Chef’s unique ice-cream

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A Banchory restaurant couldn’t be accused of getting stuck in a gastro rut after creating the world’s first venison ice cream.

Determined to capitalise on the outstanding success of the inaugural Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms Venison Festival last year, restaurants in the area were challenged to come up with a unique treat that would tick all the boxes with the festival’s growing number of foodie fans.

And, after numerous taste and testing trials, the ‘buck’ finally stopped with smoked venison and juniper berry ice cream, created by The Cow Shed restaurant in Banchory, one of 20 hotels, restaurants, local food producers and country estates taking part in this year’s Royal Deeside Larder Venison Festival.

The Festival runs from October 25 to 30 – www.venisonfestival.com.

Claire Bruce, of the Venison Festival said: “We wanted to create something that, like venison, was locally produced, healthy, affordable, versatile and just a bit different. It was ‘game on’ for a chef’s competition and The Cowshed restaurant came up with the world’s first venison ice cream, which is made by infusing the milk with venison before it is turned into ice cream and using their home made tuille biscuits for antlers. We can assure visitors that no animals were harmed in the making of the antlers!”

Julien Miran, The Cowshed’s French pastry chef and creator of the venison ice cream said: “When people ask me what it’s made of and is it expensive I tell them ‘it’s deer but not too deer’.

“We’re delighted to be participating in the Venison Festival and showcasing some of the best of produce from the Royal Deeside Larder. We’ll be featuring game pie on our menu and proving that this meat’s not just for the elite.”

Claire Bruce added: “This unique event offers visitors and locals the chance to widen their food horizons and taste some of the finest Scottish venison on offer.

“The venison ice cream created by The Cowshed is a fantastic example of the talented and creative chefs the area has, making it the perfect destination for adventurous foodies. Many of the area’s top chefs will be creating unusual venison-themed dishes and there will be a mix of traditional and modern venison dishes to suit every palate.”

Chef Darren Gimber, of the Kildrummy Inn, at Kildrummy, will be preparing his Nepalese mountain village venison curry which he learned to make first-hand during a charity trip to Nepal in 2010.

A feast of venison-inspired menus will be on offer at restaurants and eateries across Deeside. Amateur cooks can pick up top tips on how to cook venison to perfection at one of a series of cookery demonstrations including award winning butchers, HM Sheridan, who will hold a demonstration at Ballater Golf Club.

For the more adventurous, local estates, including Glen Tanar, will be offering Land Rover tours where visitors can witness the wild game in their natural habitat before enjoying a delicious barbecue at Etnach.

The Balmoral Estate will also be holding ranger-led tours of the royal parklands and gardens, through the estate farm and into the old Caledonian pine forest home to red deer and capercaillie.

Finzean Estate will also be holding a clay pigeon shoot with a venison-themed breakfast and lunch.

To find out more about the Venison Festival and the current programme of events log onto www.venisonfestival.com