Over 30 of Speyside’s best food and drink producers will come together for Spirit of Speyside: Distilled – a celebration of the region’s gastronomy – next month.
Small producers such as Simpson’s Ice Cream, Berry Good Gin, rum distillers Beach Craft Spirits, Spey Valley Brewery and chocolates from Favour-it Flavours will set up alongside globally renowned brands including Baxters, The Glenlivet, Walkers Shortbread and The Macallan for the two-day event.
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, which is staged in Elgin Town Hall on September 1 and 2, is an off-shoot of the popular annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Now in its second year, Distilled aims to showcase the region as a true foodie paradise offering so much more than whisky.
Festival chairman James Campbell says the fact that Distilled blends together household names with small one-man operations proved to be a real talking point at last year’s inaugural event, and organisers are delighted to introduce new exhibitors this year.
He adds, “It is only when so many food and drink producers are gathered together under one roof that people really begin to realise how many fantastic companies we have operating right here on our own doorstep.
“The feedback we got from visitors last year was that they really enjoyed being able to wander around, sampling cocktails, gin, whisky and beer and getting a taste of the food that has also put Speyside on the map.
“And, of course, it is a great opportunity for them to come face to face with the people who are critical to our food and drink industry – the master distillers, distillery managers and innovators – which is also a hallmark of the main Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.”
As well as producers, visitors to the event will be able to enjoy the products served up by some of Speyside’s best bars and eateries. The Copper Dog – part of the Craigellachie Hotel – will be re-created in the hall’s Supper Room and will have cocktails flowing, live music and food.
The Station Hotel, Rothes, will have a team of mixologists on hand to pour its signature range of whisky and gin cocktails – including the specially created ‘Distilled’ in honour of the event – while Elgin-based bar The Drouthy Cobbler will be giving visitors a taste of what it provides along with some Speyside-themed street food.
And – showing that Speyside is not all about hills and glens – the team at Harbour Lights in the coastal town of Lossiemouth will be showing off local seafood by serving up smoked salmon canapes and other treats.
In addition to the wide number of exhibitors, there is a programme of masterclasses giving visitors the chance to enjoy rare and cask strength drams, learn how to pair food, and discover more about Speyside’s other drinks producers. Tickets for masterclasses must be bought in addition to entry tickets.
Distilled, which is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, will run for four different sessions, one from 1-5pm and one from 6-10pm on each day. Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.
All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. Festival merchandise will also be available to buy.