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January 25-27

May 31, 2013 4

When my assignment for The Crail Food Festival pinged into my inbox I almost whooped for joy.  My mission, which I most definitely chose to accept, encompassed two of life’s greatest pleasures – cheese and cake.  I was to visit two restaurants that pride themselves in using local produce, the St Andrews Cheese Farm Company’s restaurant and Kellie Castle Kitchen Cafe.

The St Andrews Cheese Farm Company is the only farmhouse cheese-maker in Fife and as well as producing unique cheeses from their own herd of Holstein Friesian cows, wherever possible they also “fly the flag” for Scottish Farmhouse Cheese-making.  As Jane Stewart, who runs the business along with husband Robert says “we are all about food provenance … visitors want to know what cheeses we make and they are extremely interested in the process, keen to taste the product and invariably want to know where and how they can purchase it on their way home” .

cheese farm restaurant
cheese farm gals
Cheese farm retail
St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese
stornoway black pudding rosti chutney
cheese farm (2)

I’m not surprised that Jane’s visitors are keen to buy their famous Anster Cheese; I can testify that is indeed delicious.  I’m a long standing fan and regularly buy it at my local farmers market.  However,  gobbling it down in record time with a box of oatcakes is about as far as I have travelled in terms of culinary experimentation.  I was about to experience a whole new world of cheese in Jane and Robert’s restaurant.

The restaurant is large, bright and airy with beautiful views across the East Neuk countryside.  Jane explained that their cheese is incorporated into the menus wherever possible “whether it be omelettes, sandwiches, soup, or in other speciality dishes”.

Jane’s hot tip from the menu  was their most popular dish – Hot Smoked Salmon served on crushed potatoes and topped with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce.  That indeed sounded irresistible…. until I noticed one of my personal food heroes on the menu – Stornoway black pudding, served with a potato and Anster cheese rosti alongside beetroot chutney.

The Stornoway black pudding was, as ever, utterly melt in the mouth divine, the rosti was lovely and loose, unlike some cremated versions I have tasted in the past and the Anster cheese complimented it beautifully .  The whole dish was brought together perfectly with the beetroot chutney.  As John Torode would say it was “a beautiful thing”.  My mum and husband who had come along for the ride enjoyed a cheese and ham omelette and the Special Ploughman’s lunch.  Both made all the right noises and clearly hit the mark.

We would have loved to stay on to sample the famous meringues but time was ticking and we had a cake appointment elsewhere.  But we didn’t leave before browsing some of the other local food heroes available to buy. Dalchonzie Chutneys, Galloway Lodge Preserves, Summer Harvest Oils, Chrystalls shortbread, Barnett the Bakers Cheese Oatcakes, Adamson’s oatcakes, Trotters Independent Condiments and St Andrews Brewing Company are just some of the local producers on display in the small retail area.  We settled upon a jar of onion marmalade from Dalchonzie and chutney made by St Andrews Cheese Farm which was so fresh the label was not yet on – yum.

Five minutes later we found ourselves in the beautiful grounds of Kellie Castle, which lies 5 miles North of Pittenweem.  A National Trust property dating from 1360, it is renowned for its lavish interiors but should also be renowned, in my opinion, for its baking.  The Kellie Castle Kitchen Cafe may be small but it’s perfectly formed – rustic and utterly charming.  Kathryn Baker, whose own history is steeped in baking, has recently taken over the running of the cafe and is working towards “making the most of as much local produce” as she can.

The Kellie Castle Kitchen Cafe doesn’t have to look far for inspiration either, with many of the products used coming from their very own kitchen garden – you don’t get much more local than that!  Kathryn believes that being able to actually show visitors where the fruit in their cakes come from is “a great way to interact with customers”.  The local food heroes at Kellie Castle are their own gardeners who produce a whole host of goodies – from herbs and vegetables to salad and fruit.

Kathryn, a hero in her own right, is full of enthusiasm and passion for her produce and this shines through in the way she talks to her customers and tells them all about what Kellie Castle Kitchen has to offer.

The Lovely Kathryn
Rhubarb crumble muffins
dresser of temptation
Victoria Sponge
Citrus and rhubarb cake

On the day I visited, it was all about the rhubarb – seasonal and perfectly tasty.  I am one of those people who were under the misguided impression that rhubarb was plain old rhubarb.  Kathryn soon enlightened me.  The Castle garden produces at least 30 varieties of the pink stuff, including Whitby, Fenton’s Special and Hawkes Champagne.

Fortunately or perhaps unfortunately for my waistline, we chose a table right next to the beautiful “dresser of temptation”.  Amongst the cakes on display were a plump Victoria Sponge, a Citrus and Rhubarb cake, Rhubarb Crumble muffins, peppermint slices and a chocolate ginger tray-bake.  My husband chose the Victoria Sponge, Citrus Rhubarb cake won the day for mum and it had to be Rhubarb Crumble Muffin with whipped cream on the side, for me (the cream is not really needed but I am a bit greedy, so there!).  We also felt the need to take a peppermint slice and a chocolate ginger slice home with us for later (because we needed more cake).

The Rhubarb Crumble muffin was Kathryn’s top tip and she was not wrong in recommending it: a crunchy top, moist light sponge and lots of fresh juicy rhubarb to surprise you in the middle – delightful.

The large slice of Victoria Sponge tasted exactly as every Victoria sponge should taste, but often doesn’t – moist and light as a feather.  My mum wolfed down her sponge and I didn’t get the chance to taste it but it definitely got the thumbs up. As for mini me – she was too busy looking for princesses, to eat cake!  I hate to say it but I am very glad I don’t have Kathryn’s talent for baking as I would be the size of a house, her produce is truly stunning.

As well as cakes there were soups and savoury herb scones on offer.  Kathryn told us about the Swiss Chard, herbs and wild garlic that are flourishing at the moment and as the contented Camerons rolled out of Kellie Castle we could smell the beautiful aroma of wild garlic all the way back to the car park.

I would take on an assignment like this every day of the week. As well as tasting stunning produce and learning more about the food on my plate, it was a joy to encounter such a depth of passion from the people running both businesses.

Thankfully the importance of food provenance is gaining momentum in this country as our desire to understand more about the journey from field to fork increases.

The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company will be displaying their wares at this year’s Crail Food Festival and for one can’t wait to taste their wonderful produce once again.   Kellie Castle Kitchen Cafe and The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company are good places to visit on your way to or from Crail Food Festival this year.

Find out more:


St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company:

Kellie Castle:

This article has been written for the Crail Food Festival by Hazel Cameron aka The Grumbling Tummy. You can read more by visiting or send me a Tweet @thegrumblingtum

May 24, 2013

It has been a couple of weeks since my last visit to Penman Butchers in Crail.  My last trip was in search of some lamb leg for a spiced, slow roast dish as part of a curry night with the guys.   Predictably, I had given in to the temptation that is a very well presented counter and ended up with a few extras for the freezer.  Alas, with that all gone, it was time for another trip to satisfy a very different need – fast food.

Our social calendar has been somewhat hectic in the last few weeks and this weekend gone was no exception.  Straight from work on Friday to see the Crail Festival’s Salsa Celtica gig in Crail followed by a kids party Saturday morning (ouch) followed by a lunch with friends.  I had predicted that a good lunch with good company and good wine would inevitably lead to an entire afternoon/early evening of socialising, so had wisely planned to stock up on something fast, simple, nutritious and tasty for Saturday night’s dinner.  It had to be steaks with new season asparagus.

I was very impressed with Penman’s during my last visit – everything had obviously been sourced, prepared and displayed with care and pride and I was hoping for more of the same.  Wasn’t disappointed.

J B Penman, Crail Butchers
Inside Crail’s famous butcher’s shop!


Now, fillet steak may not be the most exciting or flavoursome cut around, often bringing out a sigh or exclamation of the passé amongst us foodie types, but I maintain that, with the right quality and cooking treatment, it is still a thing of joy.

It was great to see Keith behind the counter, still bouncing with enthusiasm – and quite rightly so.  Penman’s is a fantastic shop, with a wide range of quality, locally sourced meats, pies and preserves that will get soon get anyone with the slightest interest in food equally enthused.

Just as before when I bought the lamb leg, the whole fillet, beautifully trimmed, was brought out for me to choose the side and size of the cuts I wanted.  Two generous  1 ½ inch pieces for the other half and myself, two hearty 1 inch pieces for the offspring.   I may not be the carnivore that I was in my late teens, but even now good quality, raw fillet makes my mouth water.

I had the foresight to leave these out of the fridge in a cool room so that they’d be ready to cook as soon as I was back – and just as well.  My predictions were correct and several hours and glasses of Rioja more than planned,  we made it back for our dinner.

Fast food at its finest
Fast food at its finest: fillet steaks from JB Penman


Cooking was simple.  Season the steaks well and get them on a very hot griddle.  Roast asparagus. Cook some mushrooms in butter, add garlic, tarragon, wine and wholegrain mustard.  Turn steaks.  Rest steaks.  Add cream to mushrooms.  Plate up.  Eat.

Perfect – especially with that one last glass of Rioja……..

fillet steaks from JB Penman, butchers
Fine food, fast!

Thanks to Keith, Caroline and the team at Penmans.

J B Penman Butcher

38 High Street South, Crail, Fife, KY10 3RB 

Opening times Mon/Tue & Thu–Sat 6.30am–1pm, 2–5pm; Wed 6.30am–1pm. Closed Sun.


This article has been submitted to Crail Food Festival by Derek Swan.  You can read more by visiting  or send me a Tweet @hungry_swan.


May 10, 2013

We’ve been focusing on different producers and food experiences over the last few weeks, but now we’d like to talk about YOU! Yes, you dear reader!

Crail Food Festival is a community event, and as such relies on the help and good will of so many people to make it happen.  So this week’s message is about how you can help us – go on, it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling to be involved.

How to help Crail Food Festival – for our Friends (yes, you!)

If you’re going to be coming along to the Festival, then there are 10 suggestions for you too. Even if you’re an “armchair observer” and can’t make it this year, there are some suggestions you can help with from afar.  Be part of the community, you’re all welcome!   If you’ve more suggestions of how you can help us, then comment below (that’s helping too!)

1. Put us in your diary and invite your friends to come along – update for 2015: 12 June (evening events only), 13 June, 14 June – all on our Programme Page.

2. Bring your camera with you and take lots of photographs!  Then share them. (Flickr, Facebook, Pinterest, blipfoto, Instagram – wherever you share your pics – do let us know)

3. Share our Facebook events with friends to your Facebook page.

4. Take a Crail Food Festival poster to your favourite food places and ask if they will display it, or put one on your notice board at work, in your window or in your car. (Ask Graham at the Honeypot Crail for a Poster next time you’re in for a coffee!)

5. Write an article about Fife food on your blog. (Then post a link in our comments below…we’d love that.)

6. Follow us and share some Tweets from @CrailFoodFestival and use #CrailFF when you share.

7. Join in the Twitter Chat #ScotFood – runs every month on the first Monday, now managed by @Eat_Scottish.

8. Join in the conversations on the Crail Food Festival page on Facebook.

9. Create a Festivals board on your Pinterest page and add photographs or pins. Happy for you to share some of our pins there!

10. Volunteer to help out at the event.

How to help Crail Food Festival – For Participants

If you’re one of the participants in the Crail Food Festival, then we’ve got 11 suggestions of how you can help us make this a successful event for you.


1. Add our event to your events calendar—on your website or Facebook page.

2. Take our flyers to the events you’re attending and let your customers know where else you will be found. (Send your address to Graham info [@] if you need a supply)

3. Put up a Crail Food Festival flyer on your stall, in your shop, or on your car window.

4. Share some Tweets from @CrailFoodFestival and use #CrailFF tag when mentioning us.

5. Tell your friends! Word of mouth recommendations – our favourite.

6. Join in the Twitter Chat #ScotFood on the first Monday of each month – now hosted by @Eat_Scottish.

7. Tag the Crail Food Festival page on Facebook. (You know where we are!)

8. Use the Crail Food Festival press releases to write a piece for your next newsletter.

9. Create a Festivals board on your Pinterest page and add photographs or pins. Or share some of our pins.

10. Follow us on Instagram and post some photos of how you’re preparing for your visit to Crail using the tag #CrailFF or comment on our posts to help us find you!

11. Add a suggestion of your own to this post on by commenting below!  If you include your own website link, then more people will find you too.

May 3, 2013

When CAMRA – The Campaign for Real Ale – was founded in 1971 it was a movement whose purpose was as much political as it was gustatory:  CAMRA’s founders wanted to fight against the disappearance of ‘real’ beers from quality local breweries, which were being relentlessly swallowed up by giant, often global, brewing businesses.

A very similar parallel can be drawn with food and the formation of Slow Food, an organisation that on one hand celebrates food quality and diversity, whilst on the other campaigns against the globalising forces that they see as destructive.

We may not be members of CAMRA, Slow Food or any other official group, but there are plenty of us who share this passion for sustainable, authentic local produce that, crucially, also tastes great. Whilst the dominance of giant industrial concerns marches onward, we should be heartened that there are also more and more artisan producers selling to passionate small retailers, and finding plenty of customers like you and me who are looking for local, seasonal and high quality produce.

Many of our regional breweries have been swallowed up to become part of anonymous corporations, often with consolidation of brewing into huge central facilities at the expense of historic local breweries. But in the past decade or so there has been a phenomenal rise in small-scale, local beer production too – craft breweries, often run by just a handful of obsessive individuals. Not too far up the East coast from Crail, the Fraserburgh-based BrewDog released its first beer only in 2007, yet today it can claim to be Scotland’s largest independent brewery with sales of 120,000 bottles per month for export across the world.

A selection of Ales from St Andrews Brewing Company
St Andrews Brewing Company

But locally, beer lovers from Fife have lots to celebrate too with a thriving craft brewing scene. Indeed, whilst visiting the Crail Food Festival this June, do not miss the chance to try a bottle of Crail Ale. Brewed initially for last year’s Festival by the St Andrews Brewing Company, the hoppy Pale Ale (4.5% ABV) beer became an instant hit, so much so that it has now become a mainstream product for the brewery with wider distribution. This year, beerophiles can try a Crail Special and Neuk Special, being brewed for the Food Festival as a 7.0% ABV India Pale Ale and a 6.6% ABV Dark Ale.

Eden Brewery is another local outfit based in St Andrews that will be in evidence during the festival. It has seen huge critical acclaim since launching its first beers in 2012.  A range of bottlings runs the gamut from Blonde Ale to Porter, and their whisky cask-finished special brews using selected casks from the Eradour distillery caused a real stir amongst beer aficionados.

Beers from the Eden Brewery
Beer Selections from Eden Brewery (photo credit: Eden Brewery)

These small, passionate companies are local representatives of a brewing revolution that is happening across the country, but beer doesn’t have it all its own way.  Having overcome a number of funding issues, the 18th century East Newhall Farm steading on Cambo Estate, just a few miles outside of Crail, is on course to become home to the brand new Kingsbarns Distillery thanks to backing from the Scottish Government and the Wemyss Family, owners of Wemyss Malts.  Distilling is set to begin in 2014.

And whilst it might take a few more years of global warming before Fife can establish its own Grand Cru vineyards, local businessman Peter Wood has recently opened The St Andrews Wine Company, bringing a superb selection of world wines (and more local beers and whiskies) to the area.  Both are set to become essential components of the East Fife food and drink lovers’ trail.

A few to try:

St Andrews Brewing Co., Crail Special

The Crail Ale was a smash hit when brewed for the Crail Food Festival, but be quick to grab a bottle of this limited edition, double-hopped version that weighs in with a hefty 7% alcohol by volume. An array of zesty and bittersweet hop aromas and flavours lead to a tantalising, dry finish. 7% ABV.

St Andrews Brewing Co., Oatmeal Stout

Brewed with roasted malts and fresh Scottish oatmeal, this mahogany-coloured beer pours with a thick tan head and offers inviting aromas of coffee, toasted grains and a touch of chocolate. In the mouth it has a pleasing hoppy tang and freshness, into a long bittersweet finish. 4.5% ABV.

Eden brewery, Clock Brew Traditional Scottish Ale

Pouring almost as dark as the oatmeal Stout, but with a ruby/tawny hue and thinner off-white head, there’s a red fruit note here as well as toffee and a hint of marmalade.  In the mouth it has a fine hop intensity, a twist of chicory smoothed by mellower malt, and fresh in the finish. 4.3% ABV.

Eden brewery, St Andrews Blonde

A hoppy, light golden beer with a fluffy off-white head, there is just a huge blast of citrus and summer flowers on the nose, the impression of oily hops carrying through in the mouth, with bags of tangy flavour and a long. juicy lemon and lime peel bite in the finish. Very satisfying. 3.8% ABV.

Find out more:

St Andrews Brewing Company can also be followed on Facebook, or send Bob a Tweet @StAndysBrewing

The Eden Brewery St Andrews can also be followed on Facebook, or send a Tweet @EdenBrewery or their staff @EdenBrewery_KF @EdenBrewery_SG and @EdenBrewery_SF

Kingsbarns Distillery can be found on Facebook, or Tweet with Doug @KingsbarnWhisky

St Andrews Wine Company on Facebook and @StAndrewsWine

This article was written for Crail Food Festival by Tom Cannavan who can be found talking all things wine, beer and whisky at: