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L'escargot bleu et blanc
56 Broughton Street & 17 Queensferry Street
0131 557 1600 et l 0131 226 1890

We have to keep going.  Things are changing. Ten years ago no-one mentioned sustainability. 

I am picking radishes; some are thin and long, some small and round; hot pink and white I snip the roots off and add them to a basket filled with chervil, spinach, pansies, and other salad leaves. Fred Berkmiller patron of l’escargot blanc and bleu is in his adopted garden on the outskirts of Edinburgh, we are picking the salad for the sittings at his restaurant in a couple of hours time and discussing food production.

I am having a grumble. I have spent all day weeding an onion patch and despite the hard graft the day has been a blissful one immersed in nature. Tomatoes are growing in the polytunnel, basil is being planted, tatties are peeping out of the soil, a chestnut coloured mouse is pregnant and moving slowly, I discover a wild pansy the colour of tempranillo and listen to birdsong. What’s my beef?

I feel a reconnection to our labour intensive food production and am mourning what is lost at the supermarket.

For lunch we had eaten leaves tossed in walnut oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar and seasoning along with fresh fish sitting under gnarled apple trees with their May explosions of blossom. Along with beef, fish, seafood, berries and dairy Scotland also has the best salad in the world when it is pulled straight  from the ground and dressed tastefully but how many salad bags from the continent do we buy. You don’t need a hectare to grow salad or even a garden - a pot will suffice. 

Fred nails it. As we talk about food miles, modern slavery, seed banks and Monsanto he says "we are all instinctively aware of what goes on but we push it to the back of our minds in pursuit of convenience. Despite that we have to keep going, things are changing slowly” 

Scotland is an aspiring Good Food Nation. Community growing is everywhere; just the day before I had spoken to Jill who started Crops in Pots in Leith.  There are allotments and windowsills and greens. Start small – grow some leaves in a pot. Visit one of the local markets to buy your food. Get out in nature and look at your food, it is medicine for the mind, body and soul and as Hippocrates said ‘let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’

Visit a restaurant like l’escargot bleu or blanc where Fred is doing his bit by sowing, growing and harvesting the herbs and salads that grace the plates in his restaurants.

It’s just a salad leaf but it really does make a difference. 

 Read more ethical eating articles here 

Review of lescargot blanc 

Review of lescargot bleu

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