What’s cooking in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway? We find wedding caterers making the most of fine local ingredients

Barbarella Beets will work with you to create a menu with all your favourite flavours

There’s a story in Dawn French’s new book that will resonate with many readers. The beloved comedian writes that she sometimes feels a bit panicky when sitting down to a plate of her favourite food – she worries that this could be the last time she ever eats it, and as a result ends up pretty emotional about the prospect.

Dramatic? Yes. Understandable? Also, yes. I would get emotional too if I thought it was the last time I’d ever taste Christmas dinner (my fave). If you’re planning to marry in southern Scotland, you don’t need to worry about such things, thankfully: there’s a wealth of great cooking here, with every kind of cuisine you could want. We heard from two local experts to find out what’s on the menu.

World cuisine with local ingredients

“I’ve been in the industry since I was 14 and have worked in venues up and down the country. I have also travelled the world,” says Shona Thomson, owner of Barbarella Beets, which offers laid-back casual dining made from fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. “The beauty of this is that I am able to offer so many different cuisines and techniques.

If you want a Lebanese starter followed by a Thai main and ending with a Scottish dessert, I can make it happen. I love a challenge! One of my favourite things to do is cook completely on the barbecue or at least finish things off that way. It makes such a difference.”

She may cook exotic dishes from around the world but Shona makes a point of shopping close to home: “I do use as many local ingredients as possible,” she confirms. “I have a farmer friend who supplies a lot of my fresh produce.”

The focus at Ginger Snap is on seasonal British food – how good does this look?

Seasonal British food

Also keeping things steadfastly local is Tania Burton, managing director of Ginger Snap, a sustainable, family-run business that is “fanatical” about seasonal British food. “Cultivating your own produce and having a farm where you can go for your ingredients makes such a big difference,” explains Tania, who caught the catering bug from her parents.

“We grow most of our herbs, have fruit trees, forage for wild garlic and make all of our own chutneys and cordials on the farm too. We even find a use for the skins of the onions we use. We are passionate about sustainability and locally grown produce.”

What’s on Tania’s menu? “We strive to do traditional dishes simply but very well. We don’t have a ‘set’ offering; rather, it is dependent on the time of year, and on what the couple want,” the chef says.

“I am also able to fully manage the event if that is something the couple want – I can organise the whole day. Equally, I’m happy to just give them a hand with small things."

Share this article:

Previous article

Grub around the Globe: international flavours from Scottish suppliers

Next article

Making a meal of it: popular serving options when it comes to your wedding food