One of the most expansive and exciting food tours in Scotland is the Tasting Scotland tour in Fife County covering St.Andrews and Pittenweem. Founding direct of Tasting Scotland, Brenda Anderson conducts in this tour in the food kingdom of Fife. It starts with the visit to St.Andrews Farmhouse Cheese in Pittenweem. There we met Briony, who works with Jane Stewart, the owner in the production of the best local artisan cheese in Fife. We also did some local specialty Cheese Tasting.
Anster cheese is hand made on the farm – to a traditional recipe – by Jane Stewart, using unpasteurized milk from her husband Robert’s herd of home-bred Holstein Friesian cows. The cows graze all summer long on the lush pastures overlooking the May Island above the Fife fishing village of Anstruther (from which the cheese takes its name). Anster cheese is fresh and dry, with an almost crumbly texture, which dissolves in the mouth to leave a full-flavored finish. There was a viewing gallery where we looked straight into the cheese vat and observed the whole process – from milk, to curds and whey, to finished cheese ready for pressing.
We also visited one of Fife’s historic fishing villages and almost went down till the coast down a steep enclave. But it was so chilly and windy that we decided not to spend too much time outside and rushed back to more comforting climes! We also saw some Scottish cows which are known as the Highland Cattle. They have thick coat of fur to protect themselves from the cold climates which is there in Scotland most of the year.
Next up was the visit to Balgove Larder in St.Andrews. We met Will Docker, the owner, for a unique insight into this premium meat farm and its operation, including a demonstration from one of the butchers. Butcher cut up an entire venison into different pieces, different cuts which are used for different dishes. It was wonderful to see such a skillful butcher who didn’t waste any raw material and did it very professionally and with ease.
In the tasting lunch, I tried out Chicken Liver Late and Ham along with some Sheep Dip Scotch Whisky. The interesting story about Sheep Dip Scotch Whisky is that it takes its name from the old time Scottish farmers’ practice of hiding Scotch Whisky from the tax man in containers labeled “Sheep Dip.” Real sheep dip was used to eliminate parasites on sheep, who were probably literally dipped into the noxious brew!
After a scrumptious lunch, it was time for a quick dram of Scotch Whisky! So we went to visit the Luvian’s Bottle Shop in St.Andrews. There we met Archie McDiarmid, the manager of this specialty, independent drinks retailer. There was a whistle stop tasting tour of some of Archie’s favorite Scotch Whiskies like Bowmore from Islay, The Open Bottling 2010 and Old Pulteney. Archie told us the right way to taste the Scotch Whiskies like smelling them first, putting a couple of drops of water and letting them breathe and then tasting them. This 30 year old shop has been always stocking the best Scotch Whiskies and Wines available to humanity and I was really impressed by this nondescript place which is a treasure trove of its own!
Luvians has been dedicated to providing the best of everything. As a specialist, independent drinks retailer, their philosophy is to be different from the crowd. They quickly realized that there was no point in being ordinary because there were others out there who were a lot better than them at it, so they had to be out-of-the-ordinary. Their range of wines and spirits is unparalleled and is constantly changing, offering a selection of the very finest wines from the Old and the New World. They stock over 800 single malt whiskies including some of the very rarest, such as two bottles of the World’s oldest Single Malt Whisky!