Last month, WestJet began its daily non-stop service from Halifax, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland – that’s right daily flights!

WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky announces daily non-stop service to Glasgow, Scotland

WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky announces daily non-stop service from Halifax to Glasgow, Scotland

WestJet, Halifax International Airport Authority and VisitScotland hosted a “A Rare Taste of Scotland” celebration the night before the inaugural flight.  A WestJet tartan, designed in Scotland,  was unveiled to commemorate the new route. Award winning Glaswegian Chef Chris Charalambous teamed up with the culinary team at Tempo Food and Drink. At the beginning of the event, he described what we would be eating throughout the evening, all served with  contemporary flair and a decidedly Scottish bent.  Chef Chris (otherwise known as @bigballschef on Twitter) quipped that “most of our cuisine is based on a dare”.  The appetizer served on crispy chicken skin was certainly daring and something that I’ll not forget.  I don’t even remember what was on top (hmmm, maybe some liver paté among other things) I was just so taken with the fact that I was eating in elegance what I might normally be sneaking off of a bird in my kitchen.  My favourite dishes were the braised beef cheeks (sounds ewwwy but oh so yummy) and a delicious version of fish and chips – like a log-shaped fishcake served in a paper-lined box atop a dollop of ketchup.  And I noticed one guy taking three and four helpings of haggis so it must have been grrrrreat! Here’s a link to Chef’s award-winning restaurant, Cail Bruich (Scottish Gaelic and meaning eat well), in  Glasgow.

Chef Chris Charalambous

Chef Chris Charalambous

I furthered my whisky education with a tasting conducted by Bishop’s Cellar; can’t say I’ve acquired a taste for it yet but it’s fun trying a few wee sips.

Whiskey tasting with Bishops Landing

Whiskey tasting with Bishop’s Cellar

The Buddy MacDonald Trio, featuring Rachel Davis and Darren McMullen, took to the stage and provided irresistibly toe-tapping musical entertainment which carried on through the dessert service; little cheesecakes beautifully adorned with edible flowers.

The Buddy MacDonald Trio featuring Rachel Davis and Darren McMullen

The Buddy MacDonald Trio featuring Rachel Davis and Darren McMullen

 

A Rare Taste of Scotland

A Rare Taste of Scotland

I became intrigued by a couple of guys standing behind a WestJet ice sculpture and finally had to ask them if they were there to guard the sculpture.  But “NO” they had a festive beverage to offer which I readily agreed to sample.   The drink was invented by Nova Scotian Lorne Caborn and named for the event, “Atlantic Crossing”.  Such fun to watch it prepared by pouring the alcohol (A Scottish gin, The Botanist, and floral St. Germain liqueur) through the icy display into a lavender- infused sugar-rimmed flute, followed by  the addition of homemade simple syrup.  Completely delicious.

Making an "Atlantic Crossing" celebratory drink

Making an “Atlantic Crossing” celebratory drink.  Notice the Halifax to Glasgow route on the map!

I had a wonderful chat with Denise Hill, Head of International Marketing, VisitScotland, and she says people refer to the city of Glasgow as having “grace and grit” and amazing award-winning architecture. “Look up wherever you go”.  She told me that Glasgow is “a city of great heart and great character” and that the people are gallus, a new word for me so I had to look it up and it’s defined as  – Scot bold; daring; reckless. Sounds like an adventuresome people! “Music is another reason to go to Glasgow; it’s a UNESCO world site of music”, she stated.   Read about Glasgow the City of Music here. “And it’s only 50 minutes to Edinburgh with trains every 15 minutes so it’s really easy to combine the two cities. We are really excited that people will be able to enter via Glasgow.”

I’m excited too.  I plan to visit bonnie Scotland again (and again) maybe as soon as next year and will certainly take advantage of this new route especially since I have not been to Glasgow before. I married into the Clan Napier and my mother is from northern England so my affinity to the region is strong. I spoke about my last trip in Soar Halifax in an article entitled “Island Hopping”, linked here. And if you’re interested I spoke about my last WestJet experience here.

This year is Scotland’s designated Year of Food and Drink – a great time to go. Read about that here.  2016 will be the Year of Innovation, Architecture and DesignMore on that here.

 

Have you been to Scotland? What is your favourite region?