Looking for the best of Scotland’s seasonal food & drink? Start here. Fill up on delicious new flavours and fresh treats, including the best of autumn’s harvest.
Words Catherine Coyle
Swapping salad and seafood for hearty root veg and comforting pies is always a clear sign that summer is at an end. As the temperature dips, all we want are rich stews and spiced squash soups – dishes that envelop us in a warm hug.
Harvest time brings new ingredients and, at Kilduff farm in East Lothian, pumpkin season is in full flow. Russell and Lucy Calder’s annual Pumpkin Festival takes place from 16 to 31 October and includes culinary varieties as well as those crying out to be carved. The names alone – Crown Prince, Knucklehead, Racer, Orange Smoothie and Polar Bear – are irresistible. See you down on the farm.
Messing about with a SodaStream and some homegrown herbs set Claire Rennie down a new path, and she has never looked back. Not convinced by the naturally made soft drinks she saw on the shelves, she decided to have a go at making her own; her Hint O’ Mint lemonade was a hit and she began experimenting with more flavours, launching Summerhouse Drinks from her Aberdeenshire base in 2014. “A year later, we launched Walter Gregor’s Original Tonic Water to pair with the increasing number of Scottish craft gins on the market,” she recalls. “Since then, we’ve been exploring and experimenting with a range of spirits and our mixers.”
There are five tonics to choose from: original, apple & cinnamon, mint & cucumber, Scottish raspberry, and spiced; a new subscription service allows you to curate your own box, trying limited-edition and seasonal options, too.
It’s a fitting tribute that the brand is named after the 19th-century minister, academic and plantsman who could be found tending the walled garden at Peathill, a stone’s throw from today’s Walter Gregor’s factory.
Stefano Pieraccini has added a new Scots-Italian restaurant to his stable of eateries. Rico’s, named after his grandfather, is in Edinburgh’s North Castle Street, in the space formerly occupied by Martin Wishart’s The Honours. The focus is on authentic Italian cooking using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Hand-dived Mull scallop & guanciale and carpaccio of Tweed Valley beef fillet feature on the diverse menu.
Hungry for more? Check out more Scottish eating