Celebrating Shetland’s food and drink with A Taste of Shetland
A Taste of Shetland is a membership organisation which proudly showcases Shetland’s exceptional produce through events, newsletters, social media, brochures and their website.
“The waters around the island are some of the most pristine in the world. There’s a huge range of fish landed in Shetland every day. There is actually more fish landed in Shetland than Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland combined!”
We spoke to Joanne Williams, the Project Assistant at A Taste of Shetland to find out more about what makes food and drink from Shetland so special.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about A Taste of Shetland?
A. A Taste of Shetland, part of Shetland Food & Drink, proudly promotes Shetland’s wonderful produce to the world. Our membership organisation represents Shetland’s leading producers, and, in doing so we are also honoured to champion Shetland as a place – its heritage, its identity, its independent spirit.
Shetland Food and Drink’s role spans both local promotion and the development of markets outside of Shetland. We bring together a rich and diverse membership to celebrate and market Shetland’s produce.
Q. How did you become involved in A Taste of Shetland?
A. My family moved to Brae in Shetland in September 2017, the very same week the A Taste of Shetland website went live! I contacted the manager to ask for a job, she asked if I was willing to do some voluntary work, which I replied, “of course!”
After a few months a job came up and I applied, went for the interview and got it!
Q. What makes Shetland produce so special?
A. The people behind the produce are all so passionate about what they do. The waters around the island are some of the most pristine in the world. There’s a huge range of fish landed in Shetland every day. There is actually more fish landed in Shetland than Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland combined!
Shetland Lamb enjoys the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin and features heavily on many menus throughout Shetland.
The rich pastures ensure that farm animals have the best of diets which in turn produces quality dairy produce and meat.
Q. Do you have a favourite food that can only be found in Shetland?
A. One of Shetland’s favourites is Reestit Mutton. Reestit Mutton is a traditional way of preserving mutton, a leg or shoulder is soaked in brine and then hung up to dry, traditionally over a peat fire. It is commonly used as a basis for soup, which is made with tatties and vegetables.
Usually the soup is accompanied with a Shetland Bannock, also a staple in the Shetland diet!
Q. Do you have any ‘must try foods’ for folk visiting Shetland?
A. I think everyone should try Reestit Mutton soup. If Reestit Mutton isn’t for you then you must try the amazing selection of seafood that is available in restaurants throughout Shetland.
Q. What collectively are A Taste of Shetland most proud of?
A. We are proud of our members and the amazing produce they supply the island with. We are extremely honoured to work together to bring Shetlands wonderful larder to the widest possible audience and, with that, help to grow production profile and profitability for this, and future generations.
Q. Do you have any tips for anyone considering setting up their own food or drink business?
A. Contact us to talk through your plans! We can organise introductions to other agencies or producers who can advise.
Q. What can folk do to support A Taste of Shetland?
A. Buy local produce! Also, you can spread the word by sharing our social media posts with your followers, or join as a member at https://www.tasteofshetland.com/membership
Orkney and Shetland fanatic, likes to capture life through a lens, loves creating, eclectic taste in music, enjoys being a Mum; would secretly love to be a star of the West End!