MSPs tucked into dishes of pheasant, partridge and rabbit at a ‘Celebration of Scottish Game’ dinner held in the Scottish Parliament.
Sixteen MSPs from three political parties were among the 100 guests at the event which was organised by BASC Scotland, Scottish Countryside Alliance, Scottish Land and Estates and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and sponsored by Rachael Hamilton MSP.
BASC Scotland director Dr Colin Shedden said: “As the game shooting season draws to a close, this was a perfect opportunity to celebrate some of the best of Scotland’s natural and harvested food and highlight the delicious flavours of different types of game meat to MSPs and other guests.
“The guests came from a wide range of backgrounds including land management, food businesses and educational establishments. Rachael Hamilton MSP welcomed the guests and highlighted the importance of game and game shooting to Scotland’s rural economy.”
The evening also featured the awards ceremony for the fourth annual ‘Field to Fork’ competition.
The awards are run by Scotland’s Natural Larder, a long-standing partnership between SNH and BASC.
The overall award is given for the best game-based dish designed and produced by a pairing of gamekeeping and hospitality students from Scotland’s three rural colleges.
Food writer, broadcaster and baker Flora Shedden presented the award to the winning team from Borders College. Their dish entitled “Saturday night game show” featured rabbit curry and rabbit samosas with naan and pakora, and plum chutney and rosehip syrup cordial to reflect the foraging elements.
Runners-up from SRUC Elmwood and North Highland College were congratulated for their wild rabbit three ways and pheasant ballotine stuffed with mushrooms and local sausage.
The chefs in the Scottish Parliament presented all three dishes as an assiette of starters, followed by roast partridge breast and then whiskey and raspberry cranachan.
Dr Pete Moore of SNH highlighted the importance of reconnecting people with “food from nature”.
He said: “The Field to Fork competition is pivotal in ensuring that the newest generation of hospitality students and gamekeepers recognise the value of the safe production and distribution of game meat and the responsibilities they have when putting it into the food chain.”
BASC vice chairman Eoghan Cameron said: “The importance of an event like this is that we can showcase not just how good Scottish game is but also how it can be raised to a higher level by the combined inventiveness of those who harvest it and those who then cook it.
“It was truly inspirational to see so many young people bring their ideas to Edinburgh and to have them appreciated by MSPs as well as a wider audience of all involved in game management and harvesting and in education.”