Two Speyside beef farms proved the star attractions of a brand new “Food and Whisky” tour launched this week as part of the Speyside Whisky Festival.
The debut tours, aimed at highlighting the fantastic food produced in Speyside alongside its world-renowned malt whiskies, included a visit to Corskie Farm near Garmouth and Burnside of Dipple farm near Fochabers.
Corskie is the central hub of a 2897 acres farming business run by Jimmy Green and his son, Iain. Producing top quality Scotch Beef is the priority for the Green family, who run 440 cows of which 120 are pedigree Simmentals. Corskie is set to host “Scotland’s Beef Event 2011” at the start of next month run by the National Beef Association.
Iain Green described the new food and whisky tour initiative as a “tremendous opportunity to link consumers more closely to the fabulous food produced in the area.”
Burnside of Dipple is run by father and son, David and Ian Brown, who farm on the banks of the River Spey and is also renowned for the quality of its beef which ends up on the tables of some of Europe’s finest restaurants.
Visitors to the area from as far afield as the USA, Romania, Denmark and Germany gave their seal of approval to the debut tours which also included an opportunity to sample Scotch Beef including a meal at Knockomie Hotal, Forres run by the Ellis family.
Gavin and Penny Ellis served the tour members a delicious featherblade of beef, selecting the more unusual cut to showcase the versatility of their delicious beef, sourced from the Forres-based, family-run McBeth’s.
And tour attendees also dined at the Malt Barn Restaurant at Glenfiddich with chef Addi Dagart serving up an outstanding main course of Scotch Beef “cooked three ways”.
Jim Royan, Chairman of the Speyside Whisky Festival, said he was delighted with the initial feedback from those who attended the new tours.
“The idea behind the tours was to highlight the dedication to excellence of the food and drink producers in the Speyside area. This part of the world is at the heart of the world’s whisky industry with a climate which is ideally suited to the production of unrivalled beef, lamb and game. We also have several strong food-producing families in the area including the Walkers, famous for their shortbread, and an opportunity to meet with members of these families was a real attraction of the tour,” he added.
Mr Royan, whose grandfather founded Royans of Elgin in 1850, also hosted visitors on the new tour to his premises in Elgin, one of Scotland’s oldest butchers businesses.
Among the distilleries visited over two days of tours were Glenfiddich Distillery and Benromach Distillery, the area’s smallest working distillery, also family run and owned by Gordon & MacPhail.
The tours also included a non-alcoholic drink element with a visit to the 800-year-old Pluscarden Abbey, where attendees were given an insight into the Benedictine Monks' home-made apple juice.
Caption: Scotch Beef producer, Iain Green, pictured with James Macpherson, company secretary of Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Ltd, and award-winning Simmental bull, Corskie Valiant, raising a dram of The Macallan to the success of the new “Food and Whisky” tours. The Macallan is a sponsor of the Festival and will host the opening dinner in 2012.