Delicious fair

Taste of Edinburgh turns the capital's restaurants inside out; Lara Moloney heads along to see, and taste, what it's all about

Feature by Lara Moloney | 10 Jul 2007

Al fresco dining works well on a balmy Mediterranean evening, but in a drenched and windy Edinburgh squall, it takes some pretty special eating and drinking opportunities to draw people from their homes.

Lucky, then, that Taste of Edinburgh (7-10 June) is a cornucopia of sensational delight. On its opening night the temporary yet decorative stalls on the Meadows battle with fierce Edinburgh weather to provide small taster dishes, tempting visitors to buy their goodies or make a visit to the prestigious restaurants they represent. The selections range from Suruchi's, offering up butter chicken (and the biggest taster plates), to Iggs' Spanish flavours, or Malmaison's cute mini burgers. Martin Wishart's is predictably swamped with requests for their Smoked Organic Shetland Salmon and has people in a frenzy.

The ultimate bourgeoisie event, at £12 a ticket and with extra funds needed in order to try the relatively expensive taster plates, buy drinks and join in events, Taste isn't the cheapest of days out. With everything from delicious olive oil from Terra Rossa, to Jaimacan rum (many samples tasted!) or a to-die-for plate of panna cotta from David Bann's, your belly is sure to be full. Fresh Jubilee strawberries, or samples from Edinburgh's top cheesemongers Mellis, send well-to-do guests into tastebud heaven.

A few celebrity chefs, such as Anthony Worrall Thompson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, add their personalities to the spice. Jean-Christophe Novelli keeps the crowds entertained in the Chefs Theatre, taking the piss out of the knives being advertised and wowing everyone with his chopping skills. Glayva are on the ball, handing out free scrumptious cocktails, alongside more random items on offer - a delectable Scottish Raspberry juice from Bouvrage, independent beer brewers, and chocolate stalls.

The weather goes on to improve for the weekend and has everyone in good spirits, especially enjoying the bands' music and beer tasting from Leffe. Though it's hard to ignore the amount of money clearly being made, with food and wine as good as this no one should be complaining.