Top chefs preparing for award winning Ballantrae festival

Galloway Soup Company are one of the exhibitors at this year's festival
Galloway Soup Company are one of the exhibitors at this year's festival

Final preparations are underway for one of Scotland’s most successful food festivals.

Thousands of visitors are expected to attend Ballantrae’s Festival of Food & Drink on Sunday June 11th (from 11am to 5pm). Entry is £2 with accompanied children free).

The award winning event, which is now in its third year, has become a regular fixture in the culinary calendar – attracting top chefs and food producers from around the country. The very best in local produce including fish, seafood, meats, cheeses, chocolates, jams, breads, cakes, cider, wine and whisky, will be available to sample, buy, take home and enjoy.

Visitors will also be able to sit down to a range of mouthwatering delights, from stone baked pizzas to a hog roast at banqueting tables overlooking spectacular views of Ailsa Craig. The very popular cookery demonstrations and foraging expeditions are making a welcome return, and young visitors can enjoy entertainment provided by “Talk of the Town”.

With its menu of local specialities, slow food and wild produce, the Festival has a very different flavour to the fast food era. Sunday’s event reflects the growing popularity of high quality food produced locally. Ayrshire led the way in introducing farmers’ markets to Scotland and the Festival builds on that success. Tourists are crucial to the economy of South West Scotland and research has shown that eating local cuisine enhances their visit to the area. The event is being held in a grand marquee complex at Ballantrae harbour and Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre, so whatever the weather, it’s set to be a great day out with something for all food lovers, whether you enjoy cooking, or just like eating!.

Festival organiser Siobhan Liddington says: “There’s a real buzz about this event. Following the success of our previous two Festivals and our Farmers’ Markets Ballantrae is now well and truly on the food map.”

In addition to the Sunday event, two fringe events are being held this year. For details of free transport to the event on Sunday from Stranraer, Girvan and Barrhill and a full programme, visit www.ballantraefoodfest.com.

On Friday evening to celebrate Ballantrae’s rich smuggling history - including the smuggling of brandy and fine wines - and part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology - The Ballantrae Smugglers’ Festival is producing an event for the whole family entitled “Music, Poetry and Smuggling Stories” starting at 7pm at Ballantrae Harbour. On Saturday at the “Edible Cinema” at Culzean Country Park, the audience will experience cinema in a unique way through aroma, texture and taste. There will be one film for adults and one for children.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “The Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink is the perfect stage to showcase the wonderful array of local produce and we are delighted to be supporting them through our National Funding Programme. They have pulled together a great programme of gastronomic delights, including a look back at our intriguing culinary history in celebration of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. I’m sure the Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink will once again deliver an outstanding event and continue to build a strong future in South Ayrshire.”

The Ballantrae Festival of Food and Drink is organised by the Ballantrae Food Strategy Group - local volunteers working in partnership with food and drink and other professionals. This year the Festival has received funding from EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate; Carrick Futures with funding from Scottish Power Renewables Mark Hill and Arecleoch wind farms; South Ayrshire Council; Craigiemains Home and Garden Centre; and ScotRail.

For more information on the events on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, go to

www.ballantraefoodfest.com.