Starting at Contini George Street in Edinburgh on Tuesday 18th February, the series of ‘Big Table Slow Food suppers’ will explore the history around the fats used in cooking around the UK and the role of fat on our menus today.
Diners will get an insight into how olive oil was introduced to the British Isles during the Roman occupation and how it was used extensively until being replaced with butter after the Norman invasion in the 11th century. People will also learn more about how lard was used as a substitute for butter during World War Two, but has been a staple of our Italian regional cooking for centuries.
Industry experts will discuss the health benefits of valuable Omega 3 fish oil, the bad fats in our modern diet, along with fad fats, such as coconut oil, avocado oil, rapeseed oil and the devastating impact of certain palm oils.
From 6.30pm on Tuesday 18th February, Edinburgh foodies can look forward to an evening of food and wine with Carina Contini and special guest speaker Sofia Di Ciacca. Sofia is a Scots-Italian olive oil producer from I Ciacca in Picinisco, Lazio, who will be talking all things olive oil and the benefits of using it when cooking. This ‘supper’ menu will include chargrilled seasonal Italian vegetables served with a Bramata polenta, salted anchovies and I Ciacca extra virgin olive oil, as well as olive oil pistachio and rose water cake with crème fraiche.
On 24th March from 6.30 pm, Nick Sinclair from The Edinburgh Butter Co. will be the guest speaker at Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill, where butter and cream will be the star ingredient. This ‘supper’ menu will include roasted parsnip velouté and crème brûlée.
From on 21st April from 6.30 pm, Sorina Savascu from East Coast cured will be making sure that beautiful pig fat, lard, is anything but a greasy topic at The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery. This ‘supper’ menu will include Aberdeen buttery baked with Biggar Blue walnuts and poached pear, East Coast Cured Pork belly with Kitchen Garden leaves and pickled beetroot and suet pudding with custard.
Carina Contini, the owner of all three Contini restaurants in Edinburgh, said: "Now that Veganuary is over, we're really excited to be ditching the fad diets and putting 'good fat' back on the menu with this new series of fat-themed suppers at each of our city-centre venues.
"Fat is anything but a greasy topic. We want to encourage people to celebrate 'good fat' and make sure that it's showcased on our menus, including the best Scottish butter, cream and lard, as well as extra virgin olive oil from Italy."
As third-generation Italian Scots, Victor and Carina Contini continue to champion independent family businesses in Scotland with their award-winning venues; Contini George Street, Cannonball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill and The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery.
The Edinburgh restaurateurs still buy from some of the producers their grandparents worked with, source produce direct from the markets in Italy and change their menus with the seasons. They also stay true to their Italian Scots roots and maintain tradition and authenticity as part of their food-centric philosophy to attract custom and tourism to Edinburgh.
Slow Food Edinburgh is the second largest Slow Food group in Britain. Its activities and events underline the Slow Food ethos of GOOD (quality, flavoursome and healthy food), CLEAN (production that does not harm the environment) and FAIR (accessible prices for consumers and fair conditions and pay for producers).
Continis is a supporter and member of the movement and its chefs are members of the Slow Food Cook's Alliance, an international project that connects and supports chefs following the Slow Food philosophy.
Eleonora Vanello, Co-chair of Slow Food Edinburgh, added: “Learning about the history and use of ‘fat’ in Scottish gastronomy is going to be a fascinating topic for our first residency of Slow Food Edinburgh Big Tables at Contini venues in Edinburgh. We can't wait to taste Carina Contini’s good, clean, fair creations.”
Tickets for the new fat-themed ‘Big Table Slow Food suppers’ at Contini venues across Edinburgh are now available from £20 per person for Slow Food Edinburgh Members and £22.50 per person for non-members, including two courses and a small glass of wine.
To book and for more information, visit: www.contini.com/whats-on/slow-food-big-table-suppers-at-contini-venues