EVENT Celebrating Scotland’s Food & Drink fortnight with Hardiesmill and Kyloe

It’s ‘Scotland’s Food and Drink Fortnight’, 1-16 September, and I headed along to Kyloe Restaurant and Grill to celebrate some of the best produce we have in Scotland.

The highlight of the evening was hearing from Alison and Robin Tuke (above) owners of Hardiesmill Farm, located by Gordon in the Scottish Borders and who are passionate about their ‘farm to fork’ philosophy. Hardiesmill has become renowned for its ethical approach to beef production and is synonymous with the best beef in Scotland.

Hardiesmill have taken the decision to open their own state-of-the-art micro-abattoir to ensure they can maintain the cattle’s welfare through every stage of the farming process. Each element of the animal’s life is carefully cultivated from the breeding, through to the feeding and the handling. This means that, uniquely, Hardiesmill cattle will now never have to leave the farm, growing slowly on a natural diet of grass, hay and silage.

These practices result in a truly unique final product, with the deepest flavour, as the cattle have the best possible life with little to no stress. Hardiesmill believe this is why their beef holds its current global top five status, as so much care and attention goes into each stage of the process.

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill in Edinburgh have developed a special partnership with Hardiesmill to ensure diners have the ultimate Scotch beef experience. Kyloe is the only restaurant in Scotland’s capital where steak enthusiasts can sample this exquisite beef. Over the last six years, Kyloe and Hardiesmill have shared a vision to serve diners with the best and most ethical Scottish beef possible.

Hardiesmill micro-abattoir has been four and a half, very long years in the making and it seemed only right to celebrate the opening with Kyloe during ‘Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight’. Executive Chef of Kyloe and The Rutland Hotel, John Rutter was proud to be involved and thought that this was a great event to celebrate ‘Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight’ and recognise a true food pioneer who champions provenance and food quality.

In celebration of the best of Scottish food and drink, we were taken on a wee Scottish foodie adventure and also sampled some produce from other Scottish suppliers that Kyloe feature on their menus. When selecting suppliers, Kyloe not only look for a fantastic product but for suppliers who take provenance seriously and this is reflected in the dishes.

We started off with some canapes and Prosecco. Canapes were Steak Tartare on a crostini, Cucumber and Cous Cous  wraps, Tuna and Cucumber sushi rolls and Smoked Salmon crostini’s. The steak tartare was by far the tastiest – I had a several, hehe.

The first sharing platters to come to the table were of local smoked fish and charcuterie.

The charcuterie is from a family business located in Leith, Edinburgh called East Coast Cured and I can truly 100% say that their charcuterie is some of the finest I’ve tasted. They use every part of the pig – belly, back, shoulder, loin and cheek to make their delicious range of slow cured meats from panetta, coppa, lomo and lonzino but they also cure, smoke and mature cuts and salami of beef, venison and poultry too.

The other side of the platter features smoked fish from East Lothian, Belhaven Smokehouse. Established just outside Dunbar 38 years ago, they specialise in fresh, smoked and marinated trout and salmon products. With an established reputation for quality, taste, consistency and variety of product, Belhaven Smokehouse produces a range of premier smoked and fresh

We sampled smoked salmon, hot smoked salmon and mackerel pate. All delicious and so fresh.

The wine is not Scottish (we don’t grow wine in Scotland) but Kyloe work closely with Scottish suppliers to ensure that the wines truly enhance the flavours of their dishes.

With this sharing platter the Rag & Bone Riesling from Eden Valley, Australia, was a perfect match. This was like drinking fresh lime on the rocks! It was packed full of zesty punch; a really bright and crisp wine that cut through the oiliness from the fish and the charcuterie. It transformed the salami and worked so well with the salmon. Delicious!

After more discussions around food and drink, our main course was soon on the table. This was the main event and we couldn’t wait to get tucked in.

We tried a selection of Hardiesmill Aberdeen Angus Beef – Sirloin, Fillet and Bavette. Unbelieveable! The meat was so tender but still retained a slight bite or chew so that you could really taste the beef. We were informed that the taste would linger for around 10 minutes in your mouth after an initial taste, and they were correct. A meat lovers idea of paradise!

Chunky chips, green beans, cheesy spinach and a selection of sauce accompanied the main course, but they paled in comparison the the meat.

Another wonderful wine was paired with the main course and this time it was Spanish wine. Dominio de Cair Crianza, Ribera del Duero. This is a big, juicy number and you will pick up wood, dark cherry fruit, dark chocolate with sweet ripe tannins. It’s well balanced with a long persistent finish.

As it has a long finish it compliments the beef and its’ bold enough to stand up to the big beefy flavours that linger well after you’ve finished eating.

Lastly it was a delightful Scottish cheeseboard with cheese from local supplier IJ Mellis.

You can’t go wrong with cheese, oatcakes, walnuts and chutney and when paired with the dessert wine, Banyuls from Languedoc-Roussilon in South France, it becomes that perfect way to round off a very wonderful evening.

The Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight provides the perfect opportunity for everyone to get involved in celebrating and enjoying fantastic Scottish produce, whether they’re a chef, producer, retailer, caterer, hotelier, school, organisation or food enthusiast.

The campaign for this year is themed around the future of Scotland’s food and drink industry and they want to stimulate discussion and debate and create excitement about the industry to help spread the message that Scotland’s food and drink sector really is the place to be.

Essentially, they want to encourage more people than ever to buy, eat and promote Scottish food and drink. With suppliers like Hardiesmill paving the way in ethical beef farming and Kyloe Restaurant and Grill showcasing the best of Scottish food all year round, surely others can follow and make Scotland the great food nation is deserves to be.

Congratulations to Hardiesmill who are at the forefront of beef farming and have created a philosophy to benefit the animal’s ENTIRE life. The welfare of their animals is of the utmost importance and that is proven in the taste and quality of their products.

Many thanks to Scotland Food and Drink, Hardiesmill and Kyloe Restaurant and Grill for inviting me along to celebrate the best of Scotland.

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