Regional food brand Savour the Flavours is encouraging people in Dumfries & Galloway to support local businesses during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight.  The foodie celebration, which runs till Sunday 20th September, encourages businesses and local people across Scotland to source, buy, eat and promote Scottish food and drink.

Celebrating local heroes is a strong theme for the Fortnight this year and Liz Ramsay of Savour the Flavours says that theme is especially appropriate for 2020. She commented:

“Local food and drink businesses went above and beyond for our communities during lockdown. With the summer holiday season and the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme both now over, many businesses will be looking ahead with a degree of concern.  In the weeks and months ahead we have an opportunity as a region to demonstrate unprecedented support for our local businesses, by buying and enjoying the outstanding food and drink that’s created in this region. Treating ourselves or our loved ones to amazing local produce will help add delicious flavour to the autumn months, while also helping to protect local jobs.”

Local businesses across the region are taking part in Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight by creating special menus, collaborating with others, launching new events and promoting the local produce of Dumfries & Galloway.

Paul O’Keeffe of Thomas Tosh in Thornhill is showcasing local food heroes with a special ‘Afternoon Cheese’ – a platter featuring a spread of local cheeses with chutney from Galloway Lodge Preserves. He commented:

“We are tripping over great cheese producers here in Dumfries and Galloway, so it was an open goal to create an ‘Afternoon Cheese’ platter for our customers during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight. Right now the platter features mature cheddar from Loch Arthur, smoked cheese from Damn Fine Cheese and Cairnsmore Goat’s Cheese from Galloway Farmhouse Cheese. We are planning to add Barony Smoked Cheese and a selection from The Ethical Diary to the menu too.  All these suppliers are local heroes who kept working through lockdown and so have helped make our job of reopening that little bit easier. Hats off to them all.”

Russell Pearce from Brodies in Moffat recently launched a take-home ‘Afternoon Tea in a Box’ featuring local produce, and for his sit-in menu is revisiting a highly successful partnership with local lamb and hogget producer Annanwater, he said:

“We have added a mini Hogget & Potato Pie featuring beautifully flavoured Annanwater hogget to a Tasting Plate of Lamb, and demand has been really good. The last time Brodies put Annanwater’s hogget on the menu demand outstripped supply, so we are delighted to be collaborating with Sarah and Steve again!”

Sarah Burchell of Annanwater is a regular at farmers’ markets across the region, several of which take place during the Fortnight.  She commented:

“Moffat Farmers Market this Sunday will be the third since the end of lockdown and it offers an opportunity for the public to meet and buy from numerous Dumfries & Galloway food and drink heroes in a safe and comfortable space outside Moffat Town Hall.

“As well as the producers themselves, the volunteers who help our region’s markets run smoothly and safely are real heroes too, giving generously of their time to set up stalls and steward the event. The community based farmers’ markets that are so popular right across Dumfries & Galloway can only happen because of the hard work and dedication by both local producers and community volunteers.”

Other farmers’ markets taking place in September include Castle Douglas Producers’ Market which returns for the first time since lockdown on Sunday 20th September, and Kirkcudbright Farmers’ Market which takes place on the 27th. Dumfries Market Festival organised by The Guild will include a wealth of local food and drink traders, as well as local crafts, when it returns to Dumfries town centre on Saturday 12th September.  Glenkens Food Month is running throughout September with a vibrant programme of community events, and tickets for Kirkcudbright Food Festival, which takes place next month, have gone on sale.

Food tourism is something Dumfries & Galloway naturally excels at, and several businesses are launching or developing new food tourism experiences.  Cream o’ Galloway has recently launched a socially distanced ice cream making workshop aimed at adults, which includes a farm tour and ice cream tasting. All About Ice Cream will run on Wednesday afternoons during September and must be booked in advance. Their sister business The Ethical Dairy is running full-day Cheese Making Workshops on Thursdays in September and October.

Award winning tour guides Solway Tours have also identified food tourism as a growth market and have begun developing historical food tour packages for the 2021 tourist season, with plans to collaborate with local food businesses, such as Station House Cookery School. They are also adding a food and drink theme for their September #LoveDandG Twitter chat hour to celebrate the food, drink and food tourism experiences of Dumfries & Galloway. The #LoveDandG Twitter hour will take place on Thursday 24th September at 9pm.

Lorna Young of Savour the Flavours, who also sits on Scotland’s Food Tourism Recovery Group, commented:

“Food tourism is a big economic opportunity for Scotland, and particularly so for regions like Dumfries & Galloway which have a rich natural larder and many passionate makers and producers.  The key to creating really exciting and authentic food tourism products and services is focussing on the stories, connections and people behind the products.

“We are keen to encourage everyone involved in the food and drink industry to think about how they can add value to their offering by a focus on emphasising local as part of our region’s longer term economic recovery. Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is the ideal time to test out new food tourism products and services, and it’s great to see so many local businesses embracing the opportunity to showcase local food heroes and local produce.”