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Eunice Henderson and Jane Moncrieff of Shetland Larder at the Clickimin last weekend. Photo: Elizabeth Atia

LAST weekend saw the annual Shetland Food Fair occur in the main hall at the Clickimin Leisure Centre in Lerwick, writes food blogger Elizabeth Atia.

Sandwick school janitor Gus Dow demonstrates his bread-making expertise. Photo: Elizabeth Atia

Sponsored by Northlink Ferries, Shetland Transport and HIE, Shetland’s finest food and drink producers had stalls displaying their products with tasting samples on offer, while Promote Shetland had a cookery theatre set up at the front.

I spent the entire weekend at the food fair, sampling delights such as the new cream horn from Yell-based Da Island Bakery (so delicious!), the new hot chocolate drink from the Shetland Fudge Company (the one with the hint of whisky is really rather lovely!), a new bladder wrack infused Shetland Reel Gin from the Shetland Distillery Company (you can taste the sea!) and the new Kishie carrot and coriander pickle from Shetlandeli (this would be great alongside an Indian meal with poppadoms!).

The highlights of the fair, for me, were the cookery demonstrations using local produce from the food fair stalls. Demonstrators ranged from celebrity chef Tony Singh who has a passion for Scottish produce, to local chefs like Glynn Wright (who will be opening a steak house in Lerwick very soon), Ciaran Lack from the Scalloway Hotel (who made pan-fried hake on fish stew, respectively), and Heather Moncrieff, the only certified raw food chef in Scotland trained at the Living Light Culinary Institute in California. She treated us to some raw spiralized courgetti ‘pasta’ with raw pesto.

Raw food chef Heather Moncrieff's courgetti. Photo: Elizabeth Atia

Ordinary non-chef folk with a passion for food were also demonstrating, such as Gus Dow, janitor at the Sandwick school, who showed a keen audience some bread-making techniques (did anyone else clock his Breaking Bad apron? Respect the chemistry!) and Jane Evans of Gateside Pork who made her mother’s pork meatballs in tomato sauce recipe – proper wholesome comfort food made with her own reared Iron Age pork breed.

Eunice Henderson and Jane Moncrieff held the stage together for an hour, celebrating the tenth anniversary of their BBC Radio Shetland program Shetland’s Larder. Their banter was priceless and their Turkish filo tart was mouth-watering.

You can find all of their recipes on the shetland.org website. I now have notebook pages filled with cooking tips I gleaned from all the demonstrations.

The event was very well attended, which goes to show you just how much Shetlanders appreciate good quality, local food. 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink here in Scotland, and I believe that the Shetland Food Fair really highlighted the best that Shetland has to offer.

Chef Glynn Wright, who is about to open a steakhouse in Lerwick, fanning the flames. Photo: Elizabeth Atia

With thanks to all the visitors who attended the event and to the local producers who worked so hard to make the event so special: Briggs’ Lamb (the experimental lamb pie he was sampling was delicious!), Gateside Pork, Da Kitchen Bakery, Shetland Dairy (the big cow on display was super!), Artisan Cheese (their boorik soft cheese with seaweed is amazing!), Katja’s Home Baking (did you try her Black Forest Gateaux?), the Shetland Fudge Company, Skibhoul Bakery (love those oceanic oatcakes!), Shetlandeli, Emma Louise Coffee & Cupcakes (those cupcakes are so very nice!), Sandwick Pork (they make their own bacon!), Liz’s Homebakes (get your Christmas cake here!), Scoop Wholefoods (a one stop shop for everything locally produced – Turriefield, The Quernstone and Uradale Lamb were at this stall), Shetland Reel Gin, Valhalla Brewery (the beremeal ale is my favourite), Lerwick Brewery (who launched a fourth beer, Lerwick IPA, this weekend), Vidlin Pies (they make a reestit mutton pie!), Frankie’s Fish & Chips (with a new Frankie’s Finest dry fish batter mix now available in store!) and the Lodberrie Deli who catered very well throughout the whole weekend, supplying a steady stream of coffee and light lunch options to visitors.

An extra special thanks to the event organizers led by Jill Franklin at Shetlandeli and Rhanna Turberville from the Lerwick Brewery and the team at Promote Shetland led by Misa Hay. Keep up the great work – I was in foodie heaven all weekend!

Elizabeth Atia