2 days / 15 talks
Awesome and great blog

January 25-27


June 19, 2017
A look back at

Crail Food Festival 2017

Images by Caroline Trotter


Annual Festival

01234567890012345678900123456789001234567890 +




at Crail Community Hall



Food Stalls


Chef Demonstrations


Product tastings

Partially sunny



Incredible Weekend

See you next year!


June 8, 2015 2

As Crail Food Festival-goers know, the East Neuk of Fife punches well above its weight for production of wonderful food. In terms of drink, until recently you had to go further afield. Thankfully, that has all changed with the opening in December last year of the Kingsbarns Distillery. The East Neuk is now well and truly on the food AND drink map with what will be its one and only whisky now in production!

view towards Kingsbarns Distillery

wishing you were at Kingsbarns Distillery


Born and bred East Neuker Douglas Clement, with the financial backing of the Scottish Government and Fife’s Wemyss family, has created this amazing Distillery out of a dream he had while caddying at Kingsbarns Golf Links and living nearby in Cellardyke.  To get to where he is today with the Distillery took a roller-coaster journey of 7 years of effort. You can read his incredible, inspirational “from dream to dram” story on the Kingsbarns Distillery website.

I followed Douglas’s journey with great interest as it panned out, not least because, my East Neuk holiday let, Rose Cottage is just a short walk away, so the Kingsbarns Distillery has become our closest tourist attraction! I was really excited when it opened and in fact our neighbour Ray was the Distillery’s very first visitor! No surprise then that I was delighted to be asked to meet Douglas and blog about visiting the Distillery for the Crail Food Festival 2015.

sign for Kingsbarns Distillery

Entrance to Kingsbarns Distillery

So what can you expect from a visit to the East Neuk’s very own Kingsbarns Distillery?

GET A LITTLE TIPSY IN STYLE You can expect to get a little tipsy in style, sampling some fantastic whisky and gin on the scheduled tours (£8 Kingsbarns Tour or £20 Doocot Tour). In fact, depending on your tolerance levels you may get a lot tipsy in a lot of style if you go on Douglas’s or one of his senior tour guide’s in-depth and deluxe Dream to Dram Tours where you will learn about the whisky-making process in a lot of detail and get to taste 6 whiskies, including some exclusive barrels (£50, by arrangement). On our rather less boozy girlie tour, the honey notes of Wemyss’ blended malt, The Hive, proved particularly popular with Mrs D and I and went down very well with a splash of water.

setting out the tasting at Kingsbarns Distillery

LEARN On your Distillery visit you can expect to learn all about Kingsbarns as well as how the whisky is made. The first 15 minutes of the paid tour is self guided and you’ll explore the exhibition which tells the story of the origins of Fife and Kingsbarns, of how Fife could be said to be the birth place of whisky and of Mary Queen of Scots’ love of golf (and Lord Darnley!). It also brings to life the Distillery’s metamorphosis from a dis-used, derelict, at risk farm steading on the Cambo Estate to the immaculately restored buildings you see today.

Museum at Kingsbarns Distillery

The exhibition ends on a high: the Doocot (Scots for dovecot). Once covered in two meters of pigeon poo it is now scrubbed up and forms the proud home of the very first cask of Kingsbarns Whisky, accompanied by atmospheric lighting and the recorded sounds of pigeons cooing. So now its the Angel’s Share rising to the heavens rather than the ‘doos’ (doves).

Doocot at Kingsbarns Distillery

Of course quality whisky is not produced overnight, so Kingsbarns Single Malt Scotch Whisky will only be ready for drinking in small quantities after 3 years and 1 day in a cask and in larger amounts a number of years later! Douglas is expecting a lighter, delicate fruity Lowland whisky and all the raw materials, distillation equipment and recipe has been designed to produce this. Roll on 2018! In the meantime, there are numerous Fife owned Wemyss family blends and exclusive single malt single cask special editions from other distilleries, to sample and take home.

Wemyss Malts at Kingsbarns Distillery

After exploring the exhibition your guide will then walk you through the whisky-making process. This starts with the raw ingredients and you get to taste the Kingsbarns spring water from a sandstone aquifer 100 metres below the distillery and Fife barley some of which us grown on the Wemyss family’s estate just along the  coast nearby Cameron Bridge Grain Distillery.

Water to make Kingsbarns Whisky

barley to make whisky at Kingsbarns Distillery

The tour then moves upstairs to show you the industrial majesty and heady aroma of the gleaming copper stills in action, distilling the Kingsbarns spirit twice.

the process of making whisky at Kingsbarns DistillerySomething I particularly liked learning was how green the Distillery is – the heat created from the stills within the pot ale and spent lees left over after distillation is used to heat the entire visitor centre via underfloor heating. Thereafter this pot ale and spent lees is taken away by the neighbouring farmer who spreads it on his fields as fertiliser. The farmer also takes away the used malted barley, the draff, after mashing which he feeds to his cattle. Douglas joked that this is why the Kingsbarns coos are always so smiley and happy!

The tour ends with a tasting in the magnificently grand tasting room, called the Wemys Room, after which you can browse around the shop and cafe.

MORE THAN WHISKY A surprise perhaps is that even if you’re not a whisky-lover (though my other half swears that the Wemyss’ 12 year old Spice King is the first whisky he has ever developed a taste for ) you can still expect to find something you like at the Distillery. For a start, the Wemyss family produces a SELECTION OF GINS, including popular elderflower and spiced varieties. If you’re partial to a whisky or indeed a gin cocktail or two you should check out the cocktail recipes ( and ) on their website – mine’s a Spice on Ice! Douglas told me the Distillery cafe plans to serve cocktails in the future, which is something I’ll definitely be walking over from Rose Cottage for.

What’s more, wine-lovers will be delighted to discover some FABULOUS WINES at the Distillery shop and cafe. It’s not made in the East Neuk but in the much more conducive warmer climes of the Wemyss family’s vineyard, Rimauresq in Provence,  near St Tropez.

wine too at the Kingsbarns Distillery

Douglas recommended sampling a chilled glass of the rosé in the cafe and who were Mrs D and I to refuse?!

chilled rose wine at Kingsbarns Distillery

In fact the taste experience at a visit to the Distillery is not even limited to alcoholic beverages. You may also be surprised to know that you can expect FANTASTIC HOT CHOCOLATE in the wonderfully light and sunny Distillery cafe, which you can enjoy while appreciating stunning views across idyllic East Neuk countryside. This is particularly good news if you’re the designated driver in your party (though you can easily come to the Distillery by the 95 public bus too, ask to get off at the Cambo stop)! The charming café itself is well worth a visit for a drink or bite to eat, whether or not you are going on a tour or not.

cafe kingsbarns distillery

GREAT GIFTS Last but not least, on your Distillery visit you also have the opportunity to buy some great gifts in the excellent Distillery shop. The gorgeously shaped Kingsbarns branded Glencairn whisky glasses (£4.95) and whisky minatures sorted me out for lots of presents for my family last Christmas. I also have my eye on a lovely pale blue distillery golf umbrella for Rose Cottage.

glass and miniatures at kingsbarns distillery

A MUST VISIT ATTRACTION If I were to sum up a visit to the Distillery it would be to say that it is infused with Douglas’s spirit: pioneering, hard-working, polished yet friendly and very much grounded in the East Neuk of Fife.

I hope that gives you a flavour of just how great a visit to the Kingsbarns Distillery will be. It has quickly become an essential addition to the itinerary of every visitor to the East Neuk and St Andrews and somewhere for locals to enjoy too. I know I’ll be back.

Douglas is staging various events at the Crail Food Festival 2015 including a whisky toast and Gin and Tonics at the Friday night dinner, a mouth-watering “meet the producers” collaborative whisky and chocolate tasting along with the Highland Chocolatier on the Saturday and Sunday at 2pm and his own “meet the producer” event too on the Sunday at 12.30. Book your tickets now to avoid missing out! He’ll also be serving Darnley’s View Gin and Tonics at Luvians Harbour Bar on the Sunday.

Keep your eye out for Douglas too on the West Sands beach during The Open in St Andrews as he’ll be creating something truly amazing!

Author: Sara Scott Website: Rose Cottage Facebook: Rose Cottage East Neuk on Facebook Twitter: @RoseCottageFife Instagram: RoseCottageEastNeuk

Producer: Kingsbarns Distillery Website: Kingsbarns Distillery Facebook: Kingsbarns Distillery on Facebook Twitter: @KingsbarnsDist Pinterest: Kingsbarns Distillery on Pinterest YouTube: Kingsbarns Distillery on YouTube


May 26, 2015
There are a lots of reasons to visit Crail Food Festival, but chocolate should be high up on your list! I recently visited Sophie Latinis, Belgian-born chocolatier and owner of the Pittenweem Chocolate Company, at her Cocoa Tree Café in the beautiful Pittenweem and discovered a whole new world of chocolate…. Chocolate bars and powders at Pittenweem Chocolate The Pittenweem Chocolate Company sells luxurious, artisan chocolates from Scotland, Belgium and around the world – including chocolates and hot chocolates handmade by Sophie in Pittenweem. It was a pretty chilly day when my husband and I visited, so it was interesting to hear that even in our Scottish climate the shop has to be cooled to keep the chocolates at their best for us chocolate lovers! Pittenweem Chocolate Company The handmade hot chocolates sounded delicious, so we made ourselves comfy in the café and ordered a vanilla white hot chocolate, a hazelnut praline milk hot chocolate and an intense “Caliente” chilli chocolate espresso-sized drink to share. Vanilla White Hot Chocolate Wow, I have never tasted hot chocolate like it! For me, the highlight was the vanilla white hot chocolate. The white chocolate and vanilla combined with the frothy milk was luxurious – so much flavour and much smoother than any other hot chocolate I’ve tasted, without being overpoweringly sweet. It was quite simply the best hot chocolate I’ve EVER tasted! The hazelnut praline milk hot chocolate was clearly a winner too, as my husband drank it before I even had an opportunity to take a photo. If they sound too sweet and gentle then the “Caliente” chilli chocolate may be the drink for you – definitely one for those that like their drinks strong, as the chocolate shot is really intense and the chilli kick warms you up on the way down! We loved it all so much that we bought a bag of hot chocolate flakes to take home – there are so many flavours to choose from, but we decided to buy the pink salt and caramel along with a bag of Sophie’s handmade chocolate shards. Yum! Pittenweem Chocolate Company chocolate powders The Pittenweem Chocolate Company will be in the Community Hall on the festival’s Crail Market Day (Saturday 13th June) and at the Harbour Festival (Sunday 14th June), so remember to pop along and let us know your favourite flavour of hot chocolate via social media! Sarah x To find out Sarah’s “5 reasons to visit Crail Food festival” check out her Postcard from Fife blog: Producer: The Pittenweem Chocolate Company Website: The Pittenweem Chocolate Company Facebook: Cocoa Tree Cafe on Facebook Twitter: @PittenweemChoco Author: Sarah Patrick Website: Postcard from Fife Facebook: Postcard from Fife Twitter: @PostcardFife


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. diving-gannet-st-monans 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