Last updated: 09:00 AM ET, Wed June 24 2015

Farm to Table Finds in England and Scotland

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | June 24, 2015

Farm to Table Finds in England and Scotland

There’s an entrance to the Suffolk countryside and it’s called food (photos courtesy of Bruisyard Hall)

The rising popularity of the Farm to Table trend is not much different from when Americans first started going to Europe in big numbers. The issue then was identity, and so those travelers were interested in the details of their heritage. Now a little later in life, these Baby Boomers are more focused on the rites of well-being and so they’re interested in the provenance of what they eat. Just as when travelers engage a destination via art or history, the Farm to Table engagement encourages the sharing of stories.

The fact that VisitScotland made 2015 the “Year of Food and Drink,” shows that in the marketing of a major destination’s cuisine now ranks with other major Scottish themes such as ethnic heritage, adventure and art, which have all served as VisitScotland themes.

For Scotland, and for a rural English county like Suffolk, food serves well as an entry point to culture. Bruisyard Hall  epitomizes what the Farm to Table food traveler is seeking. The Hall, which sits on 700 acres of prime English countryside, dates back to 1354 and in 2015, it completed a £1.5 million ($2.4 million) refurbishment.

Bruisyard’s new food provenance experience begins when guests open the “rustic hamper” in their rooms, which is packed with locally sourced products. These Suffolk products and delicacies such as cider, freshly squeezed fruit juice, cold-pressed rapeseed oil and more, helps the traveler enter his or her engagement with the destination on via local producers, who tell the story behind each product.

By focusing on the smaller, artisanal producers, guests can be immersed in the Suffolk lifestyle. The county has a number of family-owned companies that have produced artisan products for generations. Each item within the hampers has been carefully selected to reflect this.

They don’t serve oats at The Barn at Bruisyard Hall, just world-class Farm to Table cuisine

The Hall accommodates up to 20 guests, with an additional two rooms available in the Bruisyard Barn, enabling 24 guests to stay on the estate. Executive Chef David Newstead prepares the dining room offerings at Bruisyard Hall. He trained at London’s Dorchester Hotel, before going on to work in Germany, Riyadh, Antigua, Moscow, and at London’s Kensington Marriott.

Guests can also pursue a range of rustic activities such as clay-pigeon shooting, trout fishing on the estate, archery, team building, murder mystery events, horse riding, yoga and spa therapists can be arranged on request. The Bruisyard Hall team can also add bespoke touches such as scrumptious Suffolk afternoon tea in the drawing room or a private car direct to the front door of the property.

Bruisyard Hall can be hired from £1,500 ($2,360) per night or on an individual bed & breakfast level for £150 ($236) per night. Prices excluding VAT. Welcome hampers can be purchased via the Bruisyard Hall shop at an additional cost.

A couple of Scottish products are being highlighted by Connoisseur’s Scotland. The Hebridean Princess’s seven-night Flavours of Scotland cruise highlights the food of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. Departing out of Oban, it visits three Michelin-starred restaurants, including the famous Kinloch Lodge, as well as a variety of local food and drink producers.

In Islay, a visit to one of the island’s most famous distilleries, Laphroaig, introduces guests to the peaty whiskies for which the region is known. The ship’s local oyster supplier, based on the Isle of Colonsay, will be on hand to talk about fishing for local seafood as well as his other passion, honey and the black-tailed bees he keeps. A cooking lesson paired with lunch at Kinloch Lodge and a tour of Isle of Mull Cheese, a small, family dairy farm, gives you a chance to try even more local fare. The sailing concludes with a Champagne reception in Mull at Duarte Castle. The Flavours of Scotland cruise will depart April 5 and Oct. 4, 2016.

Edinburgh’s the Observatory Restaurant, in the Glasshouse Hotel, serves locally produced Scottish food to diners enjoying the view through floor-to-ceiling windows of Calton Hillman World Heritage Site. Many of the menu’s ingredients come from within just a few miles of the restaurant. Head Chef Dan Mellor, inspired by his aim to provide the freshest ingredients possible for each meal, regularly heads outdoors to forage for produce like mushrooms, nettles, wild herbs, elderflower, and blackberries.

Mellor’s motto is “what grows together, goes together.” This is a theme that can be seen in dishes like venison served with herbs and vegetables found growing in the animal’s natural habitat. 

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