Time for your piece: Dundee Flower and Food Festival 2012

 It’s time for your piece again! This past weekend was the Dundee Flower and Food Festival. It’s an annual event in Dundee that occurs the first weekend of September, and this is my third time going. It features many local food producers, vendors, food-related companies, and  food competitions as well as plant displays, societies and competitions. It’s an ideal festival for my husband and I because he’s a landscape gardener and as you know, I love food!

The festival always features a TV chef, with the Hairy Bikers visiting one year, and this year, the best TV food personality ever, Mary Berry. For those of you not so familiar with her, Mary Berry is a British author of cookbooks and the ‘good cop’ judge on BBC’s The Great British Bakeoff. I didn’t know this, but she also has a CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), studied at the Cordon Bleu, and has written seventy cookbooks! Let’s just say, Mary Berry is a big deal, and one pretty nice lady. If you’re a regular viewer of The Great British Bakeoff, you’ll agree with me that Mary Berry is so sweet and never has a negative thing to say in terms of feedback. Needless to say, the first stop of the day for me was her cookery demonstration in the food tent.

We showed up 15 minutes before  the demonstration was to begin, and obviously, it was standing room only. Mary came out, and was exactly the way she was on TV: warm, personable and real. She began by making a smoked salmon terrine, which to be honest, I wasn’t actually interested in! I just wanted to see her and hear her. She used creme fraiche in her recipe, and justified using full fat creme fraiche to the audience by saying ‘Anyway, you’re making this for a special occasion, and you’ll diet tomorrow;’ or if you’re me, you’ll run tomorrow.

Can you see her?

After standing uncomfortably for about 15 minutes, with the weight of my Great British Bake Off Showstoppers cookbook in my bag, I left the tent to get in line for Mary’s book signing. To me, it was more important to meet her than to watch a tiny speck of her cook. I grabbed a buffalo burger from Puddledub Buffalo in Fife, and thoroughly enjoyed it as I patiently waited behind the food tent in line.

Mouth watering

Half and hour later, it was time to meet a legend! There were volunteers walking up and down the line, asking us what we wanted Mary to write in our books. I thought this was a bit impersonal because if she had a nice message from herself, she would just write it, and I didn’t want to have a message I’d concocted in my book to show people. I wanted my Mary Berry experience to be genuine. When it was my turn, I simply asked that she sign a certain page and that was it. I also asked if I could get a photo with her, which she kindly obliged, and said ‘Of course. I admired your jumper earlier.’ She admired my jumper!!!!! I said thank you about ten times, then was ushered away as the next people had to have their moment. I was in heaven.

Do I look eager here?????

My book is truly a treasure

 I met up with my sister-in-law Erica and her mom Jane, who were already browsing the vendors in the food tent. We stopped by the Hatters & Co. table, who run a tearoom, eatery and catering company out of Cupar, Fife. They had all sorts of amazing looking desserts for sale, so I bought a piece of White Chocolate Raspberry and Coconut tiffin for myself, and a dark chocolate-orange tiffin for my husband, (tiffin is a Scottish tray bake, made of crumbled digestive biscuits and chocolate, and obviously these ones were fancified!). We browsed tables of jam and chutney companies, oatcakes (Duncan’s of Deeside, woo!), cheese, baking, local produce (I bought beets), and alcohol. I stopped at Scots Cheers Liqueurs to sample a very delicious (and strong!) rhubarb rum, which would be lovely in a mojito. Erica and I also sampled the best ice cream Mackies of Scotland, (I love the traditional flavour, so simple but so good). I was still feeling peckish after my burger and small breakfast, so I got a pudding pasty from the Cornish Pasty vendors. It was filled with apples, custard, raisins and cinnamon, and was delicious! 

Oh. My. God.

 After meeting Mary Berry and my gastronomic greed in the food tent, I was pretty much a happy customer. I quickly checked out the Flower tent for the competition flowers, which are a sight to behold. Below are some photos:

Huge, beautiful dahlias

Dahlia bigger than my hand!

Massive, furry-looking chrysanthemums
Behemoth begonias
Put them all together!

We also passed many interesting displays, like:

– A fireplace company with a large, wood carved cello. I took this photo for my husband as he plays the cello.

– A man whittling away at a piece of wood, whose company specialised in organic-looking fences
 

– The Arbroath Smokies vendors; smokies are smoked haddock, a popular food here that can be eaten as is, or in soups or fish pie.

– The Bansai tree display, so fascinating! These trees are well over one hundred years old!

And last, but not least, and one of my favourites, the competition vegetables displays. These vegetables look too good to be true, and are gigantic! You’ll notice bits of paper on the display, this is the award given to the entrant, which details the criteria that the entrant must meet. For instance:

– ‘Collection of vegetables. Four kinds, chosen from the following, quantities indicated: – beans, dwarf french and…’ (that was the end of the sticker).

– Another entrant in the same category.

– Another category: ‘A collection of six vegetables. Six kinds, chosen fromthe following, quantities indicated: – beans, runner; – peas….’

The winner!

 – And finally this one, not sure of the category, but it features the largest leaks and onions I’ve ever seen!

It was a wonderful day spent with family, eating delicious food and meeting fascinating people. The only negative thing I’d say about it was that sandals were not a good choice.


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Check out Amy’s blog tomorrow, I’m doing a guest post on running in Scotland! Good night!
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