City Link Festival Communal Dinner by the Fireside Collective



What seems like about a million years ago, I was involved in some very early discussions about a festival, City Link, which would bring the cities of Edinburgh and Copenhagen together to celebrate cultural and democratic renewal across a weekend.

I was asked for some suggestions for venues and people to bring together a communal dining experience to end one of the evenings. I thought immediately of the Fireside Collective so connections were made then I retreated to let them get on with making the magic happen.

Pic-a-nic basket

Pic-a-nic basket

Having enlisted the cheffing talents of Sariann Lehrer, who forms part of Table at Hillside, and whose skills I’d sampled at Susie’s Whole Foods, Fireside impressario Louise Ross set about building the overall concept of the evening, with elements of Danish and Scottish style woven through the evening with a menu to match. Summerhall’s dissection room played host to the evening’s entertainment.

Carol Hayes, who established Culture Pie in Edinburgh before moving Copenhagen and playing a large part in the organisation of this event, introduced the evening. To kick things off we had an invocation from musicians Maria Faust and Qarin Wikstrom. It was hauntingly beautiful.

Scotch egg

Scotch egg

The meal was a picnic format with dishes to share and dishes with one for everyone. The presentation was very smart little pic-a-nic baskets in the Yogi Bear style.

In a rather lovely stroke of luck, I got to sit next to Sariann’s partner David Crabtree-Logan, one half of the marvellous Scratch Series. We had a glorious evening of food-related chat.

Spelt salad

Spelt salad

And finally, to the food. Our picnic basket selection comprised a delicious sage perfumed scotch egg, a jar of pickled cucumber slices that I ate both direct from the brine and across various of the other elements, a lovely savoury Danish pastry with Scottish crowdie at its heart, some outstanding Peelham Farm cured mutton, and the winning dish from this round a beetroot, rocket and spelt salad of which I could have eaten about a hundredweight.

The sharing dishes featured fennel cured Loch Duart salmon prepared in concert with the excellent Something Fishy. This was served on generously portioned platters. This worked beautifully not only with the pickles but also with the delicious rye bread and whipped butter. There were beaming smiles around the communal tables.



There was another musical interlude from Maria and Qarin which provided an excellent pause for reflection between courses.

To round things out was a blockbuster late summer pudding with late season fruit picked from Louise’s garden including delicious brambles on the top. This came with a lavender infused cream that brought lovely aromatic notes.

With Barney’s beer still flowing, the chats and debates went on well into the evening. It all played its part in what was a spectacular event that couldn’t have been more enjoyable, entertaining or impressive.

Catch the rest of the City Link events over this weekend. Catch Fireside Collective events year-round in our fair city.

3 thoughts on “City Link Festival Communal Dinner by the Fireside Collective

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