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Festival celebrating North East food and drink returns this autumn

Jimmy Buchan from Amity Fish Company

THE popular festival celebrating North East Scotland’s sustainable food and drink at its source is back this autumn with a bang.

The Provenance Festival has the region’s producers throwing open their doors and encouraging consumers to discover more about what they do and where they do it through engaging, hands-on and memorable visitor experiences.

The 10-day festival offers an opportunity to see behind the scenes, meet passionate producers and hear the stories of sustainability and provenance behind their food and drink. 

Provenance Festival 2022 runs from 30 September to 9 October with events taking place across the region, including both well-loved and brand new experiences.

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The experiences

Producers taking part range from fresh game specialists Balmoral Game, “baconeers” Piggery-Smokery and Mearns-based berry grower Castleton Farm through to distillers and brewers, including House of Botanicals and Six Degrees North.

Businesses that will launch new visitor experiences exclusively for Provenance Festival 2022 include Summerhouse Drinks, Westerton Farmers and Glen Tanar Estate.

One new event created especially for the festival by Saplinbrae Hotel features owners Noel and Jo Gall – who also farm nearby – joining forces with Jimmy Buchan from Amity Fish Company to tell the stories behind the region’s farming and fishing heritage.

The Mintlaw farming hoteliers often use their own beef and lamb on the menu and at the exclusive Friday evening event, they are demonstrating batch-cooking with cheaper cuts of beef and lamb. After some hands-on langoustine shelling with Jimmy, visitors then enjoy supper with paired drinks. 

Jimmy said: “The Provenance Festival gives the public a great opportunity to go behind the scenes to the very source of the world class food and drink that is produced across North East Scotland.”

“I think the festival’s aim to showcase the region’s unrivalled produce through the people that make it happen is a fantastic idea. One of the reasons we got involved is because provenance and sustainability are key to Amity Fish.” 

“We are working on improving on our sustainability footprint and we’re keen to explain why this is so important.

“It’s also a fantastic excuse for a fine dinner at Saplinbrae.”

Sharing stories

This autumn’s festival follows a successful pilot held last year.

The City of Aberdeen Distillery is taking part for the second year. Head distiller Alan Milne said: “The festival was a really fun event last year. We welcomed around 140 visitors to our gin distilling experience who between them created 56 new and unique Scottish gins.

“We’re looking forward to sharing stories of Aberdeen’s rich distilling heritage this year and to demonstrate how gin is made right here in the city.”

Provenance Festival 2022 will offer something for all tastes and appetites. Some of the other experiences confirmed for this year are:

  • a Wellies, Waves and Walter farm trailer tour through the fields down to the seashore at Fraserburgh with a tasting session of Walter Gregor’s tonic waters and Summerhouse drinks
  • sharing a cuppa – and a piece of shortbread – with Dean’s of Huntly’s very own Bill Dean
  • an exclusive evening at Still Spirit in Udny with global malts ambassador Matthew Cordiner for a journey through Craigellachie single malt whiskies
  • an entertaining overview of the bacon-making process by Piggery-Smokery from their Alford café, the Soo’s Lug
  • the opportunity to pick your own pumpkin at the Westerton Farmers’ patch near Laurencekirk
  • talking and tasting with the House of Botanicals in Aberdeen, exploring their products including a green walnut liqueur, peach aperitif wine and a barrel-rested coffee spirit

Food tourism

Created and led by Opportunity North East (ONE), Provenance Festival was piloted in 2021 and is part of action and investment to develop Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a premium food tourism destination. 

The focus is on visitor experiences connecting consumers with producers of the region’s authentic food and drink at its source. 

Provenance Festival 2022 is supported by Aberdeenshire Council and VisitAberdeenshire.

Peter Cook, ONE Director of Food Drink & Agriculture, said: “North East Scotland produces some of the country’s finest food and drink products with great stories and heritage behind them.” 

“From established family businesses and global brands to exciting new start-ups, the sector is diverse, innovative and is making the most of great natural ingredients and sustainable production methods.”

“The Provenance Festival brings our outstanding producers and curious consumers together to share unique experiences, building momentum around the region’s ambition to be a leading destination for food tourism.”

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