DEMAND FOR Scottish grouse is continuing to rise in the UK, Scandinavia and mainland Europe.

To Great British Game Week underway –November 25 to December 1 – top chefs including Tom Kitchin and Nick Nairn have backed grouse as one of Scotland’s 'food jewels'.

Michelin-starred Mr Kitchin said: “To me, grouse symbolises all that is great about Scottish produce. The game we have access to here in Scotland is so outstanding, I feel it’s my duty to share the passion I have for it. I hope that others can share in the enjoyment of eating wonderful Scottish grouse from the moment it comes into season.

“The flavours of game can be really exceptional, and I'm excited that more people are getting into eating it. People are becoming more interested in knowing where their meat comes from. There is nothing better, and more traceable, than birds straight from the Scottish moors.”

Renowned chef and keen shot Mr Nairn said: “I really value many different aspects of the grouse season but the pinnacle for me is being able to create a fantastic roast grouse dish. It has long been acknowledged that Scotland’s food and drink and country sports sectors are truly world class and it is heartening to witness the increased demand and appreciation for Scotland’s wild grouse.

"Grouse is a sustainable and delicious food that Scotland leads the way on and I encourage as many restaurants and customers to cook with grouse as often as possible during the season.”

The availability of grouse is on the increase, with new restaurants and farmers markets now selling oven-ready grouse and grouse fillets to the buying public. Game dealer, Ardgay Game, has reported a three-fold rise in sales for grouse.

Technical director Ruaridh Waugh said: “Grouse is known as the ‘king of game’ and seen by top chefs as one of Scotland’s food jewels. It is a delicious, low-fat and sustainable meat and it’s no surprise to see it growing in popularity amongst the general public with an appetite for Scotland’s natural game larder.

"There is also international demand for Scottish grouse, with dynamic markets in Scandinavia and mainland Europe. Foreign customers want produce with provenance and quality at heart and Scottish grouse has exactly that.”