Ballantrae serves up a treat

Top chefs shared their expertise in the cookery demonstrations. Picture: Andy Muir
Top chefs shared their expertise in the cookery demonstrations. Picture: Andy Muir

Windy weather didn’t deter over two thousand people from turning up for Ballantrae’s third Festival of Food & Drink.

Visitors flocked to the award winning event which was held in a grand marquee complex at Ballantrae Harbour.

There was a huge range of quality food and drink to enjoy. Picture: Howard Galley

There was a huge range of quality food and drink to enjoy. Picture: Howard Galley

Food and drink stalls offering the very best in local Ayrshire and Dumfries & Galloway produce, including fish and seafood, meats, cheeses, chocolates, jams, breads, cakes, cider, wine and whisky all did a roaring trade. This year the festival attracted producers from Glasgow and the central belt.

Street food, including a mouth watering range of stone baked pizzas, burgers made with local beef, juices, ice cream, beers, gin and coffee were enjoyed at banqueting tables with stunning views of Ailsa Craig and Arran.

Top chefs Adam McKissock from Dumfries House, David Alexander of Glenapp Castle, Lindsay Guidi of the Home Cook School, Iain Conway of Lochgreen Hotel and fishmonger Jonathan Pieroni all shared their expertise in cookery demonstrations. Lisa Cutcliffe led foraging expeditions on Ballantrae beach followed by tasting sessions.

Appropriately live music was provided by local group The Spuds. The Ballantrae Biosphere demonstrated the area’s passion for living in a way that benefits people, nature, learning and sustainability.

Ballantrae Primary School pupils’ presentation “Pollination” on healthy eating was very well received as was Brenda Anderson’s fascinating insight into the history of Scotland’s food and drink.

Festival Co-ordinator Siobhan Liddington said: “The Festival continues to exceed our expectations. The partnership between producers, suppliers, food and tourism professionals and the local community works well, and brings benefits to us all.

“This year, visitors had the chance to sample, buy and enjoy a huge range of quality food and drink from this area. The Festival was inspired by Ballantrae’s exceptional lamb, beef and seafood produce, and we attracted a wide range of producers from across South West Scotland.

“The Ballantrae Festival of Food & Drink shows that a small village like ours can put on a major popular event with the support of external partners. In addition, we’re playing our part in helping to deliver Scotland’s national and local food and tourism strategies.

“Visitor numbers are only one part of the equation. We continue to work hard to improve the visitor experience year on year.“

For the first time there were two fringe events. On the Friday evening to celebrate Ballantrae’s rich smuggling history - including the smuggling of brandy, fine wines, salt and tea, the Ballantrae Smugglers’ Festival organised “Music, Poetry and Smuggling Stories”, an event principally for children.

On the Saturday at the Edible Cinema at Culzean Country Park, the audience experienced cinema in a unique way through aroma, texture and taste with one film for adults “Chocolat” and one for children “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

But if you didn’t make it all is not lost - Ballantrae Farmers’ Markets are planned for the second Sunday of every month from July to October.