Covering some of Scotland’s most fertile land, Ayrshire boasts an enviable combination of coastline, hills, rivers and productive fields. It’s no wonder, therefore, that the region is home to an exceptional number of independent food producers.

From artistic bakers to sea salt manufacturers, Caribbean food trucks to independent egg farmers, Ayrshire really does punch above its weight when it comes to food and drink. And this month you can try out some of the best produce Ayrshire has to offer – all under one roof – at the Taste of Ayrshire springtime food and drink festival. Held at the newly-renovated Dean Castle in Kilmarnock, the festival will include some  of the best food and drink producers from Ayrshire and beyond.

The event will take place on Sunday, May 28, the first in a series of Taste of Ayrshire festival days to be held this year. Delicious local and seasonal food will be showcased with a producer’s market in the beautiful new courtyard, allowing visitors to try a whole range of products in one go. There will also be cooking demonstrations and challenges, with Mark Hunter from East Ayrshire Council hosting a demonstration kitchen to showcase local produce in style. As well as the market, further events for children and adults will take place throughout the castle and grounds, offering a great day out for the whole family.

The Taste of Ayrshire event is a part of a wider weekend of special events to celebrate the re-opening of Dean Castle after extensive renovation works.
The weekend of events will include a talk by the grandson of Lord Howard De Walden,
who owned and restored Dean Castle, which should provide a fascinating insight into
the man who was also responsible for the outstanding collections on display in the
Castle. More details on the events taking place over this weekend will be available on, and on East Ayrshire Leisure’s social media channels.


At the foodie market, one of the confirmed exhibitors is the Reggaelicious Food Truck, a Caribbean street food van that was founded in 2019 by Ayrshire-based couple Derrick and Sharon Vaughan. The pair serve up mouthwatering Jamaican dishes made to Derrick’s family recipes, including jerk chicken, curry lamb and plantain. Reggaelicious has proven to be a huge success at previous Taste of Ayrshire shows, where Derrick told us how “customers love the home-cooked taste of our food.”

“I’m a practicing nurse,” he explained, “and I often took a bit of Caribbean food into the workplace. The staff loved it, so I kept bringing more and more in and the dream grew from there. I saw a rustic old truck and I said to Sharon, we are going to buy that and make it into the Reggaelicious Food Truck. It’s gone from strength to strength, we have
a great following and our customer base is growing all the time.”

And for those who have a sweet tooth, also appearing at the show on May 28 will be Little Birdhouse Bakes, a celebration cake specialist based in Beith in North Ayrshire.
Around 20 other independent producers are also expected to attend the event, meaning
that there should be something to suit every palate at the Taste of Ayrshire show.
As well as getting to try delicious food and drink, the event will also offer educational
opportunities, helping youngsters learn about where our food comes from. Organisers are expecting to run a foraging and wild food workshop for children to help them learn more about the origins of what we eat.

For more information, and to get tickets, please the Ayrshire Food An’ A’ That’s website.