Best of the West Festival

Best of the West Festival

Inveraray Castle, Saturday, September 14, 11am-7.30pm and Sunday, September 15, 11am-5.30pm; weekend tickets £15 (under 16s, £9), day tickets, £9.50 (under 16s £4.50); under 8s go free;

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Jonathan says: "This sounds like a fun day out, with a hugely diverse selection of music, beer and food."

There will be plenty of food and drink from Argyll, including Fyne Ales, 20 west coast distilleries, the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and the Inverawe Smokehouse.

Activities include everything from wall climbing to cooking demos, with music including a performance from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

Forest Fungi Day

Near Newton Stewart, today (September 8), 10-5pm, £70pp (children 12-16, £50), email

"Foraging is a good fun and economical. It's also useful to be informed. I've been out picking mushrooms, wild garlic and wild berries and it's also good to know what not to pick," says Jonathan

Join Mark Williams of Galloway Wild Foods for a day in the forest, over two locations, where you'll be taught to find, identify, harvest and cook the finest mushrooms, including ceps, chanterelles, hedgehog fungi and, with luck, even more exciting species like curry milkcaps and cauliflower fungi. The day also includes a wild fungi cook-out.

You will need your own car plus sturdy footwear (or wellies), waterproofs, snacks and water. You may also wish to bring a camera, notebook and a small basket.

Salmon Smoking Process

Galloway Smokehouse, Carsluith, Newton Stewart; Saturday, September 13 and Sunday 14. Free, booking not required, email

"I like the sound of this informative course," Jonathan enthuses. "Salmon smoking is a surprisingly easy thing to do, without a lot of expensive kit. You could do it with some nice salt, aromatics and a biscuit tin. People would realise this is actually something they can do themselves."

The course will guide attendees through the smoking process, from preparing and salting fresh seafood to the smouldering of whisky-cask sawdust. The differences between mass-produced smoked foods and traditional methods are explained too.

Lady Claire Comes to Food Town

Fullarton Theatre, Lochside, Castle Douglas

Thursday, September 12, 7pm. £10 a seat, including raffle for local food hamper. Book online at

Lady Claire MacDonald runs the Kinloch Lodge in Skye as a luxury hotel and has a reputation as one of the foremost proponents of Scottish ingredients.

"Lady Claire is a Scottish food success story and this evening promises to be an informative and entertaining evening as she talks about her favourite Scottish ingredients in her favourite recipes during a live cooking demonstration," Jonathan says.

Food and Drink: A Recipe for Success

Thursday, September 12 and Friday 13, Carlton Hotel, Edinburgh, see

Jonathan says: "Inspiring Futures works with young people to give career advice; and this event, its annual conference, focuses on careers in the food and beverage industry, at which I am also speaking. It will address opportunities and promote careers in the industry and this is something I know a little bit about.

"I'm also keen to promote it because this industry is growing in Scotland when others aren't - and it often gets overlooked. Anything that helps change attitudes toward the industry is something I'm keen to get involved in. Young people should see it as viable career path."

Trossachs Real Ale Festival

From now until September 15. Kilmahog, Callander. or call 01877 330 152 to book a table in the restaurant.

"I like beer - who doesn't? - and this sounds like a good day out in the perfect environment," says Jonathan

The seventh annual festival will include Meet The Brewer days, beer tasting, food and folk music.

feastRen Festival 2013

East Renfrewshire Food and Drink Festival, until September 20, Rouken Glen Park, Giffnock, go to

Tickets £5 (under 5s go free), covering one four-hour session. Family tickets, £12.50 (two adults and two children).

Jonathan says: "My street food company, Scoop's Silver Bullet food van, will be at this bespoke food festival, serving up our mix of globally influenced street foods with a southeast Asian and South American influence."

With various sessions across the weekend, it promises ample food and drink, live chef demos - from the likes of Seumas MacInnes and Guy Cowan - plus music and entertainment. There will also be activities for kids, street entertainment and a market.

Local Plates

Sunday, September 22, Applecross Inn, Shore Street, Applecross, Wester Ross. Prices vary.

A big trip for many, but worth it, says Jonathan: "Experience a locally sourced plate of food from the famous Applecross Inn's menu.

"This was chosen as much for the place as the food as the drive to Applecross is every bit as special as the seafood served at the inn."


Old Town Jail, St John Street, Stirling, Saturday, September 14, 11am-4pm, for tickets, check

"I picked this foodie festival, run by Creative Stirling and Loving Food, because there's a street food influence to it," Jonathan says. "Loving Food has an old Citroen van it's converted into a really cool food truck and street food kitchen and it does a bit of globally influenced food." The rest of the festival promises more street food and family entertainment, with live music from Tom Foolery, Puff Uproar and the Shimmering Sound Affair.

Edinburgh Farmers' Market

Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, Saturday, September 21, 9am-2pm, Free

The award-winning market is home to 55 producers selling specialities including venison and water buffalo, as well as honey, pâtés, chillies and plants.

"This is one of the better farmers' markets and it has such a unique location, right at the foot of Edinburgh Castle," Jonathan says. "It will be a great day out.";;