Festival done in the best possible Taste

Top chefs  Paul Whitecross,  Mary Contini, Tony Sarton, Simon Lannon and Mark Greenway at the launch of the Taste of Edinburgh Festival

Top chefs Paul Whitecross, Mary Contini, Tony Sarton, Simon Lannon and Mark Greenway at the launch of the Taste of Edinburgh Festival

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FOR fanatical foodies there will only be one place to eat next weekend, as Taste of Edinburgh returns to bring the best of cutting-edge cuisine to the Capital.

The festival, to be held in the Meadows on July 6-8 “rain or shine” is expected to attract 30,000 people eager to sample the latest and greatest in Scotland’s pantry.

As well as local establishments such as The Balmoral and Angels With Bagpipes, it also promises to bring talent from “all corners of Scotland”, including Glasgow’s Cafe Gandolfi, Chez Roux in East Lothian, The Road Hole Restaurant at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, and Orkney’s Balfour Castle.

Show manager Francesca Weil said: “There is no doubt that Scotland has one of the most outstanding natural larders in the world. With such great ingredients and produce available right on our doorstep, it’s not surprising that it’s home to some of the finest culinary talent and the most extraordinary restaurants in the UK.”

Paul Whitecross, of Angels With Bagpipes, which has established itself as one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants since its 2010 opening, commented: “As chefs, Taste gives us the opportunity to bring quality food, produce and different personalities to thousands of visitors. It’s a great way of showcasing local suppliers and producers, which often go uncelebrated.

“We are looking forward to working alongside some world-renowned chefs, meeting our customers and enjoying some

good food – and hopefully the weather will be kind!”

While there will be plenty of restaurants and food and drink stalls, one of the main draws of Taste of Edinburgh has always been the live demonstration classes.

This year’s festival-goers will get the chance to see TV favourite and original Masterchef judge Lloyd Grossman, Michelin-starred talent Jeff Galvin and Channel Four’s Fabulous Baker Brothers. When you add home-grown heroes such as Michael Smith of The Three Chimneys, master patissier Eric Lanlard and Tom Hughes and Gary Lee, chefs at The Ivy, to the mix, it’s easy to see why it’s strongly advised to arrive early to these first-come first-seated events.

Those who are a little more hands-on can do more than just watch the professionals, with AEG Perfekt Cooking Classes with Edinburgh School of Food and Wine giving everyone the opportunity to polish their own culinary skills.

Stuart Muir of Forth Floor Restaurant said: “This year I plan to take the best local produce and simplify cooking techniques to make it easy for people to recreate dishes at home.”

Plus, if you like your cooking more commando-style, but your barbecue usually ends up more like a burnt offering, the Weber BBQ experience will be on hand to help you learn new skills from the experts. Fittingly for an outdoor event, there is even a BBQ challenge, where the “hottest” chefs will take each other on in a true test of tong-weilding talent.

So pull up your forks, loosen your belts and prepare to tuck in to the tastiest festival in town.