Grab a pizza the action at East Dunbartonshire’s food and drink festival

Photograph Jamie Forbes 27.2.14 KIRKINTILLOCH.  Nonna's Kitchen. Launch of food festival. L/R Cllr Moir, John Viola - Chef, Paolo Ferone - Manager.
Photograph Jamie Forbes 27.2.14 KIRKINTILLOCH. Nonna's Kitchen. Launch of food festival. L/R Cllr Moir, John Viola - Chef, Paolo Ferone - Manager.

A mouth-watering array of culinary delights will be served up in East Dunbartonshire next month - along with a side-order of culture, entertainment and heritage.

The area’s Food And Drink Festival is back and it has all the ingredients to be the best yet, with a scintillating menu with something for all ages and palates.

This year’s festival will celebrate the strong Scots-Italian links through food, whilst highlighting the historical, heritage and cultural connections that exist between both countries dating back to Roman times.

The festival’s highlights will include a market in Kirkintilloch town centre on April 26 and 27, featuring street food, live music, entertainment, a mini-beer festival, smoothie-making and more.

Organisers at East Dunbartonshire Council are keen for food professionals across the area to grab a ‘pizza’ the action by creating a signature dish and entering a Food Festival Competition.

It should celebrate both the Scots-Italian heritage, but also recognise 2014 as a historic year for Scotland with the independence referendum, Homecoming, the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup.

This unique dish can be either a starter, main or dessert, but must reflect the close connections between both cultures.

The competition is open to professional food outlets and the winner will have the honour of being crowned the 2014 Seasoned to Taste champion.

The search is also on for the great recipes, professional and amateur alike, which reflect the links between Scottish and Italian cuisine.

These could be traditional, handed down through the family, or a modern Scottish twist on an old Italian classic.

It is hoped some of the best recipes will be printed and some may even feature at the festival.

If enough recipes are submitted the Council could publish its very own recipe book as a legacy from 2014.

This year’s festival has been made possible thanks to funding from Homecoming Scotland 2014.

The festival is also supported by East Dunbartonshire Tourism Partnership.

As part of the build-up, school children in East Dunbartonshire are being asked to devise recipes for a new ice cream flavour with all submissions reviewed by award-winning Ghiloni’s in Townhead, Kirkintilloch, who will also make the winning recipe.

Councillor Alan Moir, Convener of Development and Regeneration at East Dunbartonshire Council, hopes the news will whet the appetites of residents and businesses across the area.

He said: “The return of the Food and Drink Festival is terrific for our town centres, with plans being developed for a number of events across East Dunbartonshire.

“I’m particularly looking forward to the street market in Kirkintilloch and I’m sure it will serve up a full menu of food, drink and entertainment to local residents and visitors.

“The festival is another example of our determination to help local businesses to survive and thrive despite incredibly challenging circumstances.

“Celebrating the link between Scotland and Italy is an inspired choice as the two countries share strong connections, going back centuries.

“I look forward to seeing and sampling some of the entries to this year’s competition.

“Expanding this year’s festival to include history, culture and heritage is a great idea and will also tie in with great work by our partners at East Dunbartonshire Leisure and Culture Trust.

“It’s going to be a great year in East Dunbartonshire with the Commonwealth Games on our doorstep and an array of events locally which will tie in and ensure an ongoing legacy for the area.

“The aim is to ensure East Dunbartonshire maximises all available economic, cultural and leisure opportunities, and initiatives such as the Food and Drink Festival can only help us in that quest.”

Festivities are set to take place in Regent Gardens, Peel Park and Union Street in Kirkintilloch on April 26-27.

Traditional Scottish/Italian entertainers are also being invited to get in touch if they would like to be part of the celebrations.

For further information, to enter the competition, submit a recipe or take part in the festival e-mail