Now in it’s fifth year Crail Food Festival has found it’s feet. Every year it gets bigger and better and this year was no disappointment. With a packed menu of top chefs, talented producers and opportunities galore to sample the best Fife and beyond has to offer, the weekend was a glorious success. All this squeezed into one of the prettiest fishing villages you are likely to come across made it even more special.
Organisers planned it down to a tee with venues spread neatly throughout the village and ample, well organised parking nearby. Free shuttle buses were provided with maps and schedules available so you didn’t miss a thing.
We started off on Saturday morning in the Food and Drink Emporium in the community hall which was filled with the likes of Ardross Farm shop (with delicious HUGE meringues), The Little Herb Farm, Balgove Larder, Cochrane’s Kitchen and Chillilicious. What a treat it was to see so many of Fife’s top producers in the same place at the same time. Suffice to say I left with my bags already full.
Tucked away next door, away from little prying eyes was a treat for us adult folks in the form of a room with none other than Kingbarn Distillery, Eden Mill, St Andrews Brewing Company and Edinburgh Gin. Yes. All in one room. With samples. As you can imagine this was a particularly popular venue, especially as Edinburgh Gin had brought along their new Seaside Gin for an exclusive first look and taste.
A pretty walk through the village to the High Street took us the second venue, the Town Hall which was being used to show off, wait for it…. Chocolate! A whole venue. For chocolate. Heaven! Iain Burnett’s Highland Chocolatiers were there with their dreamy truffle chocolate, the Chocolate Tree offered up strange but wonderful combos such as Haggis chocolate, Bramble and Cardamom and the delicious Strawberry and Pepper and Considerit Chocolate made their debut at the event with their dairy and gluten free bars and truffles. I was in heaven here and if the gin samples hadn’t done it the chocolate samples did and I was in serious need of a sit down.
Luckily Fife food ambassador Christopher Trotter was about to show off his cooking skills along the road in the third venue, the Kirk Hall which the clever team behind Ardross Farm Shop had skilfully turned into a professional cookery demonstration set complete with TV Screens for the close ups and a stellar line up of chefs. Over the weekend visitors were lucky enough to watch top class chefs such as Geoffrey Smeddle from the Peat Inn, Jamie Scott who won Masterchef the Professionals and Craig Millar from 16 West End in St Monans.
Producers such as Still delicious, The Little Herb Farm, Jim Knox from the Fisherman’s Larder and Ardross gave talks and provided tastings in the Legion Hall. On the Sunday we enjoy some whisky provided by Douglas Clement of Kingsbarn Distillery while the fully booked audience listened intently to the fascinating story of how he started his beloved business. Across the road in the Marine Hotel there was story telling and food themed games led by Children’s Champion, Claire Bradley. This provided a perfect opportunity to relax on the lawn, have a cuppa and enjoy the stunning views over the water while the kids were entertained.
On Sunday, as well as all the venues having another full day of tastings, talks and demonstrations, The Harbour Festival took over the harbour and street food vendors and local producers cooked up a storm. The sun was shining and the area was packed and as it was so hot the kids took over the beach, running in and out of the water. Families found fish crates and used them as chairs to eat their lunch on. The smells were fantastic. Arbroath Smokies were there, as was Puddledub cooking a hog roast. Cat and Rob from Wild Rover food were there with their funky land rovers selling their ethical festival food. Jannetta’s Ice cream were dishing out their now-famous Seaweed Ice Cream, which was surprisingly strange but tasty. A four piece band provided a lovely backing track while the harbour itself proved to be one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen. It was a fantastic atmosphere and has pretty much guaranteed I’ll be back next year.