Celebrating the best of Scottish fare
Dozens of events will be held across the country to celebrate Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, which kicks off today in Dundee. The event - the highlight of the Year of Food and Drink - will showcase the best of Scotland's larder.
The Fortnight promotes the wealth of produce available in Scotland, offering people the opportunity to learn more about Scottish products, to discover new tastes and meet producers.
Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead launched the food fortnight at the Dundee Flower and Food Festival, as well as unveiling the latest edition of The Larder, which received Scottish Government funding.
"This is Scotland's Year of Food and Drink, with a focus on celebrating and enhancing our reputation as a land of food and drink.
"In its first ever worldwide study, the International Culinary Tourism Association recently declared Scotland as one of the most 'unique, memorable and interesting places' for food and drink on the planet.
"We are seeing some impressive sales figures, in spite of the recent economic downturn. Retail sales of Scottish brands across Scotland, England and Wales have increased by a fantastic 30 per cent between May 2007 and May 2010, and last year saw a record increase in Scottish food and drink exports with international sales reaching an all-time high of over £4 billion.
"I am pleased to launch the latest edition of The Larder, which advises where to go to discover, buy and enjoy local, healthy and sustainable produce.
"The Larder also has a range of intriguing food stories told from across the country, while over a dozen local chefs offer inspiring selections of their favourite local food.
"Over the next two weeks there are more than 130 events taking place across the country. I was impressed to hear that there is also worldwide interest, with events as far afield as France and New Zealand.
"Individuals are being encouraged to demonstrate their support too, with Scotland Food and Drink launching an Eat Scottish pledge for the fortnight with a dedicated facebook page which has already become a forum for sharing recipes and tips, favourite dishes and the best places to eat or buy produce."
"Food and Drink Fortnight provides us with a great opportunity to celebrate all our successes as a land of food and drink."
Paul Mclaughlin, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink said:
"Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight continues to grow from strength to strength and this year we have been lucky to have support from some of Scotland's most highly respected chefs and brands. The Fortnight is an important platform to promote the wonderful variety of food and drink produced in this country."