THE countdown is on to the Speyside food and drink festival.
If you’re looking for beer that promises to be – in the words of a Speyside brewer - a refreshing change from "mass produced mouthwash" or cool ideas like adding a slice of apple, rather than a wedge of lemon, to enhance a gin and tonic, then Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is the place to be.
Keith Brewery and Caorunn Gin feature in the 30-strong line up of exhibitors taking part in the two-day celebration of the region’s gastronomy on September 1 and 2 at Elgin Town Hall.
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled offers the chance to meet the producers – like the chocolate maker from Favour-it Flavours who is isn’t afraid to experiment with new tastes, with crushed Oreo, caramel biscotti and jelly bean being among the most recent trials, and she’s never short of volunteers to help with a spot of new product sampling.
Find out the best cuppa to start the day, with Cairngorm Leaf and Bean and discover how Macleans Highland Bakery add a twist to their oatcakes offering ranges that have a touch of chilli, haggis, seaweed and black pepper or vanilla.
Bartenders, baristas, brewers, whisky makers and foodies will be there so expect to find samples and tastings, demonstrations, food and drink pairings, storytelling and masterclasses.
It’s the second of the new-breed event celebrating the vibrancy of Speyside’s food and drink producers, from artisanal operators to the globally renowned drinks brands.
It seeks to show the region’s wide range of gourmet delights with surprising flavours from alternative producers who, alongside the region’s well-known whisky brands, are keeping the region at the fore of the Scottish food and drink scene.
The craft producers join the big hitters and they all have one thing in common – people passionate about making great tasting food and drink.
The two-day pop-up festival is being delivered by the team behind the world-famous Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
Festival chairman James Campbell said: "A new generation of people want to seek out artisanal products while enjoying the produce of pioneering businesses that placed the region on the food and drink map.
"What makes Distilled stand out is that food and drink producers come together under one roof. There are so many great food and drink companies operating in the region and this event is a good way of highlighting that diversity while making it easily accessible to visitors.
"It’s a chance to discover new tastes and products, and to try some punchy tastes and flavours, some of which may be familiar and some which will be new. Tickets are selling fast and places are limited so pre-ordering them is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out."
Distilled is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers and runs over four sessions, from 1-5pm and 6-10pm on both the Friday and Saturday. Tickets are priced at £20 and this includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.
All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. Festival merchandise will also be on sale.
For more information and to book tickets, visit www.distilled.scot