There’s nothing quite like a local food and drink event to tempt the taste buds of farming folk and those with an interest in where their food comes from, how it is grown, and its journey to the plate.

But if you think most of these events happen during the summer months then you’re wrong because Appetite for Angus, the food group that promotes the local larder in one of Scotland’s most diverse and innovative food and drink regions, is devoting a week in November to celebrate everything from berries, gin, chocolate and coffee – not forgetting the famous Arbroath Smokie.

The Scottish Farmer: Taste of Angus

A Taste of Angus Food & Drink Festival is described by the organisers as a “celebration of the fantastic produce and hospitality” that is waiting to be discovered – and enjoyed – across the county which benefits from its location along the east coast of Scotland but also its varied landscape of rich agricultural land.

The week-long festival will run from November 4 to 11 and aims to encourage producers to work with venues to showcase the amazing food and drink you can find across Angus. As Appetite for Angus works with all parts of the food chain – farmers, primary producers, wholesalers, retailers, café owners, restaurateurs, and professional services – it hopes the festival will fire up passion for good, local food.

Fiona Walsh, one of the event organisers, explained: “We are so lucky to have such a wealth of amazing food and drink on our doorstep. With the best berries grown in our fields, world-famous PGI status Arbroath Smokies, and a plethora of innovative food and drink producers, we are spoilt for choice.

“It makes for the ideal place to host a food and drink festival, with a real focus on provenance and collaboration.”

With funding from industry organisation Scotland Food & Drink and support from Angus Council, the festival also sets out to encourage local sourcing of ingredients and champion local food and drink on hospitality menus throughout Angus.

The Scottish Farmer: Taste of Angus

Fiona explained: “Angus Council has allowed us to resurrect an old food and drink festival and this is a new take on that, and also a much longer festival than the one of old. We were also to have an autumn setting because some businesses are a bit quieter at this time of year and we wanted to give producers some added value ahead of the busier Christmas period.”

Consumers, meanwhile, are becoming increasingly aware of how far their food has travelled to make it onto their plate – and they are keen to see local produce on menus and on the shelf of their local farm shop, points out Fiona who, with the fellow event organiser, Helen Margaroli, is working to connect producers and venues, inspire new ideas, and spark conversations and collaboration.

“Having run my own restaurant, I understand the value in putting local food on the menu,” said Helen. “Working with local suppliers is really rewarding and we are supporting the Angus economy while giving our diners the very best produce available.”

Kicking off the festival is a business-to-business networking supper on Friday, November 3 at Upper Dysart, Lunan Bay, with the public events starting on Saturday, November 4 with a producer night market at Charleton Fruit Farm in Montrose, which will also run throughout Sunday daytime.

A coffee and chocolate pairing event at Hospitalfield, Arbroath, is also planned for Saturday, hosted by award-winning Forfar-based chocolatier Chloe Oswald of Chocolate and Sacred Grounds of Arbroath, an artisan coffee roastery.

The Scottish Farmer: Taste of Angus

Other events include a pop-up Restaurant by Rae’s, a “Great Taste” celebration dinner at Wee Cook, and taster sessions at Redcastle’s popular gin blending school in Arbroath. There will also be pie-making demonstrations from Hayley Wilkes and her team at The WeeCOOK Kitchen at Barry.

“We want to ensure the event is accessible and affordable for everyone,” explained Helen. “We have over 90 members at Appetite for Angus, but this event is open to anyone who is in the food and drink industry in Angus so get in touch with us to find out how you can be part of it.”

Fiona added that restaurants and bars can easily get involved by offering a new dish incorporating local produce on menus or a new cocktail on the drinks menu. She also invited anyone thinking about hosting an event, tasting, or demonstration to get in touch. “We welcome all your ideas and we are here to help you bring them to life,” she said.

“If you’re a chef interested in using Angus produce and want to join in the celebration, get in touch. For example, Potato House at Auchterhouse is inviting chefs to create dishes using their coloured potatoes – tattie season just now is another great reason for having an autumn festival.

“Anyone based in Angus is welcome to get involved,” Fiona added. “You don’t even have to be a member of Appetite for Angus.”

The Scottish Farmer: Taste of Angus

Meanwhile, Angus-based photographer, Peter Jackson of Backlit Films, will be capturing images and videography content from the participating companies, and these images will be available free of charge to the participating producers and venues after the event. “We are aware of the value there is in high-quality food photography and we want to offer this to our participating companies as a thank you to them for supporting this event,” explained Helen.

Growers, producers, hospitality venues, and retail outlets across Angus are encouraged to email to find out how they can take part while consumers are encouraged to keep checking the festival’s Facebook page and website.

“We are so excited to bring this festival to Angus,” concluded Fiona. “We live in the food basket of Scotland and our aim is to put Angus firmly on the Scottish food and drink map.”