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Community / Local food, drink and crafts to take pride of place at Royal Highland Show

Photo: Shetland Food and Drink

A VARIETY of Shetland crafters, and food and drink vendors, are headed south to showcase their merchandise for the first time at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh next week.

The show, which happens annually and is celebrating its 200th year, takes place in Ingliston, Edinburgh from 23 to 26 June.

Exhibitors can present a variety of high-quality food, and crafts available around the Scottish Highlands.

This year is the first time Shetlanders have been invited to attend.

The President’s Initiative rotates through Scottish regions every year, and this year has a focus on Highlands and Islands. This gives Shetlanders a unique opportunity to showcase their outstanding food to the around 200,000 visitors expected to attend the event across the four days.

Shetland Food and Drink chair Marian Armitage said: “It’s an excellent opportunity to push the Shetland provenance.

“There are four members exhibiting in the food hall, and a terrific range of arts and crafts exhibitors. There’s a food trailer selling Island Fish, the Scalloway Meat Company will be selling meat, and spit roasting lamb.”

The team are also taking down some Vikings to give people a taste of the Shetland Up Helly Aa experience.

Armitage added: “There are six guizers who have been in jarl squads, they will be in full regalia handing out Shetland food tasters like reestit mutton, sassermaet, and salmon.”

This also includes some 4,000 miniature oatcakes – half from Skibhoul in Unst and half from Waas Bakery – ordered in for canapes using Shetland Farm Dairies butter and locally-farmed smoked salmon.

The Taste of Shetland trailer is going down to the show, alongside local food and drink vendors like Island Larder, Nort Finest, Shetland Reel and Shetland Deli.

In all 18 Shetland food and drink businesses will be represented in some way, with a focus on seafood for the first two days and meat for the final two days.

Shetland Livestock will carry out a deboning demonstration for people to see how to debone a lamb without cutting it up into joints.

Attendees have also been invited to the exclusive president’s lunch, hosted by the president of the Royal Highland Show.

Shetland lamb will be served up to around 200 attendees made up of exhibitors and VIPs, while local gin will also be on offer.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise provided initial funding to allow a group of members to attend the event, and further funding came from Shetland Island’s Council, Shetland Food & Drink, and Salmon Scotland who have also donated salmon.

Nielanell, a local contemporary knitwear brand, is also heading down to the Royal Highland Show for the first time.

Nielanell studio manager Katie Leask said: “It’s a great opportunity for us to go down and experience the show, and work with these Shetland makers.

“We are taking down a full range of Nielanell colours. We’re trying to recreate our studio, so we’re taking down capes, wraps, scarves of all shapes and sizes for people to try on.”

The company is sharing a stall with Glansin Glass, the Silly Sheep Fibre Company and Mella Soap.

Yala Jewellery Shetland will also be in attendance, taking down some of its handmade jewellery.

The Royal Highland Show is run by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.