Twenty three top French chefs visited Scotland recently on a successful trip to sample the best food and drink that the country has to offer and to find out why Scottish food and drink products are in demand all over the world.
During the trip, the Master Chefs of France (Maîtres Cuisiniers de France), recognised as some of the best chefs in the world, visited the Scottish Salmon Company farm at Loch Fyne and Loch Fyne Smokery and attended a gala dinner organised by Seafood Scotland at Cameron House Hotel.
The prestigious chefs also went to Shantron Farm in Luss, on a visit hosted by Quality Meat Scotland, before visiting Glengoyne whisky distillery, where they sampled Scotland’s most famous tipple and other quality Scottish produce, including cheese and oatcakes.
The event was organised to show the quality and variety of food and drink that Scotland has to offer - and to encourage French chefs to source more from Scotland and inspire even more of Scotland's food and drink producers to export to France and beyond.
I assure you that we will be ambassadors of Scottish food and drink excellence.
Christian Têtedoie, President Maîtres Cuisiniers de France
France is Scotland’s second largest food and drink export market, behind only the United States, and it's our top market for food products. The latest figures show that the total value of Scottish food and drink exports to France was £722 million, representing a 56% increase since 2007.
Scottish produce has previously been chosen as the main ingredients in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or , often referred to as the culinary equivalent to the Olympics. Scottish salmon was the first fish and non-French produce to be awarded the Label Rouge mark of quality.
Culture and external affairs secretary, Fiona Hyslop MSP, said: "We've seen the value of Scottish food and drinks exports to France increase significantly in recent years, underlining the growing importance our friends across the Channel place on sourcing authentic produce from Scotland's rich and natural larder. This is a real compliment from the nation widely recognised as the world's culinary epicentre."
It takes a lot for us to be surprised, but we were flabbergasted.
Francis Robin, Vice-President Maîtres Cuisiniers de France
Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at SDI, said: "We're delighted to welcome these prestigious chefs to Scotland and are proud to introduce them to the very best of Scotland’s food and drink. The appetite for our products in France has grown in recent years and this trend looks set to continue.
“We hope the visit to Scotland inspires the Master Chefs of France to use even more of our extensive larder of natural products and become ambassadors for our high quality food and drink offer. It offers a fantastic opportunity for Scottish companies interested in doing more in this key market – and we can offer an extensive programme of support through SDI and our Scotland Food & Drink partners.”
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Master Chefs’ visit is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate why Scotland is a 'Land of Food and Drink'. France is our top European food and drink export market and is identified as one of the priority prospects for further growth. France is already the destination for Label Rouge Scottish salmon, seafood, red meat and cheese but there is scope to build the range and volume of products further.
“France is home to some of the world’s most famous chefs and we believe we have one of the finest natural larders on earth. So we’re the perfect culinary match. Scotland and France have a relationship and friendship which stretches back over 700 years and I hope this marks a further step forward for the ‘Auld Alliance’.”
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