Seafood from Scotland, the national brand representing all of the Scottish seafood industry, ‘Zoomed’ in on media and industry in the UK and North America last week as it hosted a virtual oysters and cocktails pairing event.
In partnership with Angus based, family distillers, Arbikie, the evening was created to replace the much loved ‘Spirit of Seafood’ industry dinners, a firm favourite on foodie calendars, usually hosted at the A Club during the Edinburgh fringe festival.
While the pandemic may have got in the way of the physical event, it didn’t stop more than 20 guests including chefs, restaurateurs, Scottish seafood company representatives and media coming together for a celebration of Scotland’s larder.
Clare MacDougall, Head of Trade Marketing (UK and North America) at Seafood Scotland, hosted the event. She commented: “Since 2018, our Spirit of Seafood dinners at the A Club have fast become a real staple of the gastronomic year and we wanted to continue our partnership with Arbikie, despite not being able to host a physical event this year.
“It’s never been more important to support Scottish food and drink than now. The industry has faced its most challenging year yet and it’s vital that we continue in our mission to inspire and engage media, trade, chefs and the culinary stars of tomorrow by demonstrating the sheer versatility of Scotland’s seafood.
“The perfectly paired cocktails and oysters provided a spot of luxurious indulgence to everyone’s evening and were an ideal antidote to the darker nights that are drawing in. It was a pleasure to see everyone learning new skills and appreciating the high-quality produce on display and I’d like to thank all who took part. Fingers crossed we can once again do it in person next year.”
Prior to the event, guests received a delivery of the finest Loch Fyne oysters alongside a selection of Arbikie spirits, including Haar vodka, Kirsty’s gin, AK’s gin and some specially blended horseradish and chilli-infused vodkas. With some oyster shucking novices on the guest-list, safety came first as the pack also included a shucking knife set and the all-important cut resistant gloves to ensure no oyster related injuries.
Diving into the world of oysters, Loch Fyne Sales Director, Simon Briggs was on hand to discuss the provenance and distinctive flavours of his award winning products, while world champion shucker and oyster sommelier Patrick McMurray (AKA Shucker Paddy) gave guests a ‘Shucking 101’ lesson live from his kitchen in Toronto.
Once guests had mastered the art of shucking, Iain Stirling, Director at Arbikie Highland Estate, introduced the selection of Scottish spirits that were to be sampled throughout the event while mixologist and brand ambassador, Steven Aitken, hosted a step by step guide to creating a classic vesper martini, shaken, not stirred.
The purity of the Arbikie Haar vodka and AK’s gin, mixed with a dash of oyster liquor and garnished with a lemon twist proved to perfectly complement the merroir of the icy Argyle and Bute waters encapsulated by the oysters.
While the virtual event proved to be a resounding success with all who attended it is hoped that the ‘Spirit of Seafood’ dinners will be back on the menu at the A Club next year as Seafood from Scotland looks to continue its partnership with Arbikie into the future.