This Saturday sees a four-hour live online event bringing the best of Shetland’s food and drink scene to a global audience for the first time.
Taste of Shetland is taking wir popular annual food and drink festival online and you can watch all the action via this link.
For the chance to win a host of exciting prizes including a night for two at Busta Hotel, you can enter our festival raffle here.
There will be cookery demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours of local businesses and online tasting sessions with local producers as well as live traditional Shetland music.
The live action will come from the Bigton Hall, where organisers Shetland Food and Drink (SFAD) chairwoman Marian Armitage will make a showstopping stuffed “centrepiece” monkfish tail, alongside a more economical version using catfish or tusk.
SFAD, which recently secured a new three-year funding package, now has a diverse range of over 70 local businesses signed up as members.
Festival viewers will be able to learn how some of the islands’ leading producers make their trademark goods and dishes.
SFAD manager Claire White said: “Our organisation and our members are stepping way out of their comfort zones in staging an online Taste of Shetland festival, but we feel that this is a risk worth taking.
“The event will offer something for everyone: Shetland fans worldwide, foodies, member businesses and locals seeking online family entertainment in the October school holidays.
“We hope to reach new audiences and explore new opportunities, and have some fun along the way!”
There will be a guest spot featuring acclaimed chef Gary Maclean working with Shetland’s world-renowned seafood, while Jakob Eunson of Uradale Farm will serve up a delicious roasted lamb shoulder.
Kirsten Williamson of Scoop will offer an Asian twist with Shetland lamb gyozas, while Suze Walker of Island Botanicals will show those tuning in how to make a special vinegar.
Leading Lerwick eatery The Dowry is contributing a recipe film, while the Young Farmers group will feature regularly throughout the day, which also sees the launch of new Shetland Reel gin, a Lerwick Brewery beer cocktail demonstration and live music from brothers Ross and Ryan Couper.
SFAD’s own Mary Andreas will serve up Hayhoull beef olives accompanied, with a nod to Sunniva Henry, by “creamy tattie clatch”.
NHS Shetland’s chief executive Michael Dickson, meanwhile, will be speaking about the importance of healthy eating – and offering up his spin on the traditional British Homity pie.
The event is sponsored by EventScotland, the Connect Local Regional Food Fund and Scottish Sea Farms.
Visit Scotland director of events Paul Bush OBE said: “This year has seen unprecedented challenges for our industry so it is encouraging to see Taste of Shetland progressing, albeit in new and innovative ways.
“EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the event so the organisers are able to pivot and provide a digital interpretation of a fantastic event for Shetland and Scotland.”
Connect Local Regional Food Fund project manager Ceri Ritchie said: “We are delighted to support this RFF project which champions Shetland’s local food and drink businesses.
“It is great to see how businesses have adapted to the current business environment, and this event has the potential to deliver long-term benefits to Shetland’s local food and drink sector.”
Scottish Sea Farms’ northern isles regional manager Richard Darbyshire said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has, if anything, increased appetite for locally sourced food and drink, so it’s fantastic to see the Taste of Shetland team come up with such an ingenious way of continuing their work to showcase the best of homegrown, homemade produce.
“Just one look at the running order highlights what a wealth of riches Shetland’s larder can lay claim to and Scottish Sea Farms is really proud to be a part of that, both as local producers and as event sponsors.”
- You can watch Taste of Shetland’s online festival via this link and on wir Facebook page from 11am-3pm on Saturday (17 October).