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3 Unique Food & Drink Gems from Orkney Not To Be Missed


1. Wilson's of Westray Creamery, Westray, Orkney

Along with running our own farm, we also search the length and breadth of Scotland meeting likeminded food and drink producers to showcase to you through our online marketplace, Fresh Food Express. So we were delighted when we recently discovered this new Orcadian gem....Coming all the way from the tiny Isle of Westray in Orkney are new cheesemakers, Wilson's of Westray Creamery.

New Orkney Cheese, Wilson's of Westray

Creamery owners, Jason and Nina Wilson, left their native South African and decided to live the "The Good Life," when they upped sticks and moved everything they owned to a small farm on Orkney. They've been working tirelessly to convert their beef farm back to a dairy farm and creamery, to house their herd of Ayrshire cows. Jason and Nina farm organically and are certified with Demeter for their land, animals and milk. Being a new business, their creamery (i.e. their cheese and yoghurt) is not yet officially organic certified but they plan to achieve this accreditation very soon.

New Orkney Cheese Similar to Mozarella

They produce Westray Wife, a washed-rind matured cheese and Noltland Castle, a fresh cloth-hung soft cheese with a texture not dissimilar to Mozzarella but bursting with flavour. During our taste testing, Kathryn and I will happily admit that we uncontrollable scoffed the whole packet of Noltland cheese. Tip: allowing this cheese to warm to room temperature will ensure you lose your self-control!

Both Westray Wife and Noltand Cheese are available for home delivery now anywhere in the UK.

2. Beremeal, Barony Mills, Birsay, Orkney

Beremeal is a special product. It is a creamy coloured ground flour that comes from a traditional grain called bere. Bere is an ancient and genetically pure variety of barley, grown in Scotland since around 2000BC, but now grown only in the far north of Scotland, Orkney and Shetland and the Western Isles. It has an earthy, nutty flavour, is lower in gluten and historically has been used to bake bread, shortbread, biscuits and bannocks.

Beremeal by Mail Order
Bere has been grown in Orkney for thousands of years, both for human and animal food. In the old days, it was called Bygg, and this is still the name given to barley in Norway. Although we call the meal beremeal, the crop is usually called corn in Orkney. It has been the staff of life in Orkney - in the form of bere bannocks and home brewed ale - since time immemorial. It is a variety of barley, although it differs in both appearance and taste. Generation after generation of Orcadians have been raised on bere bannocks.

The present Mill that grinds Beremeal is located at Birsay on Orkney, and was built in 1873, and has changed little since. It is run by the Birsay Heritage Trust who have operated it since 1998. Like most northern mills of this period, a kiln for drying the grain is integral with the building.

Barony Mill, Makers of Forgotten Food, Orcadian Beremeal

The "Barony" is an area of good farmland in the northwest corner of Birsay near the Earl's Palace. The land here has been a prime estate of the rulers of Orkney since medieval times, and probably Viking times and earlier. The original name of the Mill was Barony; in the 1980s the Mill was called Boardhouse, a name that still occurs in the older guide books. Rae Phillips - whose father and grandfather were millers at the Barony Mills from 1910-1972 - worked with his father at the Mill from 1957 to 1963 and is now the miller himself.

Beremeal Oatcakes Online
It is a grain that is becoming less and less popular commercially but, we love the flavour and are great believers that everyone should experience this amazing product. Beremeal is currently classified as an endangered food by Slow Food's Ark of Taste. This is why we are actively supporting the beremeal industry by stocking the flour, biscuits, oatcakes and shortbread made using this beautifully flavoured flour. If you fancy something a little more unusual, try this!

Beremeal and beremeal products (shortbread and oatcakes) are available for UK wide delivery via Fresh Food Express HERE

3. Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin, Kirkwall, Orkney

Kirkjuvagr, pronounced kirk-u-vaar, means “Church Bay” in Old Norse. Back when Orkney was emerging as a seat of power in the Viking Empire, the Norsemen would sail their longships into Kirkjuvagr, which over the centuries grew into the islands’ capital, Kirkwall. In name, Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin reflects the rich history of these islands and the boldness of those ancient seafarers. In character though, it’s utterly contemporary and has been crafted with the modern, discerning gin enthusiast in mind. The quest is to earn Kirkjuvagr mythical status with gin drinkers around the world.

Orkney Gin Online

Reflecting the boldness of their Norse ancestors, the clarity of the Orcadian seas and the purity of their air, this gin is handcrafted on Orkney for the modern, discerning gin enthusiast. It is quite simply, unmistakably Orcadian.

Key botanicals include juniper, angelica, ramanas rose, burnet rose, borage, bere barley and calamondin citrus fruits. On the nose, think fresh sea breeze with a sweetness reminiscent of sherbet, lemons and pine. Tastewise, it starts warm and sweet with a hint of spice followed by a floral, smooth and long finish. This is an incredibly smooth gin and is great sipped neat or on the rocks with a twist of orange. It pairs beautifully with Walter Gregor Scottish Premium Tonic Water, again with a twist of orange peel

Kirkjuvagr Gin is available in 10cl, 20cl, and 70cl for distribution through the UK via Fresh Food Express HERE

Easter is Coming! Are Ewe Ready?

by Jillian McEwan

With Easter just round the corner, why not treat yourself and your family to the best of Scotland's natural larder? From stunning centrepieces, to everyday staples all delivered fresh to your home.

As we live and breathe by the Fresh Food Express' 3Ts: Taste, Tradition and Traceability, you know that you are guaranteed the best!

Place an Easter order over £80 for delivery on Thu 13 April and we'll send you a bar of 88 degrees' finest chocolate, worth £5.99, completely free!

Easter Food Delivered Fresh

Our Six Stunning Scottish Showstoppers for Easter

So you've invited the family over for the holidays and you really want to WOW them with a truly memorable meal. Here's 6 stunning Scottish showstoppers that never fail to impress!

1. Leg of Hebridean Lamb, Free Range

Our slow growing, glen roaming Hebridean lamb from the lush Angus Glens is an Easter favourite. Rich, darker meat, unique gamey flavour and is very lean and lower in cholesterol than commercial breeds.

Being a scarce seasonal product, demand for Hebridean lamb is very high. We have a limited stock of this exceptional meat, so it's first come first served, until stocks run out.

Preorder HERE

Hebridean Leg of Lamb

2. 28-Day Matured Highland Rib of Roast Beef, Free Range

Our bestselling Highland Rib Roasts ensure your Easter feast will be remembered fondly. From our free roaming prized Highland cattle from the majestic Angus glens.

Wonderfully well marbled and expertly prepared, you are guaranteed an exceptional product with a provenance like no other beef product.

Preorder HERE

Highland Rib Roasts Online with Free UK delivery

3. Our Epic Arbroath Hot Smoked Side of Salmon

Scottish salmon harvested in the icy waters off the coast of Shetland. Expertly prepared and hot smoked by hand over beech chips in a traditional kiln by our Arbroath smokehouse artisans.

I can assure you that you won't have tasted anything like this before. Glistening golden brown on the outside, pull apart to reveal mountainous pink flakes. The flavour is divine. So sweet, with a mild moreish smokey finish.

Preorder NOW

Hot Smoked Scottish Sides Online with free delivery

4. Exclusive: Kune Kune, Rare Breed Pork

For something really unique, try our latest addition, free range gammon from rare breed, Kune Kune pigs. Our mildly cured is so moreish, succulent and full of flavour. Stunning slow cooked then finished off in the oven smothered in Scottish honey, mustard and cloves. Simply Divine!

Preorder NOW

Kune kune gammon online with free delivery

5. Heather Hill Mutton, Free Range

This delicious slow grown meat seems to be as rare as hens teeth. So we were excited to discover our latest supplier, Ruth and Jim Harris' tiny farm in the Lowlands of Scotland. These small ethical farmers produce exceptional meats including their standout free range mutton. Ruth's Blackface sheep roam the heather covered hills on her Lanarkshire farm naturally foraging on heather, grass and spring water. This natural diet definitely comes through in the meat.

Free range heather hill mutton from Scotland with free delivery

6. Our Scottish Brunch Box, Breakfast of Champions

What better time to enjoy our local Scottish delicacies than over the Easter break? Our Scottish Brunch Box contains a handpicked selection of our favourite brunch time products, including iconic Arbroath Smokies and Stornoway Black Pudding.

Preorder HERE

Scottish breakfast box online with free UK delivery

Check out our Easter section for more seasonal goodies including Easter Chocolate and Gin!

Don't forget to see what else is Just In along with our Weekly Special Offers.

Remember, we offer FREE NEXT DAY UK Shipping on orders over £80, pre-order your Easter delivery now.

Edible Angus: 88 Degrees Chocolate Maker

by Jillian McEwan
As you know it's Angus Month here at Fresh Food Express. Throughout March, we're celebrating the cornucopia of amazing produce from this small, but perfectly formed region of East Scotland.

We've been out and about discovering that their is more to Angus' culinary offering than just the iconic Arbroath Smokie, so we were delighted to discover a hidden foodie gem nestled deep within the Angus glens...

Let me introduce you to chocolatier, 88 degrees from the birthplace of Peter Pan's writer JM Barrie, the tiny town of Kirriemuir in Angus. Back in 2006, 88 degrees' Johanna and Philip Woodhead started making award winning chocolate bars and truffles using the bare minimum of ingredients, with no preservatives or artificial flavourings and always Single Origin chocolate.

88 degrees have a small artisan workshop where they do everything, from the design to the chocolate production, the printing and the final packaging. Eleven years down the line, the business continues to flourish, and although tastes, governments and times have changed, 88 Degrees still stay true to their original philosophy of keeping it natural.

We were overjoyed to discover 88 degrees, they are definitely a very well kept local secret. Not anymore!
Immerse yourself into the chocolate coated world that is 88 degrees. These passionate producers do not do anything by halves, believe me!

Their signature single origin chocolate bar in their botanical range, 7 Gin Chocolate Bar, took them months to get right, but they have done it! This combination of 7 botanicals (commonly found in your old faithful glass of gin) infused in cocoa butter and left for 7 days before adding it, drop by drop (!), to their house single origin 43 % Venezuelan milk chocolate, hits the spot. As they say, all the gin and none of the sin.
88 degrees literally eat, drink and sleep chocolate. Johanna's inspiration of one of bestselling bars came during breakfast, their Toast & Marmalade Chocolate Bar.

For this bar, their own artisan sourdough bread is toasted, crushed and then added to candied Seville oranges and orange oil to give sweetness and crunch and added to 66% Mexican Single Origin Dark Chocolate. The adorable hand printed Paddington bear labelling just finishes off this unique creation.
The jewel in 88 degrees current range is The Allotment Bar. A slab of glorious 43% Venezuelan milk chocolate which Johanna meticulously hand paints with Brussel Sprouts and carrots . A true labour of chocolate love and a quirky gift for Mothers' Day (26 March) or Easter.
A handpicked selection of 88 degrees bespoke chocolates are exclusively available online at Fresh Food Express. The only difficulty you'll have now is which to choose!

A Culinary Tour of Scotland: Edible Angus

by Jillian McEwan

A Culinary Tour of Scotland: Edible Angus

Every month at Fresh Food Express, we are taking a culinary tour around Scotland, and this month we're focussing on the east region of Angus, my home county. Located adjacent to Dundee and 30 miles south of Aberdeen, Angus' main industry is predominantly agriculture, and some fishing. Produce from Angus is so unique as we have a rare combination of culinary heritage with modern day food and drink innovation. Not only does Angus offer iconic traditional foods such as Arbroath Smokies, Aberdeen Angus Beef and Forfar Bridies, it also produces world class soft fruits, drinks, seafood and vegetables, including asparagus and potatoes.

A Real Taste of Angus, Scotland

Angus' exceptional natural larder is mainly due to its' unique land and sea environment, and the fishing and farming communities that steward the region. Native breeds of sheep and cattle roam naturally within the majestic Angus glens, alongside wild deer and game. Lobsters and crabs are sustainably harvested off the coast of the tiny fishing town of Arbroath. The unique microclimate of Angus and local farming expertise are the key factors responsible for the world leading soft fruits that are produced here in abundance.

Where to eat in Angus

Currently, Angus is a hotbed of new talent, too, with novel food and drink enterprises breaking boundaries in sectors such as soft drinks (Bouvrage/Ella Drinks), craft beers (Redcastle Brewery, Kirrie Ales, Mhor), sprits (The Gin Bothy, Arbikie, Ogilvy's) and coffee roasting (Sacred Grounds Coffee Co.), plus our ever-growing street food scene led by The Food Life group. Angus has spawned some exceptional chefs too, notably Masterchef Pro 2014 winner Jamie Scott, Scotland's Young Chef of the Year Adam Newth and multi-award winner Gary Watson of Gordon's Restaurant in Inverkeilor. For a spot of lunch in Angus, The Pavilion Cafe in Montrose, 88 degrees in Kirriemuir and Charleton Fruit Farm are independent gems.

To celebrate the produce of Angus, we, at Fresh Food Express, have just launched The Taste of Angus Box, Spring Edition.

A delicious array of authentic produce made in Angus by small artisans handpicked by us. Including great produce from new producers that you'll not have seen before.

Find out what's inside the box HERE

Throughout March, The Taste of Angus Box, Spring Edition, is on offer at £99 (saving 20%) plus FREE UK Shipping.

The Taste of Angus Hamper