Sunday, 13 July 2014

Searching Scotland's Borders For Secret Ingredients

Mark Greenaway is on a mission – to discover the secret ingredients that Scottish cooks just simply have to have in the pantry. He has teamed up with foodie flagship event of the autumn, Eat Drink Discover Scotland, and this week they are searching the Scottish borders for more store cupboard secrets!

With its rolling hills, farmland and rugged coast the Scottish Borders is an impressive part of Scotland. From the Southern Uplands to the beautiful Berwickshire hills and valleys, the region is home to farmers and chefs committed to producing food of outstanding quality. Numerous farmers markets dotted around the region, such as in Kelso and Hawick, provide the Borders’ budding chefs with an ample selection of fresh, local ingredients from which they can create a foodie’s feast.

The public is being invited to reveal its favourite Scottish ‘secret ingredients’ by detailing what they are and where they’re purchased. The criteria range from herbs to condiments, alcohol to meats and even vegetables, providing they are either grown or produced in Scotland. Applicants are being encouraged to be as unpredictable, creative and unusual as possible. Mark and the Eat Drink Discover team will draw up a shortlist of the best entrants who will be invited to join him in a ‘cook off’ at the event, where the winner will be chosen. The producer or retailer who supplied the winner with their ‘secret ingredient’ will be given a free exhibition stand at next year’s event.

The Eat Drink Discover team spoke to award winning organic farm, Peelham Farm, in Foulden Berwickshire. Peelham is an organic mixed farm with an on-farm organic butcher. Peelham produces organic, free-range pork from its Tamworth and Tamworth cross pigs, grass-fed lamb, mutton, beef and ruby veal. Products include organic charcuterie, gluten-free gourmet sausages, cooked sliced ham and salted mutton, cold-cutting pies and whole lot more. They have also just won Pig Producer of the Year 2014, a strong indication of the passion and hard work they put into rearing their animals. With all that incredible, tasty meat, surely there is a secret ingredient in there?

Denise Walton from Peelham Farm said: We aspire to the highest standard of ‘Scottish Terroir’ through our methods of organic farming and craft, artisan food production. We are a very proud part of the burgeoning artisan Scottish Food Culture, the growth of which is as much a testament to the dedication of producers as to the imaginative engagement of our customers. The best regional produce is regionally distinctive. It is ‘of-the-place’, using the best local raw materials and local artisan skills to make distinctive produce for the market. The Eat Drink Discover Scotland campaign is raising the profile on Regional Food which can only help to stimulate the market and accessibility of local food. This wonderful initiative is greatly welcomed."

Eat Drink Discover Scotland, which is taking place at the Royal Highland Centre between 12th and 14th September, will bring to life the rich diversity of Scotland’s brimming larder by featuring exhibitors from the length and breadth of the country. One for the foodies, it will be offering something for every palate, plate and price range and, with a regional focus, it will be providing opportunities for smaller rural food producers to share centre stage with more established brands. The weekend will also include demonstrations and master classes such as chocolate workshops, cocktail making, game butchery and craft bakery.

Mark Greenaway said: "It’s all too easy to keep using the same ingredients for the same dishes, so this competition is all about discovering new ingredients and new ways of using them. I’ll be sharing my favourite products from the length and breadth of Scotland on my website’s blog, suggesting ways to make the most of them. But I want others to follow suit and share their favourites with me. This is what food and cooking should be about and, with Scotland’s truly amazing larder, I’m sure I’ll find it extremely difficult to choose a winner."

To read Scottish Borders blog please visit

For more information on the competition please visit





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