When it comes to food and drink, the North-east pretty much has it nailed. From delicious Scottish smoked salmon, to succulent Aberdeen Angus beef, to some of the finest fresh produce around, we're spoiled for choice when it comes to food and the very best ingredients.
Now more than ever, consumers take huge interest in where their food is sourced and what local producers are being used in their dishes. It's a welcome change - the adaptation of the modern diner - and with a new project announced for the city centre, residents and visitors of Aberdeen have something to get excited about and get their teeth into...
Aberdeen Restaurant Week - the first initiative of it's kind to hit the city - has been organised by the team at Aberdeen Inspired, and as their official blogger, I'm more excited than ever to get stuck into exploring more of the city's finest establishments.
To date, I don't think there's ever been anything like this organised by a particular body, so it's great to see Aberdeen Inspired take initiative and create a project which has proven rather popular in other major cities across the world including New York, Houston, Chicago, London and Newcastle to name a few.
Aberdeen Restaurant Week is the first city centre project by Aberdeen Inspired to focus primarily on the hospitality and food and drink industries.
Looking to encourage customers to visit different establishments during what is traditionally known as a quieter time for restaurants, bars and cafes, the project also aims to showcase the very best cuisine the Granite City has to offer, with the addition of great incentives for diners too.
Taking place from Thursday 1st February to Thursday 8th February next month, over 25 different restaurants have signed up to the project which will allow diners to choose from two affordable set menu's.
The idea is that each business comes up with a two-course and a three-course menu from which diners participating in Aberdeen Restaurant Week can take advantage of. The two-course meal is priced at £10 per person, and the three-course dinner will cost £20.18 per person - pretty good prices if you ask me!
Having eaten my way around a lot of Aberdeen, I've quickly realised that the city has so much more to offer than what's on the surface. The further I explore the food and drink scene in the city centre alone, the more I realise there's an array of wonderful restaurants I've never even set foot in, which excites me a lot.
Some of my favourites including Rye & Soda, Moonfish, Musa, Soul, The Adelphi Kitchen, Cafe 52 and Topolabamba are already involved, and I'm very much looking forward to trying out Yorokobi by CJ, Cafe Harmony, Bistro Verde, 1906 restaurant at His Majesty's Theatre and Shri Bheemas who have also signed up to the project.
With such a diverse offering and so many excellent cuisine's available, Aberdeen Restaurant Week will truly showcase a real taste of Aberdeen, as well as giving residents and visitors of the city alike the opportunity to try something new and enjoy new places all at the same time.
Being someone who loves eating out in Aberdeen regularly, I think it's so important to support local restaurants as much as possible. Of course it's completely up to the customer where they would like to eat out, but, when I can, and as often as I can, I always prefer to eat local as I feel I always learn so much more about the eatery and the people behind it.
Just the other day I popped into Cafe 52 and found out that the owner's 80-odd year old mother (also a co-owner) makes all of the desserts by hand at home, creates all of the chutney's and jam's used in the restaurant, and she also brings in fresh produce grown in her garden. This was music to my ears and has already spurred me on to go back again - it's stories like this that truly make me fall in love with Aberdeen's food and drink scene over and over again.
With incredibly well-priced menu's and a fantastic list of restaurants involved, Aberdeen's first Restaurant Week is set to be a foodie extravaganza you won't want to miss out on.
For restaurants within the city centre looking to get involved, there is still plenty of time to sign up, however, in order to take part this year, businesses have to be located within Aberdeen's Business Improvement District (BID) zone. Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute of which all proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.
The website for the project officially launches today and customers/restauranteurs can find out more by visiting www.aberdeenrestaurantweek.com. And if you're an avid listener of Original 106FM then you'll hear lots about the project on the radio too.
So go on, challenge yourself to dive into a new cuisine and fully immerse yourself in the dining culture our beautiful city boasts. Venture into as many restaurants as you can and bring along your friends and family to show them what hidden gems they have available right on their door step.
Enjoy the foodie adventure and don't forget to share your experiences on social media - I want to know where you're all visiting! #ARW2018 #FebruaryFoodies