Posted on: 29th September, 2017
Isle of Harris Gin is infused with local, hand-harvested Sugar Kelp, a beautiful golden-green seaweed which grows in underwater forests around our island shores.
This key botanical creates the subtle salt-sweet, maritime complexity of our spirit and provides a deep connection to our island environment.
So, we were delighted to be invited to take part in a exciting food/drink/art project in our neighbouring Isle of Skye, exploring the relationship between food production and the environmental effects of aquaculture, particularly intensive industries connected to the sea.
CLIMAVORE is a long-term project by Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe of Cooking Sections and their On Tidal Zones installations in Skye seeks to educate and inform the discussion around salmon farming, and examine the potential to work with bi-valves and seaweeds, to lessen their environmental impact.
It all sounds very cerebral but the ten-day series of events were a lot of fun. With the support of local arts group Atlas and the the Skye community a large metal caged dining area was built in the middle of the tidal bay by Portree.
Each day the tide would cover it, catching shellfish and at low-tide people were invited to sit down to great seafood, creative cocktails and enjoy talks about local food production and more. There were also other related CLIMAVORE recipes in restaurants across the island.
On the day, the wind was blowing at a steady Force 8 so our storyteller bellowed tales of distillery life, Sugar Kelp gathering and gin distillation to an assembled crowd of almost 70 people who had braved the elements to learn about our work.
Their efforts were worth it as ceviche crackers of scallops and nori seaweed were served, followed by freshly shucked oysters and Isle of Harris Gin kelp cocktails, made with kelp-infused apple juice, sea buckthorn and heather.
It was a great, if slightly surreal, experience and we very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people in such an unusual setting. The location and subject matter on the day really deepened our feelings of affiliation with our island environment and we look forward to exploring ideas like this more in the future.