Crail Food Festival: past, present and future
In 2007, Graham Anderson visited the East Coast of Scotland with his partner Edna whilst on holiday from Renfrew. They immediately fell in love with Crail and the following year moved to the gorgeous East Neuk village to follow their dream of running the Honeypot Guesthouse and Tearoom.
Not long after, the idea for Crail Food Festival emerged from Graham’s fond memories of Johnshaven seafood festival and a conversation with other Crail business owners at a Scottish Enterprise event in the local pub. Graham took on the Festival organisation and four years later the Festival is thriving!
His enthusiasm is infectious and, as a newbie to the Festival, I had great fun hearing all about how the festival has developed over a cuppa and a wander around Crail in the sunshine….
What makes this year’s Crail Food Festival special?
“Last year, 4,100 people visited the festival’s two venues over the weekend. This year, we have expanded to six venues, allowing people to explore Crail throughout the weekend whilst celebrating local food.”
Graham’s hand-drawn map of the festival highlights the huge variety of activities and locations….an amazing insight into all the planning going on in his head between shifts in the Honeypot!
If you look closely at the map, you’ll see that the 2014 programme includes some amazing tasting sessions in the Community Hall, chefs demonstrations in the Kirk Hall, a House of Sugar in the Town Hall, lots of family fun in the Legion Hall, a Saturday night party in the Marine Hotel (with amazing views) to celebrate World Gin Day and a Sunday shindig in the Harbour. Wow, what a fab programme!
There is so much to see and do over the weekend, what is your top tip or ‘must see’ at the festival this year?
“All of our tastings and cookery demonstrations are seated and on a first come first served basis, great fun with Chefs participating giving prizes! The House Of Sugar and Producers’ market can be visited at leisure but there is a free tasting table each day at the market, so best to visit all of the halls and stay longest in the one you prefer. Cookery classes for the kids are a must and the natural amphitheatre for lunch at Crail harbour on Sunday is iconic.”
What has been the festival’s biggest success?
”The first festival was made possible by an event in the local community hall that raised £2,900, a great success. The festival has continued to grow over the years and is now recognised with funding from organisations including Fife Council, Event Scotland, SRUC’s Community Food Fund and Homecoming Scotland 2014.”
It was inspiring to hear Graham reflect on the progress and successes of the festival to date – it is amazing what passion, dedication and hard work can accomplish! With next year being Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and Fife having so much amazing local produce, I’m sure the future for the festival will only get more exciting…
I’ll definitely be there this weekend tasting the local fudge, chocolate and mallows in the House of Sugar and enjoying the wine and Ardross Farm Shop Chefs’ Theatre …see you in Crail!
The Honeypot Crail is one of the village venues serving up Crail Food Festival Specials this weekend – pay a visit there or one of the other participating venues, open all weekend to keep you nourished with fabulous local Fife food.