2 days / 15 talks
Awesome and great blog

January 25-27


May 24, 2015

We open our Patter and Batter evening event on Saturday 13 June 2015 at Crail Community Hall with drinks on arrival. Our artist for the night is one of the UK’s few professional stand up comedy magicians, Chris Dinwoodie, direct from Glasgow! We will be serving him up with traditional fish ‘n’ chips from our wonderful Crail Fish Bar, all washed down with drinks from our festival craft ale and wine bar, ably supported by St Andrews Brewing Company & St Andrews Wine Company.

There will be plenty of opportunities to win some foodie goodies, a luxury food hamper from our wonderful producers and a dining voucher from one of our leading restaurant partners.

This is a night for merry making and sharing the festival with others. It all kicks off at 19.30pm well after the Scottish International football match has finished. So why not pop along and have a big day out at Crail Food Festival 2015?

Tickets £15.00p per person – Licensed event – Book tickets on-line via our ticketing partner, See Tickets or telephone 0871 220 0260 (calls cost 10p per minute plus standard network charges).  Please note: as this is a licensed event, 18+ only.


May 23, 2015

Peter Wood of St Andrews WinePeter Wood has been running his store, the St Andrews Wine Company, since 2012, and it was a real pleasure, and education, to pay him a visit there to find out what his plans are for Crail Food Festival this year.

As it was a sunny Wednesday morning when I visited, a steady stream of visitors came in to browse and buy and it was interesting to hear the different types of requests which Peter had to deal with, all met with his lovely smile and a pleasant greeting.  We started by talking a little bit about what Peter’s aims were for his wine shop, which he was quite clear were to be like a farmers’ market for wine – bringing the best of produce to market for his customers.
Having worked in the wine trade for a number of years before starting up his own business, Peter was keen to tell me how his interest in wine began.  When he first started work, he started to keep records of every wine he tasted.  At first these were jottings in a little notebook, and having filled one, he quickly bought another and set about filling that.  He believes that everyone has the ability to discern different tastes in wine, but what can limit people is the vocabulary to describe what they are tasting.

a question of wineFor example, he said, “A bag of chicken flavoured crisps doesn’t actually taste of chicken, it tastes of sage and onion stuffing which reminds people of chicken. ” The same applies with wine – with some white wines, they might remind you of walking down a country lane, so what is it that makes up what you are smelling? A hawthorn hedge, some fresh cut grass? You have to work on gathering phrases to describe what you smell – that’s how you start to understand how we do it.

Filling notebooks proceeded for a while, but as his collection of notes grew, the need to index and find previous notes became more pressing and he decided that the way to do so was to start his own wine blog.  Working away on the The Tasting Note over the years, he amassed a following of people who enjoyed his writings and were happy to follow his recommendations.  He started writing longer articles and branching out beyond wine to beers and spirits too.

As we chat, the steady stream of people continues.  Few leave empty handed.  The majority are very happy to have Peter recommend something which is similar to the thing they first asked about, if he hasn’t immediately got that.  Part of the excitement of wanting to supply something different from the wines which people can pick up anywhere is that stocks don’t remain the same for very long.  Peter reckoned that of the wines which he first stocked in 2012, only a few remain on his repeat order list, as he’s always looking out for something better or something which his customers will enjoy trying which comes from the same variety of grape but a different region and vice versa.

rose wine from Peter WoodLiving in a University town means that there is the challenge of keeping a wide enough variety to satisfy the younger adventurous drinkers who will mostly drink beers or wines and have a modest budget.  But with St Andrews also being the Home of Golf and welcoming visitors from all over the world, it’s also necessary to have a good stock of Scotch to entice visitors to try our major export.  As we talked, one visitor popped in to say “I admire your tenacity.  I came to visit two years ago and in such tough times, it’s great to see that you’re still here when I return.”

As another customer says, “sorry but I just won’t pay more than £10 for a bottle of wine”, Peter is gentle and accommodating, and has another in a similar style to recommend in a trice.  This approach is so great to see in action, and shows how well this wine retailer knows his market.

In a quiet moment (there weren’t many) we discussed the use of social media to reach potential customers, and I brought up the question of Gary Vaynerchuk.  He is a US Entrepreneur who started his internet career by recording wine tastings and publishing them on YouTube.  Peter has been inspired by what Gary Vaynerchuk has done, but it’s not Peter’s style, and he’s working so hard at present to build his wine retail business that video recording tastings is not on his priority list right now.any-empty-boxes

We turn to the question of what Peter will plan to bring along to Crail Food Festival in mid-June, and it turns out he has a surprise new product for our delight.  Red Squirrel Gingernut Liqueur – made by a gentleman called Bruce Borthwick working with Ogilvy Vodka in Glamis. It’s a ginger liqueur highlighting the plight of the red squirrel.  Part of the profits from the sale of the liqueur will be given to a supporting the red squirrel. Peter had tried this new drink yesterday and described it as tasting like ginger nut biscuits with a hint of honey, but not too sweet.  Sounds delicious – put my name on a bottle!

Participant: Peter Wood, St Andrews Wine Company
Facebook: St Andrews Wine
Twitter: @StAndrewsWine
Instagram: StAndrewsWine

Author: Susan McNaughton
Website: Sandcastle Cottage
Facebook: Sandcastle.Cottage.Crail
Twitter: @2Crail
Instagram: 2crail


May 19, 2015

As you wind your way along the East Neuk villages, either by foot along the Fife Coastal Path, or on short drives, it’s good to know where the spots are to find ice cream.  An essential part of any family holiday, the East Neuk has plenty of places for you to find a cooling ice on a warm day.  It’s also an ideal way to cheer up any day!  So, for the Crail Food Festival, I was delighted to take up the proposal of writing a mini-guide to some of our family favourites along the coast.

First stop – The Beehive in Crail where Rhett and Linda have a variety of cones, a selection of flavours and stock Janetta’s Ice Cream as well as a wide range of sweeties, gifts and essentials.

beehive ice creams in crail


Along the coast in Anstruther, the pink palace in the centre of Shore Street is Lisa’s Ice Cream Parlour where you’ll find Connie and staff dipping their scoops and filling cones for you with Janetta’s Ice Cream as well as dispensing hot drinks and snacks or sweeties.

lisas ice cream parlour anstrutherNext stop is in Pittenweem where John Nicholson is the man to see at the Ice Cream Shop on Pittenweem Harbour.  Well known for stocking a wide variety of Janetta’s Ice Cream as well as 200 varieties of sweets.  Here we found confectionery oysters and sliders as well as a selection of different cones.  Soft scoop too.

nicholson ice cream shop pittenweem

Winding our way along to St Monans, we had to search a little to find ice cream cones, but they are now on sale at Sue Griffith’s lovely new business, the Diving Gannet, in Station Road which you’ll find not far from the junction between West and Mid Shore.  As well as soft whip ice cream, the Diving Gannet stocks some delightful gifts and home-made preserves.  They also stock sandwiches and snacks for hungry walkers on the Coastal Path.


Our final East Neuk ice cream stop was The Pavilion at Golf Club Lane, Elie, where Findlay and Lachlan McLaren have offered sports enthusiasts and beach-goers snacks and meals since 1999 and are proud to source so many of the ingredients they use in the local area, including Barnett’s Artisan Bakery, Ardross Farm Shop, G & J Wilson Fish Merchants as well as ices from Janetta’s Gelateria.

fifi's ice cream and sweetie parlour



Have we included your favourites here? Or are there others you’d like to tell us about? Suggest others to us on the Crail Food Festival Facebook Page.  On 13 and 14 June 2015 you’ll find options to buy ice cream at the Crail Food Festival – tickets available now – or sample some of our East Neuk favourites on your way along the coast.
Follow Crail Food Festival’s board East Neuk Ice Cream Tour on Pinterest.

Author: Susan McNaughton
Twitter: @2crail or @susanmcnaughton
Website: Sandcastle Cottage Crail
Facebook: Sandcastle Cottage, Crail
Pinterest: 2crail
Instagram: 2crail

East Neuk Ice Creams on-line at:

The Diving Gannet, St Monans
Facebook: The Diving Gannet

The Pavilion, Elie
Website: The Pavilion, Elie
Facebook: The Pavilion, Elie
Twitter: @PavilionElie


May 12, 2015

I arrived at Chillilicious one gloriously sunny April afternoon to find co-proprietor Stacey Galfskiy chasing chickens round a pleasantly warm polytunnel packed with chilli plants. “Apparently, they really like chillies,” she grinned, which possibly accounts for why recently arrived rescue cockerel Ollie was particularly reluctant to leave. Two minutes later, after finally succeeding in coaxing him into the coop with his hen-friends, Stacey was free to show me round the small farm, near Ceres, that has been home to Chillilicious since the company was founded in May 2011 as a partnership between Stacey and her mum, Tricia.

The Chillilicious Farm

It was Tricia, in fact, who originally came up with the idea. She rang Stacey in a state of excitement one October afternoon in 2010 to share her vision for establishing Scotland’s first chilli farm. Although it was ‘afternoon’ in Scotland, it was 5 o’clock in the morning in New Zealand – where Stacey was, at that time, teaching snowboarding. Sleepily she agreed to her mum’s ‘crazy’ idea and the rest, as they say, is history… The two entrepreneurial ladies germinated a business plan, created a propagator in a tiny shed beside their house and started growing chilli plants from seed.

The Chillilicious Farm

Chillilicious was launched officially as part of North Fife Open Studios Festival in 2011 and, to the Galfskiys’ amazement, an army of 1500 chilli fans descended on the picturesque Fife village of Ceres over the first three days, leaving the family in little doubt that there was a hearty appetite in Fife and further afield for their products. From their initial offering of chilli plants, the Chillilicious range has grown rapidly and today includes chilli chutneys, chilli jams and chillililis (try saying that a few times at speed!). All condiments are home-made on the premises by Tricia and are sold in the on-farm shop in jars bearing colourful Chillilicious labels designed by Stacey – who trained at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design as an illustrator.

While the past few years have seen much of Stacey’s time and energy devoted to building up the chilli-growing side of Chillilicious, her ties with artistic pursuits have not in any way been severed, and the business also sells her unique style of fused glasswork – which includes glass bottles that have been “melted down” to create unique and attractive dishes. Future plans include the construction of a fused glass workshop, where courses will be run, but for the moment Stacey’s stunning glass homeware is created in a small kiln in the family garage – testament to this talented young artist’s skill and ingenuity.

The Chillilicious Farm

Chilli Glass Hens

Another type of workshop that will be available soon is chocolate making, and Stacey has recently undergone training with Blairgowrie chocolatier Taystful, with a view to launching her own range of Chillilicious chocolate products in due course.

But back to the chillies which were, after all, the main reason for my visit. I have to confess that whilst I had a fairly extensive knowledge of potatoes, I knew virtually nothing about their solanaceous cousins, the genus Capsicum. This, however, was all about to change…

Stacey’s exuded a passion for her subject which was highly infectious – and I wasn’t the only person to think so. The day of my visit happened to coincide with one of the farm’s occasional “flash” winter weekend openings, and even during the hour I was at the farm, a steady stream of chilli pilgrims arrived to worship at the shrine of chilli plants bearing names as diverse as Bangalore Whippet’s Tail, Devil’s Tongue Yellow, Jindungoo and (Warning: skip the next part if you are of a delicate disposition) Peter’s Penis…

The Chillilicious Farm

As each visitor pondered their purchases in the polytunnel, Stacey talked knowledgeably, confidently and fondly about her plants, as if each of them was part of her extended “Chillicious family”. My chilli education began in earnest as I listened to the stream of information that she imparted to her ready listeners, responding to their (and my) endless questions with boundless enthusiasm. Here are just some of the chilli information “bites” that I consumed during my Capsicum baptism of fire…

“Milder chillies are easier to grow. Very hot ones, such as the ‘Carolina Reaper’, are trickier to germinate.”

The Chillilicious Farm

“Often people water chilli plants too often and that causes problems. Another problem that growers can encounter is ‘damping off’ where a fungus causes the plant to collapse.”

“The number of chillies on a plant varies depending on the variety – some plants can produce up to 1,000 chillies over the season.”

“You can generally tell the strength of a chilli plant by the leaves: narrow leaves indicate a milder chilli, and broad, wrinkly leaves mean hot chillies.”

“The plants can live as long as six years – some people think their plant has died during the winter, but chilli plants do a forced hibernation, so don’t compost them too soon!”

“As with other plants, chillies need re-potted when their roots stick out the bottom.”

“In the second year, chilli plants will grow more and be hotter.”

“Apache is a medium hot plant which you can harvest from all year. The more chillies you pick, the happier the plant is. Don’t leave the chillies on, as they drain energy out of the plant.”

“Chilli strength is measured in Scoville units, named after Wilbur Scoville, the American pharmacist who developed the ‘Scoville Organoleptic Test’. For example, a Jalapeno’s strength is around 10,000 whereas one of the most powerful chillies that Chillilicious grow is the Carolina Reaper, which is 2.2 million Scoville units….”

As the flow of facts continued unabated for about ten minutes, it became apparent to all that when it comes to chillies, Stacey certainly knows her onions!

One of the chilli pilgrims was “looking for something with a decent heat to it”, according to his wife, who added: “He was so disappointed with the flavour of the chillies he’d bought at the supermarket that he decided to become a chilli farmer and grow them for himself.”

The Chillilicious Farm

It transpired, as we chatted, that the couple had recently taken ownership of a greenhouse and that this would be their first venture into growing their own food. Their excitement at the prospect was tangible, and I’ve often wondered since how they are getting on with the plants they eventually chose – after a long and serious deliberation process!

I discovered that Stacey’s devotion to the humble chilli plant does not stop at growing and selling – when we popped our heads round the door of the tiny balmy propagation shed, she pointed to a shelf of chilli plants that she was “chilli-sitting” for a grower in Perth while he was away on holiday. “He wanted to be sure they would be properly looked after while he was away,” she explained, confirming my rapidly growing impression that chilli-growing can become compulsive.

Of course, one extremely important aspect of plant care for anyone involved in horticulture is bug control. Stacey told me that she favours the natural predator approach to dealing with the pests that are the bane of every plant grower’s life, so the farm purchases tiny ladybird larvae from a company called Greenhouse Sensation. The larvae are then introduced to the polytunnel, where the emergent adult ladybirds will snack on any unwelcome aphid visitors. Carnivorous plants also form part of her chemical-free anti-bug armoury.

While Stacey served two more customers in the shop, I felt obliged (wild horses wouldn’t have stopped me!) to sample a few – OK, all – of the “taster” chilli jams and chutneys that were set out on a table, and this inevitably led to the subsequent purchase of several jars of these tangy delicacies to share with family and friends. My own personal favourite was the ‘Jamaican Me Crazy!’ chilli jam.

The Chillilicious Farm

The Chillilicious Farm

Next, as Stacey was still busy, I went for a stroll around the farm, where I encountered her partner, Tom, a professional landscape gardener. He was kind enough to pause his irrigation duties to give me a quick tour of the premises, and as we walked, he pointed out the stunning conservation pond, talked about their plans for a wild flower meadow and biodiversity trail, and told me a bit about the history of the site:

“There used to be a flax mill here, and when they knocked the buildings down they basically just buried the rubble, so it’s been a huge amount of work to clear the site – but we’re getting there now.”

He showed me a sandstone Tudor Rose which they had discovered while clearing the area, and which they have now embedded into a wall at the entrance to the farm, retaining a link with the past among modern structures such as the new bungalow that is the Galfskiy seniors’ family home, the two polytunnels (one of which will be devoted to “Pick Your Own”), the attractive chalet-style chilli shop and the peek-a-boo demo kitchen where Tricia spends several days each week producing the company’s home-made condiments.

The Chillilicious Farm

While acknowledging Tom’s contributions to the attractive landscaping that has been carried out at the farm, Stacey also gave a lot of credit to her dad, whom she refers to as a “master of all trades”. Although he works in the oil and gas industry, he devotes much of his ‘free’ time to hands-on projects during his regular trips home from the rigs.

Stacey’s vision, she explained, is to create a place “where people can come and sit on the grass and chill – and hopefully buy a few chilli plants at the same time!” While she was serving another couple of eager chilli fans in the shop, I sat outside in the sunshine. Thrushes were singing, the wood pigeons were cooing, a couple of crows were cawing, the stream that feeds the pond was burbling, a slight breeze was ruffling the leaves on the trees, and the sunshine was blazing overhead.

As I sat, appreciating the unique atmosphere and contemplating the power of chilli peppers to attract people to a small farm in Fife, it struck me that what the Galfskiys have achieved is extremely impressive: they have built a dynamic, award-winning, home-based business, and have enhanced it by creating an idyllic and inspiring rural setting for visiting customers to enjoy.

The Chillilicious Farm

The flax-growing days of this delightful part of rural Fife may be over, but the chilli-growing days look set to continue apace, and I have little doubt that Stacey’s dream of Chillilicious being ‘the’ place in Scotland to go and chill while choosing your chilli plants is very close to becoming reality.

Chillilicious will be at the 5th annual Crail Food Festival on Saturday in the Food Market Emporium and at the Harbour Lunch on Sunday – tickets on sale now.

Producer: Chillilicious UK
Website: The Chilllilicious Farm
Facebook: Chillilicious
Twitter: @ChilliliciousUK
Instagram: ChilliliciousUK

Author: Karen Elwis
Blog: Square Sparrow
Facebook: Square Sparrow
Twitter: @squaresparrow