The popularity of the Great British Bake Off has taken the UK by storm, inspiring an entirely new generation to get in the kitchen and create their own edible masterpieces. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival allows visitors to channel their inner Mary Berry by baking a cake which contains Speyside’s most famous export – a few dashes of single malt whisky.
Entrants to Grantown’s Whisky Cake Off are being asked to don their aprons and produce delicious baked treats which feature the amber nectar as an ingredient. The event takes place at the Grantown YMCA Community Centre on Sunday May 1, and non-bakers have the opportunity to judge the selection of homebakes on offer.
Festival manager Pery Zakeri feels that the variety of foodie events available during the Festival will help broaden people’s perceptions when it comes to serving whisky with culinary treats.
She says, “Grantown’s Whisky Cake Off is a really fun way to experiment with whisky, as it allows you to understand which ingredients and flavours complement certain single malts.
“We’re very proud of the wide range of food-related events available throughout the Festival, as each one is so different and will appeal to a large variety of people.
“You would never normally associate whisky with baking, but that is the beauty of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival – it allows people to see the full potential of single malts and the huge selection of food you can enjoy them with.
“Speyside single malts are so diverse, meaning that anyone can enjoy a good dram if they find the right one for them. Due to the abundance of different flavours and notes available our beloved drink can be paired with a whole host of different food.”
The Whisky Cake Off is one of many unusual events, as foodies are treated to an abundance of food-related activities throughout the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, which takes place from April 28 to May 2 in Scotland’s most prolific whisky producing region.
In what can be described as the perfect pairing between Scotland’s national drink and a much-loved sweet treat, the Balvenie Street Ice Cream Shop in Dufftown is offering tastings of its five different whisky ice creams, which are created especially for the Festival. The tastings could be considered as an ideal introduction to the water of life - especially if visitors are attending the Festival with someone who has never tried whisky before. Those wishing to take part in the tastings don’t need to worry about booking a slot, as the ice creams are available throughout the Festival for £3.
The picturesque Gordon Castle, situated near Fochabers is offering another event which will certainly appeal to those with a sweet tooth; traditional afternoon tea in their Walled Garden restaurant comes with a variety of scones, cakes and sandwiches alongside whisky truffles and a bottle of their handcrafted whisky cask cider. Afternoon tea takes place from 3-5pm on May 1.
For those looking to try something a bit more savoury, Gordon & MacPhail is hosting a whisky and cheese tasting on April 29. The maturation of cheese to develop flavour is very similar to the aging process of whisky, meaning that that the two go together extremely well. This event allows whisky fans to pair their drams with a variety of different cheeses in order to create the perfect match. The tasting is on Friday April 29 from 10am – 12pm, at Gordon & MacPhail’s retail shop in Elgin.
But there are dozens of other whisky and food events on the Festival programme, which includes almost 500 different activities. There’s the chance to watch legendary food and whisky writer Martine Nouet at work in cookery demonstrations, whisky lunches and dinners at restaurants, hotels and community halls across the Speyside region, and sample a wide range of whisky flavoured foods at Aberlour delicatessen The Spey Larder. Strathisla Distillery will also be hosting a Desert Island Drams event where whisky writers match their favourite dram with six sweet and savoury tapas style dishes.
As one of the world’s biggest festivals celebrating of Scotland’s national drink, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival features a packed programme of almost 500 events, with music, crafts, and food themes running alongside a wide range of distillery tours and tastings.
Tickets for all events in the 2016 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival programme, including foodie events, are available to buy now at www.spiritofspeyside.com. The Festival is also active on social media – facebook.com/WhiskyFestival and @spirit_speyside on Twitter and on Instagram.