Royal Highland Show Edinburgh

The Royal Highland Show is major agricultural event in the Scottish calendar. It showcases the best of Scottish produce, prize-winning livestock, farm machinery, Scottish food and drink, renewable energy, as well as featuring music, children’s activities, show-jumping and  sheep shearing competition.  I was very excited to be invited by QMS – Quality Meat Scotland to come to the show together with other food bloggers and members of the  press.  Back in March I met Laurent Vernet, Head of Marketing Department Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and master meat taster in London for an evening of Scotch meat education. QMS is  a public body responsible for helping the Scottish red meat sector improve its efficiency and profitability, and maximise its contribution to Scotland’s economy. We were told their assurance schemes cover more than 90% of livestock farmed for meat in Scotland. All farm animals must have being born, reared and slaughtered in Scotland and comply to a strict standards of traceability, animal welfare, production, fee, haulage and processing.  QMS markets on behalf of the Scottish red meat industry through the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands and the Specially Selected Pork brand. QMS also raises awareness of the importance of red meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. QMS is  involved in various researches.  On arrival we were introduced to some local farmers and food producers  by Laurent and Carol from QMS.
Next we went on a tour guided by a very nice farmer called Charlie from The Highland Cattle Society. The society was founded by a group of landowners and farmers whose aim was to preserve this valuable native breed and good husbandry.  Highland Cattle is the oldest cattle in Britain. They come from Scotland and produce very lean meat and organic. They are fertile and calve outside unattended and unaided. They are used to the adverse weather.  They are natural foragers which enhances their flavour and quality. Traceability is taken very seriously all cattle are numbered and accounted for.
Above Highland Cattle being groomed for the show
We took a break to try some locally made salami, prosciutto and chorizo, from Clash Farm.  Lamb wisps from Tombuie Smokehouse were very tasty too. The  hot Highland Cattle pies were a hit with everyone. I really liked the breads from Mhor

We met John Davidson, Best British Butcher and his Jurassic steak. John Davidson is a award winning butcher, his company has won best British butcher at the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards in November last year and other many other awards over the years.  Recently, he has invented a new way to cut meat resulting in the new piece called Jurassic steak, which is an impressive large steak  available in a large range of sizes from a standard steak to a monstrous 3kg. We tasted the steak and it was tender and juicy.

Davidson’s butchers offers apprenticeship for younger butchers and evening butchery masterclass . They have also developed pork pies using Brew Dog  with funny names like Stinking Pig, Drunken Pig, Little Grunt & the Full Boar. They are sold in the shops at the moment but they will soon be available online. There’s also a new Iberico Jam 4.5 years old on the cards. Looking forward to tasting it when it arrives at Davidson’s in time for Christmas I was told.

 John Davidson and his Jurassic steak – very juicy and flavoursome
Laurent Vernet also showed us around the sheep enclosures and introduced us to Mr. Richard Briggs, a Shetland sheep breeder. Mr Briggs sells whole fresh Native Shetland Lamb PDO . It’s seasonal and next availability date is the 5th September.  Shetland lamb is only half the size of many of the UK’s other breeds at around 8 to 14 kg. It’s wool is very sought after and valuable.
The Royal Highland Show was great fun, despite of the rain the show was very busy and wellies were the order of the day!  Thanks to QMS for the invite and great hospitality.
hoping for a better weather next year!