With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates
Perfect accompaniment: Royal Deeside serving up third Food and Fiddle Fortnight next month
Royal Deeside will again provide the scenic backdrop as the area serves up another helping of its annual Food and Fiddle Fortnight, which begins this Friday.
Taking place in venues throughout the Aberdeenshire valley, the initiative brings together local food producers, businesses and musicians to showcase the area’s culinary and musical talents.
The celebration of food and music has been organised by Visit Royal Deeside and runs from Friday, 02 until Sunday, 18 October.
Now in its third year, the two-week festival is expected to draw visitors from across Scotland keen to experience the area at the start of one of its most spectacular seasons. A programme of around 60 events has been put together to cater for all musical and gastronomic tastes. Additional events are still being added to the festival’s programme.
The cultural and culinary celebration includes food demonstrations, farmers markets, live music sessions, special afternoon teas, exhibitions and concerts. Many of the area’s cafes, restaurants and inns are also creating special menus for the festival to showcase the breadth and depth of produce available locally.
As Royal Deeside begins to display its autumnal colours, visitors can explore its farmland, forestry and moorland aboard a Land Rover Safari organised by Glen Tanar Estate on Sunday, 04 October, which includes a venison barbecue lunch.
Those wishing to discover the area on foot can join local historian Ian Murray on a guided walk on Saturday, 17 October. Acclaimed local fiddler Paul Anderson will provide live fiddle music along the route, before participants enjoy more music and a two-course dinner at Ballater’s Riverside Cottage Cafe. The venue will also host an opera dinner on Saturday, 10 October.
For foodies, Glendavan House at Dinnet is serving up a Highland hamper and bagpipe breakfast on Saturday, 03 October, while on the Tuesdays and Wednesdays of the festival Cambus O’ May Cheese will open its factory doors and allow visitors to see its award-winning artisan cheeses being made.
Wark Farm at Cushnie, an organic farm butchery and meat retailer, will be holding food and farm experience days on Sunday, 04 and Monday, 05 October. The sessions will include a farm walk followed by an informal lunch of meat reared on the farm and vegetables grown in its kitchen garden. Visitors will also get the chance to learn some butchery skills during an afternoon demonstration.
Art and food will combine throughout the festival. On the opening night, Friday, 02 October, the renowned Butterworth Gallery will host an artistic taste evening. The event will feature local produce including local cheeses from Cambus O’ May Cheese and beers from Deeside Brewery. Meanwhile, on Thursday, 08 October, the 230 ceramic fish exhibits from the much-admired River of Fish installation, created by the Heckleburn Quines, will be auctioned off at Banchory’s Woodend Barn.
Festival highlights include two concerts featuring some of Scotland’s leading traditional musicians.
Celebrating the Hairst takes place on Thursday, October 08, in Tarland’s MacRobert Hall, with renowned local musicians, fiddler Paul Anderson and singer Shona Donaldson, performing a lively programme of traditional tunes and bothy ballads to mark harvest time.
The fortnight-long celebration will draw to a close with a concert performed by the Rua Macmillan Duo at the Woodend Barn, Banchory, on Sunday, 18 October. Award winning Scottish fiddler Rua Macmillan will be joined by pianist Suzanne Houston, with the duo performing a range of music from across Scotland and further afield.
Moira Gash, Visit Royal Deeside project co-ordinator, said:
“Royal Deeside is an area steeped in a rich musical and culinary heritage and the next two weeks will showcase the best of this. The 2015 festival programme features a diverse range of events, with things to appeal to people of all ages, interests and musical tastes. Local businesses have fully supported the Food and Fiddle Fortnight once again and have created some fantastic events.
“As Royal Deeside becomes carpeted in its autumnal shades of gold, russet and ochre, the area really is a stunning place to visit. A great way for all the family to discover more about it is to use the Explore Royal Deeside GeoTour to complement any of the Food and Fiddle Fortnight events. The GeoTour is Scotland’s only official geocaching tour and is a fantastic way to get active and hunt out some of Deeside’s attractions.”
To inspire visitors to explore the local area even further during the Food and Fiddle Fortnight, Visit Royal Deeside has put together an A to Z of things to do and places to visit. The list highlights some of the more unusual activities on offer, including lessons in tractor driving, gliding and driving a train on part of the old Deeside line.
“Royal Deeside has a huge amount to offer visitors. Our A to Z aims to highlight some of the more unusual and quirky activities and places to visit, while also reminding visitors about some of the iconic sites and attractions that the area has to offer. We hope it will give some inspiration to those visiting Royal Deeside in the months ahead.”
The Food and Fiddle Fortnight takes place in venues across Royal Deeside between Friday, 02 and Sunday, 18 October. A full programme is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com or by searching for Food and Fiddle Fortnight on Facebook.
Visit Royal Deeside is the destination management organisation established in 2005 to promote Royal Deeside, Donside and the eastern Cairngorms. The organisation works with over 100 locals businesses to enhance the quality and variety of visitor products and services, providing effective training and support where necessary.
It aims to grow tourism in the area for the benefit of locals and ensure visitors have the best possible experience to encourage return visits and recommendations to family and friends. More information is available at www.visitroyaldeeside.com.
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