chocolate Topped Waffle for their desert.
Plenty of non foodie activities laid on to keep little (and big) kids happy. Sandcastle Building Competition, Parachute Games and a Scavenger Hunt. Great fun had and some pretty spectacular sandy creations.
After our forage we cooled down with Ice Creams from Janetta's before watching Mark cook up some wild foods. All too soon 4pm and the close of the festival had arrived. We managed to sneak in some after hours purchases of White Hot Chocolate, Hazelnut Hot Chocolate and Salty Popcorn topped with Chocolate Sauce from The Pittenweem Chocolate Company. The last minute Popcorn was definitely my non fishy highlight of the day.
As we headed back to the car we made a detour to track down the wonderful Gingerbread Village made by Sucre Coeur. You can read all about its creation here. It truly is a work of art and as a result Karen has been asked to create a Gingerbread Edinburgh. Can't wait to see what she comes up with. Alas no time to visit any of the participants on the Crail Food Trail but what a brilliant idea.
Home with a bag full of Foodie Goodies, a touch of Sunburn and definite plans to return to Crail for next year's Festival. I may even of had a sneaky peek on www.fifespc.co.uk at houses in the area. My own holiday home would mean I could definitely attend both the Saturday and Sunday activities in 2014 and complete the Crail Food Trail. Fingers crossed my numbers come up on Saturday night. Bell Ringers Cottage will be mine.