A Foodie Year for Helensburgh and Beyond: Guest Blog from La Barca
In this guest blog, owner Cara Nikolic of award-winning Helensburgh Spanish Tapas Restaurant and Wine bar La Barca shares her thoughts and plans for this Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015.
It's an exciting year ahead for Scotland and those with a passion for food: for the country that brought you the deep fried Mars Bar is using food and drink to lure even more visitors to our shores.
This month saw the launch of the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 with the aim of celebrating and promoting Scotland's natural larder to both locals and visitors. The Scottish government initiative led by VisitScotland will see money ploughed into TV adverts and events across the country to raise awareness of Scotland's restaurants, hotels, food and drink producers, B&Bs, cafes and visitor attractions.
Mars Bars aside, in Scotland we are blessed with some of the best produce in the world, from an abundance of fantastic seafood and meat to cheese, beer and whisky.
One event our restaurant La Barca is getting involved in is 'Springfest'- a new 2-day food and drink event organised by the team behind the successful Loch Lomond Food & Drink Festival. It takes place at Loch Lomond Shores, Balloch, at Easter, on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April, and aims to showcase Scottish producers and suppliers as well as offering cookery demonstrations and tasty street food.
We got a taste for the buzz and challenge of al-fresco cooking when we took La Barca into the square at Helensburgh's recent Helensburgh Winter Festival to cook giant paellas. It was our first ever street event and taught us two valuable lessons: turn up earlier and wear more clothes!
Hopefully Springfest will enjoy more Spring-like weather and the team from La Barca will be there sharp and sensibly dressed to help feed the expected 20,000 visitors. Meanwhile, here in Helensburgh, we have a growing number of fantastic places to eat which far outshine many food offerings elsewhere in my opinion.
So let’s tap into the hoards that descend on our Bonnie Banks and build a reputation as the place to go for the best, fresh food with Scottish provenance.
This is the year to promote Helensburgh as a foodie destination and give our visitors a truly memorable culinary experience that does Scotland proud.
La Barca Spanish Tapas Restaurant and Wine Bar, run by owners Cara and Milan Nikolic, was voted Scotland’s Best Mediterranean Restaurant in the 2014 Scottish Entertainment Awards. Entries for 2015 are now open for voting -you can vote for La Barca and your other favourite venues again.