ONE of Shetland’s finest natural products – the mussel – got a firm seal of approval at last weekend’s food festival at the Clickimin Leisure Centre.
Two West Side mussel farming companies, Demlane and North Atlantic Shellfish, participated at the producers’ market. They received strong endorsements from the public and the visiting chefs, Jean Christophe Novelli and George McIvor, who were keen to use Shetland mussels in their cookery demonstrations, describing the quality as the “best they had ever seen”.
Demlane representative Francis Kater said: “The festival proved to be a very good experience for us and provided an ideal platform for us to meet directly with customers and acquire potential new sales leads. A lot of people had never tried smoked mussels before and we were impressed with the positive feedback from the tastings.
“Earlier on we had sent Jean Christophe Novelli a sample of our fresh mussels and he described the quality as ‘outstanding’.”
Family-owned North Atlantic Shellfish relished the opportunity that the festival presented to producers in terms of being able to share their story with the public.
Managing director Michael Tait said: “This was the first time that we have showcased our mussels and we were really pleased with the enthusiastic response we received.
“There are so many interesting things going on in Shetland right now in terms of food production and we enjoyed interacting with the public and explaining first hand just how the mussel farming process works.”
North Atlantic Shellfish soon rounded up a steady stream of interested visitors as they started cooking live mussels at their stand, experimenting with new recipes such as “Simmer Dim steamed mussels”.
Mr Tait said: “The response we had to the cooking samples was really encouraging. It was enjoyable to have the chance to meet with people from Shetland and elsewhere as well as raise the profile of one of Shetland’s finest products. It was a really fun event and we look forward to taking part again next year.”