"Anyone fancy going to Kingussie for the Food on Film Festival?" I tweeted mid January. Little did I expect anything would come of it but Michelle from Snow Marketing said she was up for it and a plan was hatched. We'd been tweeting each other for a while with common interests of Food, Gin and the Highlands and had met up when she was visiting Aberdeen on a recent market research trip. I hoped that I'd gleaned enough information to know that she wasn't a mad axe murderer off the interweb.
2014 was the 7th Kingussie Food on Film Festival which encompassed four days of film, food, drink, debate, competition and demonstration. Alas we were only able to be there for the Saturday daytime Food Hall and the evening showing of Gosford Park. On our arrival the Food Hall was buzzing with a fantastic range of producers sampling and selling everything from cheese to coffee and charcuterie to craft beer. The stage was constantly busy with BBC Radio Scotland's Pennie Latin compering the cookery demos. A great job was done throughout by pupils from Kingussie High who brought the food and wine matching samples to the assembled audience. Yes we were the guilty ones who downed our desert wine before Lydie Bocquillon had even finished making the desert.
For the Seafood Ceilidh demo by Dry Island Shellfish, Pennie very gamely dressed up in a Lobster costume. Unfortunately I couldn't contain my giggles from the front row and was duly called up onstage to assist with the presentation of the dishes and subsequent handing round to the assembled audience. It was a great demo to round off the afternoon with producers from the hall getting well and truly involved supplying supplementary ingredients to work alongside the scallops, mussels, langoustines and squat lobsters.
We were supposed to be going to an afternoon film showing however a combination of spending too much time in the food hall, too long getting ready at the B&B and the lure of G&T proved too much. After arriving late and missing the start of the film we settled ourselves in to the lounge bar at The Silverfjord Hotel. Slippery slope as we had already had a sneaky Hendricks and Elderflower tonic in teacups at the B&B. Michelle was very impressed with what I keep in my toilet bag.
A quick change in the toilets and we had turned into 1930's glamour pusses ready for the Gossford Park screening. If truth be told our outfits were more 20's than 30's but we fitted in well with the Charleston dancing Carrbridge dancers. So well that we were twice mistaken for being part of the troupe!
Our bed for the night in Kingussie was at Slemish B&B. We received a warm welcome from our hosts Lorraine and John and it certainly deserves its Visit Scotland 4 Star Gold Rating. Contemporary spacious rooms, centrally located and lots of nice, but not twee, personal touches. The breakfast on offer was the perfect antidote for the morning after the night before and definitely hit the spot.
A wee bit fresh air was required to blow away any cobwebs and Michelle suggested a walk to the Green Loch in Glenmore Forest Park. Apparently the green colouring is due to the fairy's washing their clothes in it. Or it could be something to do with the surrounding rocks and trees. Either way it was a truly magical place which I fell totally in love with. It reminded me very much of our trip to the Fairy Pools in Skye.
A quick coffee before heading our separate ways turned into a late light lunch at the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore. I opted for Sweet potato, coconut and Lime Soup with a savoury scone and a glass of homemade grapefruit lemonade. The range of cakes and bakes on offer looked truly amazing and I particularly loved the floury bread art. Clearly a popular place due to the fact that there permanently seemed to be a queue of folk on the stairs waiting for a table.
Homeward bound with my foodie purchases, not forgetting pressies for boy, girl and Foodie Loon. A great haul of goodies as followsWindswept Brewing - Blonde, Wolf, APA
Great Glen Game - Venison Pepperoni, Chilli Venison Chorizo and Venison Salami
The Isle of Skye Baking Company - Black Olive with Garlic Lavosh
Charlotte Flower Chocolates - Sea Salt Caramel and Smoked Hebridean Sea Salt and Java Milk Chocolate Shards
The Forest Kitchen - Traditional Handmade Tablet
The Cheese House - Nettle Gouda
George Gow Butchers - Venison Haggis, Pork Pies and Game Pie
A great weekend was had at Kingussie Food on Film but its always good to know that you've been missed. I would have felt very guilty upon seeing my note from girl had I not purchased that wee bag of sparkly tablet hearts for her. Great job done by the organisers and volunteers that made the festival such a success. It was undoubtedly one of the friendliest foodie events that I've ever been to with great crack throughout. That's the Highlands for you.
Check out our weekend from Michelle's perspective on the Make It Snow Blog.