Hi everyone, my name’s Megan- a friend and writer for Sophie’s Suitcase and I can’t wait to tell you about the adventure Sophie sent me on last month: The Paisley Food and Drink Festival. Almost three weeks later and I’m still dreaming about all the amazing food I got to eat… Have you ever gone into an experience reasonably excited, and left completely blown away?
I think it’s safe to say The Paisley Food and Drink Festival knocked my socks off, and here’s why:
1. First and foremost- THE FOOD!
Coming back for its fifth annual year, this festival has earned the title of being one of the largest outdoor food and drinks festivals in Scotland. With more than 40 traders and vendors featuring delicious food and drink, I didn’t know where to start. As a girl who loves to eat, I wanted to pace myself and try as many dishes as I could…so naturally I started with a giant serving of fully loaded sweet potato fries from Freddy & Hicks.
When I say fully loaded, I MEAN fully loaded- they were slathered in vegan cheese sauce, jalapeños, black olives, coriander and everything good under the sun.
This was followed by a round of nduja and mozzarella arancini from Fritti (YUM!), and then a visit to the festival’s brand new vegan section where they were serving up some seriously tasty options. From vegan chicken burgers, satay, cauliflower wings and pad thai, I opted for the ever-intriguing vegan haggis fries. I felt I owed it to Scotland to taste test this twist on a super traditional dish as I’ve officially been an Aberdonian for 1.5 years now. The verdict: AH-MAZINGG! Topped with vegan cheese, peppercorn sauce and crispy onions, each bite had my head spinning.
Finally, it was time for dessert and I didn’t hold back! Despite being full to the brim, I made room for churros dipped in warm milk chocolate, and even opted to pick up some homemade Irn Bru fudge for the next day when my food coma subsided. *For anyone who has been to Scotland, you’ll know they have an obsession with Irn Bru soda, so this was a must! PSA: If you haven’t tried it yet, you haven’t lived.*
Don’t worry everyone, I made sure to keep hydrated during my feast. There was a great selection of licensed bars within the festival, and the creative cocktails I was given worked as the perfect pair to each course. I checked out Fizzbuz, serving the highest quality of ice cold prosecco, Gin71 for a cocktail made with artisan gin, and last but not least- The Dispensary Bar. The Dispensary Bar spoiled me with one of the coolest cocktails I’ve ever had: The Bramble- their play on a strawberry daiquiri made with dry ice!
2. The Special Guests
Food and cooking has always been a passion of mine, which is why this next bit was SUCH a bonus in my opinion. I got to cap off my day with a food demonstration and meet and greet with two very special guests.
First off was a demo with celebrity chef Gary Maclean, winner of Masterchef- The Professionals, where I watched his knife skills in complete awe and learned how to make a restaurant quality dish with easily accessible ingredients. This was followed by a Q&A with Matt Pritchard, the star of MTV’s Dirty Sanchez and BBC’s Dirty Vegan. This was Matt’s very first live cooking demonstration, and it proved to be an incredible success as the tent was full and buzzing with excitement to try his tofu stir fry and hear his story on why he decided to go vegan.
3. The Town
Before this press trip, had you asked me what “Paisley” was I would have said “the pattern on my favourite work blouse.” Now, I realise it’s a quaint town full of beautiful buildings and views offering all the Scottish charm you could ever want. As a Canadian, I hadn’t heard much about anything further afield than Edinburgh and Glasgow when it came to Scotland, and this town is proof of the importance of venturing off the beaten track and finding magic in lesser known areas.
One full day was definitely not enough to see everything it had to offer, so I’m already marking my calendar for my next visit. Springtime provided the perfect landscape of cherry blossom covered trees- enough to make any Instagram enthusiasts heart flutter- so I’m thinking same time next year Paisley? Deal. See you then!
Thank you @paisley.is for a fantastic weekend! #ScotlandIsNow #VisitScotland
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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring!
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