Visitors to Scotland during 2015 are invited to create their own brilliant moments as they discover the world-class, award-winning, protected-status food and drink Scotland is famous for. From Whisky Month to the seafood trail and Michelin-starred restaurants, there is a food and drink experience for all tastes and ages in Scotland. Throughout the Year of Food & Drink, VisitScotland is highlighting the country’s ‘land to larder’ ethos and showcasing to visitors how the amazing Scottish land creates bountiful and delicious produce.
There will be a feast of experiences to whet the appetite of visitors including a packed programme of food-focused events and experiences such as the Big Burns Supper Festivals and the World Porridge Making Championships! Here’s a taster of some of the amazing experiences that visitors can expect…
Raise a glass…
Isle of Harris’ first distillery to open
Spring 2015, Isle of Harris
The Isle of Harris Distillery in Tarbert will be the first distillery on the island when it opens in spring 2015. The Distillery will give its guests a warm welcome with personal guided tours and the rare opportunity to find out how the first Harris whisky will be made. Local produce will be on offer in its canteen and shop, for more information go to http://www.harrisdistillery.com/.
May is Whisky Month and World Whisky Day
Whisky month is a celebration of the water of life and the many varieties of whisky that are produced in Scotland. The month starts with the popular Sprit of Speyside Festival, takes in Edinburgh’s Whisky Strammash and the international celebrations around World Whisky Day (15 May) and ends with the blissful surroundings of Feis Ile – The Islay Festival. For a full list of events go to: www.visitscotland.com.
Arbikie Distillery producing Scottish vodka and gin
Near Abroath, Angus
Farm-to-bottle is the ethos at Arbikie Distillery in Angus, which is producing its first batches of vodka, whisky and gin with ingredients grown on its farm. The vodka is made from potatoes grown by the three farming brothers, who harvest the potatoes and turn them into a smooth, creamy and flavoursome vodka that can be blended with botanicals into delicious cocktails. As well as vodka, they are producing The Arbikie Highland Estate Single Malt which has revived whisky making on the land which was first recorded in 1794. Whisky drinkers will have to wait a few years as the first batches are still maturing in the bourbon, sherry and red wine casks. If you can’t wait for the whisky, Arbikie Distillery will also be producing an ultra-premium dry gin from spring 2015, and a visitor centre is in the pipeline and will offer tastings of their gin, vodka and whisky. For more info: www.arbikie.com.
Lick the plates clean…
The Old Forge – Britain’s most remote mainland pub
Knoydart, north west Scotland
There are few things better than a cold pint after a long hike, and if you’ve walked the 18 miles over Munros or canoed the seven mile sea crossing, visitors to The Old Forge definitely have earned their drink! There are no roads to the pub, which makes it the most remote pub on mainland Britain and fantastic food and drink is served daily including the freshest seafood from the coast and fisherman nearby. There’s also lots of live music for everyone who makes the journey to the pub, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own instruments or borrow the pub’s. For more information: http://www.theoldforge.co.uk/
Taste bud trails…
Discover the West Coast Seafood Trail
The west coast of Scotland is famous for its world-class seafood and visitors to the area can enjoy tasting their way along the coast on the Seafood Trail. The Trail takes in some of Scotland’s finest seafood restaurants, where guests can enjoy a catch of the day whilst watching the fishermen come back from sea and bring in their haul. The Trail winds its way through Argyll and explores the rugged coastline, lochs and unspoiled countryside – all of which make the seafood taste so exceptional. For more information go to www.visitscotland.com.
The Perthshire Chocolate Trail
Perthshire is not widely known as being one of the world’s greatest chocolate producing regions but it is home to many world-class artisan chocolatiers who supply some of the UK’s biggest brands. Chocolatiers carefully source their desired coco and then add a variety of Scottish ingredients to give the chocolate a Scottish twist. Iain Burnett: The Highland Chocolatier is a multi-award-winning chocolatier and is part of the Perthshire Chocolate Tail. His customers include British Airways First Class, Claridges, international golf resorts, Gordon Ramsay Royal Hospital Road Restaurant, Harvey Nichols, and members of the British Royal Family. Visitors can take a tour of his workshop, enjoy a chocolate tasting and buy their own chocolates from the Scottish Chocolate Centre shop. Also on the Perthshire Chocolate Trail, a visit to Taysteful will leave the taste buds tingling as you witness locally sourced fruit, cream and other ingredients being made into succulent chocolates. Classes and workshops are also on offer at their Blairgowrie base. For more info go to: www.visitscotland.com.
Weird and wonderful food festivals…
Scone Palace Chilli Festival
September 2015, Perthshire
Some like it hot and this is the perfect festival for chilli heads! There are chilli variations of popular foods, experts on hand to answer questions, live music and a chilli eating contest. Make a weekend of it and spend time chilling out at Scone Palace – one of Scotland’s most important stately homes as Macbeth and Robert the Bruce were both crowned there. For more info: www.scone-palace.co.uk.
The Golden Spurtle – porridge making championships
October 2015, Scottish Highlands
2015 will see the 22nd annual World Porridge Making Championships take place in the Scottish Highland village of Carrbridge in the Cairngorms National Park. The event draws competitors from around the globe to compete for the coveted Golden Spurtle trophy and title of World Porridge Making Champion. It also celebrates the diversity of porridge through a speciality section, and has porridge, craft and local produce stalls for visitors. For more info go to: www.goldenspurtle.com.
For more information on holidays in Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com and use #TasteScotland on social media.