FESTIVAL season is nearly upon us, and this month brings Mhor Festival, Scotland’s most spectacularly located food, drink and music festival.
Run by Scottish chef Tom Lewis and his family, the festival is nestled away in the Perthshire Highlands between the banks of Loch Voil and Loch Doine.
As well as culinary delights, there will be a great line-up of DJs and artists, with this year’s line-up including a sold-out show by jazz pianist Ray Harris (right) plus Daft Funk and The Federation Of The Disco Pimp.
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However, it’s the food and drink offering – in particular the Mhor Feast – that Mhor Festival has become renowned for over the past five years. The feast takes place in the Monachyle Mhor barn, which for the occasion will be decked out with traditional feasting tables, a bar and entertainment.
Every year, five top chefs each cook a course for the 100 lucky guests (tickets only available on a lottery basis), with past chefs including Andrew Fairlie, Fred Berkmiller and Neil Forbes. This year, for the first time, the festival will be hosting an all-female chef line-up, featuring Lorna McNee the newly crowned Scottish Chef of the Year; Rosie Healey of Ottolenghi fame; and Marysia Paszkowska of Monachyle Mhor, to name a few. Lewis, chef proprietor of Monachyle Mhor Hotel and co-founder of the festival, said: “Mhor Festival is more than a food festival, it’s a great party with an excellent line-up of our favourite chefs, DJs and musicians and wide range of entertainment.”
Scottish food and drink producers will fill the festival grounds, with stalls from Great Glen Charcuterie, Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, L’Art Du Vin, Mhor Bread and Cuddybridge Apple Juice among many others.
A festival for all ages and tastes, the weekend is filled with entertainment from raft racing to acrobatic performances; bread making to baking competitions, and circus skills workshops to disco yoga. New for this year is Cinemor77, a mobile cinema in a yurt furnished with cushions and beanbags.
The festival runs over the May Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 26 to Sunday 28. For those staying the full weekend, camping is available in the grounds, glamping for those wanting a little more luxury, or there are hotels and B&Bs nearby for those who like their home comforts.
Day tickets are available from £20 for an adult, while a weekend camping pass begins at £75. These can be bought online at www.mhorfestival.net/booking. Festival and camping tickets for under-16s are free of charge.
For more information, to apply for Mhor Feast tickets and to book accommodation visit www.mhorfestival.net.
The festival is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
Monachyle Venison, Onion Puree and Wilted Greens
1kg venison neck, bone in
500ml dark chicken stock
450ml red wine
Splash of sherry vinegar
Splash of cooking liquor
1. To prepare the neck of venison, cut it into two-inch pieces and marinate overnight in red wine, thyme, parsley, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add the dark chicken stock and slowly cook for
2.5 hours. When it starts to fall from the bone, pull off the heat and cool down until you’re able to handle it.
2. Lay a double sheet of cling film onto the worktop about a metre in length. Place the venison into a bowl, pulling out sinews or ugly bits. Season the neck with salt and pepper, a splash of sherry vinegar and a little bit of cooking liquor. Once mixed, roll into a cylinder about 30cm in diameter and chill over night.
3. When ready to cook; slice a piece of neck leaving cling film on until you plate, pan fry each side for 5-8 minutes depending on thickness, leave to rest for same length of time, then serve.
4 shallots, chopped finely
1 white of a leek, sliced and washed
12 cloves of garlic sliced
Sprig of thyme
Toasted cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, small pinch of each
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp butter
1. Place all of the above into a pot. Soften slowly for 25 minutes. Pull out the bay leaves and thyme and puree by passing through a sieve. For an extra bit of lusciousness, add two tablespoons of cream. This should be a perfect white puree.
Make gravy by reducing some liquor from the neck and finish with fresh thyme and a drop of vinaigrette. Wilt seasonal greens of your choice, season with salt and pepper and steam in a hot pan.