Home > Blog > Taste Festival – Tasting somewhat stale these days.

Taste Festival – Tasting somewhat stale these days.

Despite a great turn-out and the genuine pockets of fantastic produce that sit under-tent, the festival so badly depends on the weather that it is hard not to get the feeling of being at some knock-off Highland show.

Nick Nairn and Jean-Christophe Novelli were definite highlights in a mixed-bag at this year's Taste of Edinburgh Festival

The entry price of £12 (and up to £48 for the VIP package, which includes an exclusive tent of plastic furniture and a glass of bubbly stuff.) is presumably to deter the hungry masses from descending on the park in droves, but one wonders what you really get for that price? It seems only a few nibbles served by a few wary staff members who look upon you with judging eyes. This can be avoided by spending more of your money on Taste crowns (a kind of Disney-land currency exchange system), so you can purchase more adequate portions. You soon discover, however, that many of the stalls (the better produce stalls in some cases) don’t actually accept your tokens. They prefer hard cash, or credit card. Wisely, I might add, as rumour has it there is quite a mark up from the organisers on exchanging back the crowns.

One can understand ticketing the thing for the sake of the performing chefs, and the limited-space tasting and cooking sessions, but when the rest of the festival is essentially a grand money-spinner for the various stall-holders, it seems a little cynical to charge entry.

Pimms sell cigarettes, +5 rep with Al

The site itself lacks the vim and vigour that makes the art of welly-wearing glamorous at a music festival. This is still Scotland however, and it’s raining here too. Apart from the Lochnigar cheddar now wrapped in Alherself’s fridge, there is barely a memory of the fourth Taste of Edinburgh Festival that will make my memoirs. Nothing I hadn’t seen in years before. If it’s an attempt to showcase Edinburgh’s fine dining, why does it do so with plastic forks and cold chicken kebabs?

The Auchentoshan stand certainly had some charm, and it had Auchentoshan, obviously.

In so many ways it doesn’t rival the farmer’s market on Castle Terrace, or the German or Italian stalls setup in the New Town throughout the year. None of these sellers feel the need to charge you to take a look, and they all seem keen enough to let the polite among us have a sample before we part with our cash.

What the Taste does well is in bringing food together to show that Scotland is not the land of culinary pygmies. One does have to wonder though whether it might be better placed on a smaller scale, at a higher price, with more included for that entry fee.

Otherwise, it occasionally has the feel of a very expensive out-door Asda. This is not something that conjures an image of terribly good taste.

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