24th April 2018
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WATCH: Shetland produce on show and cooking demos held during food fair

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Shetland’s food fair has been heralded a success, with foody-fans flooding into the Clickimin Centre to see all the best in food and drink.

There have been cooking demonstrations, displays and plenty more to tempt the whole host of hungry visitors.

Visiting master chefs, George McIvor and Bill Bryce, showed the very best of local produce, while a Shetland’s Larder demonstration saw Eunice Henderson and Jane Moncrieff cooked up quick spicy crab recipe – in front of a highly entertained audience, as well.

It may seem only right, given the significance the industry has in the isles, but fish played a key part in the culinary attractions.

Information “pods” under the revitalised So Much To Sea slogan provided plenty of information for visitors. Fishing is reckoned to be worth £300 million a year to the islands and is said to surpass the value of the oil, gas, agriculture, tourism, and creative industries combined.

Ruth Henderson said the project was being brought back after the success of the previous campaign launched in 2014.

“It promotes the importance of the seafood sector to the local economy.”

There was plenty of fish available to buy, as well.

“It’s important that there’s fish available at the food fair in Shetland. It’s an opportunity to promote the wide range of seafood in Shetland.

But it’s not just run-of-the-mill haddock fillets which were proving popular.

Plenty of customers have been opting for some rarer delicacies, too, such as mussels, crab, hake, ling, plaice and – believe it or not – octopus.

There has been plenty of drink available to wash down the tempting food produce, as well.

Sonny Priest is on hand with his range of Valhalla Brewery products – not least his new American-style IPA. Its “citrusy hops” are believed to be the key to taking the Unst-based business in a different direction from before.

“We launched the IPA last night and today it’s been going very well,” he said.

Its release comes as brewers continue to deal with a growing hops shortage which has been troubling the industry for some time.

“At the moment we’ve managed to take in different types of hops that can do pretty much the same thing,” he said.

Shetland Farm Dairies is also on show, with its range of butter milk now back on the shelves following a change in packaging.

The dairy has never been that far from the news with concerns about cheap imported milk being stacked in the supermarkets.

But Lynette Nicolson, from Noss Farm at Twatt, was serving behind the counter and was jubilant about the event.

“We’ve been met by lots of enthusiastic folk and had lots of praise for all the produce we’ve had on show,” she said.

There was more than a hint of yesteryear, thanks to the Heritage Kitchen, with no less than museum curator, Dr Ian Tait, at the helm.

He said it was a celebration of food’s heritage in the isles.

“We’re trying to look at the genesis of cooking and eating in Shetland as it used to be.”

He added very few people in today’s world had a real understanding of how food ended up on the plate.

Speaking as a demonstration of traditional butter-making exercise was due to get underway, he said he hoped people would become more interested in how food was once made.

“The knowledge is still lingering on in there. Yes, it’s dying out, but some folk will be maybe more intrigued by it.”

Organising committee chairwoman, Jill Franklin, said the event had exceeded expectations.

“It broke our box office records and exceeded all our expectations,” she said.

“It was quite an overwhelming success.”

You can see a video of Eunice Henderson and Jane Moncrieff cooking up a storm, here.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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