It has often been said that the Scotland is one of the biggest and best natural larders in the world. With many estates and farms across the Cairngorms National Park there is so much opportunity to taste some of the most delightful treats that are grown or reared in local lochs, hills, rivers and glens.
The Cairngorms National Park is bursting at the seams with venison, Highland beef, lamb, game, trout, salmon, honey, cakes, bread, strawberries, whisky and beer – most of which is used by some of the country’s top restaurants and eateries. So, this month What’s On loosened our belts and got ready to taste the Cairngorms. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it!
Local Foodie Events
Let’s start with What’s On this month at ‘foodie events’. In Deeside the Food and Fiddle Fortnight is a tempting mix of music and food with events running between 12th to 26th October. Kingussie hosts its very own Beer Festival on the 18th and 19th and offers a great opportunity to enjoy the village and local hostelries. Carrbridge is home to the 20th Annual World Porridge making Championships on Saturday 5th October when competitors from all over the world will compete for the coveted Golden Spurtle as they aspire to make that perfect plate of porridge. It’s a great day out with all sorts of activities lined up in the village. On the 7th October Highland Folk Museum hosts a Community Tree planting event where you can enjoy a hog roast, apple cooking demonstrations and top it all off by planting a tree! If you are in to the ‘entente cordial’ then head to Grantown Grammar School on Sunday 13th for their Scottish and French Food Produce Food Fayre. And lastly if it’s a Highland wedding you are planning and looking for inspiration around the menu The Highland Wedding Fayre at Macdonald Aviemore Conference centre on Sunday 27th might just tickle your taste buds.
Local Restaurants, Cafes and Pubs
Within the Cairngorms National Park, you have an abundance of award winning restaurants catering for every taste. If it is fine dining, a quick snack or a lazy Sunday Lunch you will not be disappointed. We have some great places for your family to eat and relax. If you are looking for afternoon tea, a huge slice of chocolate cake and coffee after a day on the hills there is surely one to fit your appetite and purse.
From Field to Plate
The Rothiemurchus farm shop is stocked with fresh rainbow home-smoked trout, beef, venison, haggis, black pudding and bacon and a connoisseurs’ selection of seasonal artisan cheeses and honey for hives on the estate. In addition, shelves are filled with a range of jams, chutneys and preserves. Make a note to get back here in the summer and buy some fabulous juicy strawberries produced on Alvie Estate.
Located within The Glenlivet Distillery, the Coffee Shop offers a wide range of light snacks and refreshments including homemade soup, freshly filled rolls, baked potatoes and a wide range of home-baking, including the world famous ‘ Glenlivet whisky cake’.
Bread and Butter
Ever since the early 17th Century, the Watermill in Blair Atholl has been stone grinding wheat and oats and it is now one of the last eleven working watermills still operational in Scotland. Now home to a bakery, tea rooms and bread making classes, the Watermill is run by Perthshire native Kirsty Cohen and her husband Rami. Fresh daily specialities include bagels, carrot cake and hallah bread (all made with their own flour). The Watermill really is a gem of a find in the Cairngorms National Park and a must visit. They even grind the grain for the panda cakes for the world famous Edinburgh Zoo pandas… so if it’s good enough for their special dietary requirements it’s good enough for us!
Whisky? No Beer!
Scotland maybe famous for it’s whisky, but one local business winning awards left, right and centre is the Cairngorm Brewery. Situated in the village of Aviemore, the brewery produces 3240 litres of beer every day including a range of traditional ales with a fresh new edge, by using a combination of well established brewing methods, the finest malted and roast barley, hops and the crystal clear mountain water that is found on their doorstep.
The award winning Cairngorm Beer can be found in many of the local stores, bars and restaurants around the Cairngorm’s National Park and those who want a wee taste of the ales produced or a tour of the brewing process should visit the Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore.
The Cairngorms National Park is rugged, dramatic and breath-taking, but more than that it’s home to some of the most mouth watering food and drink you will ever taste. So, if you want to support local producers, head over to the ‘they don’t have one in every town’ delis and farm shops, and experience the food and drink passion of the local restaurateurs. Come and let your taste buds tingle with delight!
See www.visitcairngorms.com/toeatdrinkandshop for more ideas and download a copy for the Local Produce Food and Drink Guide
See also the Green Traveller guide to the Cairngorms National Park for a round up of the cosiest bars, most soothing and innovative restaurants and enlivening cafés. Each celebrates the best local and seasonal ingredients, and boasts a warm Scottish welcome to boot.
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