Traditional Scottish Food and Drink (part 3) Festivals, Delicatessens & Markets

Scottish food and drink(Continued from part 2) Four great ways to see and sample Scottish food and drink are (i) food festivals, (ii) local delicatessens, (iii) smokehouses or smokeries, and (iv) local farmers’ markets – where products should have been grown, reared, and caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked, processed and/or packaged by the stallholder.

If you’d like to take a Highland Culinary Sightseeing Tour with us, then contact us now to get the ball rolling.

Four of the best places to sample Scottish food and drink

Highland Food Festivals

Local Scottish food and drink festivals in The Highlands include:

  • Highland and Moray Food and Drink Festival – top quality butchers, bakers, brewers, local bars and restaurants, delicatessen, foodie retailers, seafood, distillers, artisan coffee, chocolatier, gourmet ice cream and so much more.
  • Inverness Whisky & Gin Festival, hosted by various venues, is a 5-day celebration of Scotland’s finest whisky and craft gin. The events include: master classes, tastings, food, music and plenty of Highland ‘craic’.
  • Cawdor Castle hosts an annual Living Food Festival each September, featuring 35 stalls of high-quality food and drink produce and over 25 artisan crafts exhibitors.
  • Elgin Food & Drink Festival takes place each August with over 80 exhibitors.
  • The World Porridge Making Championships, held since 1996 in the Highlands village of Carrbridge. The ‘oaty cook-off ‘draws competitors from across the globe, who compete for the coveted Golden Spurtle trophy and title of “World Porridge Making Champion.” Not satisfied with just oats, water and salt, competitors also battle it out for the speciality trophy where past winners include: Sticky Toffee Porridge, Fruity Date Porridge and Pinhead Risotto with Lemon and Thyme and Parmesan – the possibilities are endless!

Highland Delicatessens

Smoked meats - a traditional Scottish food and drink offering

Smoked meats – Copyright © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam, all rights reserved.

Local Highland delicatessens, specialising in Scottish food and drink, often with cafes attached, include:

  • The foodhall & delicatessen at Brodie Countryfare. Great to combine with a trip to Brodie Castle, Brodie Countryfare also has a large, upmarket range of traditional Scottish clothing, giftware and home interiors.
  • The Cheese Pantry at Connage Highland Dairy. A renowned cheesemonger and café, stocking a wide range of European and local artisan cheeses to buy or order on a tasty platter. The dairy produces ten award-winning varieties of handcrafted cheese range from delicious crumbly cheddar and smoked cheese to brie and soft creamy Crowdie. These are made from the milk of their own herd of cows that graze on the rich clover pastures along the shore of the Moray Firth.
  • The Corner on the Square overlooking the square in the historic village of Beauly – a lovely stopping off point after a tour of this beautiful village and Beauly Priory, not to mention a trip to Ffordes Photography (one of the best UK photography stores) if you are a photographer.
  • Comfort Foods, Inverness. A family run deli operating as a butchers, greengrocers, take away and delicatessen – with a complete range of fresh meat and organic produce, take away treats adn their very own Eilean Dubh Smoke House range of goods.
  • Elephants in the Pantry, Grantown-on-Spey. Supplying a wide range of local and international delicacies – buy a Handmade Scottish Christmas Cake, or a Scottish or Scotch Whisky themed food hamper.

Highland Smokehouses and Smokeries

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath Smokie in the smokehouse – Copyright © VisitScotland / Paul Tomkins, all rights reserved.

There are many small, artisan smokehouses and smokeries around the Highlands and Islands. Some double as cafes, restaurants and delicatessens serving traditional Scottish food and drink. Mass-produced smoking and curing has been used to disguise poorer quality, less fresh produce. So local, hand-made, artisan producers is the way to go. The unique blends of ingredients used in the smoking and curing process can include: rum, whisky, juniper, molasses, Demerara sugar, sea salt, black peppercorns and smoke from peat and oak whisky barrel chippings. Exact recipes are closely guarded secrets. Produce may be dry salted before smoking, or may be marinated first. Did you know that you can also buy and enjoy:

  • Smoked garlic, smoked olives, smoked olive oil, smoked rapeseed oil, smoked forest mushrooms, smoked chillies, smoked pepper, smoked peppers, smoked chilli flakes, smoked beef fillet, smoked pate, prawns and mussels, even some beers, whisky and lapsang souchong tea are smoked. Though not particularly Scottish, fruits, nuts, chocolate, vanilla pods, alcohol, water and even rice are now being smoked by aficionados looking for deeper flavours.

According to the Oxford Companion to Foods, as early as 3500 BC the Sumerian civilisation of Mesopotamia was smoking fish, and the T’ang dynasty (AD 618-907) smoked apricots. The BBC state that Smoking fish in Europe can be traced back to 2000BC.

Highland Farmers’ Markets

Local Highland Farmers’ Markets are a great way to sample and buy Scottish food and drink, as well as other hand-made articles. Local markets to us include:

  • Inverness Farmer’s Market – held on the first Saturday of the month
  • Ardersier Farmers Market – held on the second Saturday of the month
  • Dingwall Farmer’s Market – held on the second Saturday of the month
  • Ferintosh/Culbokie Community Market, Culbokie, on the Black Isle; held on the third Saturday of the month
  • The Cairngorms Farmers Market, held monthly on Sundays in Grantown on Spey
  • Slightly further afield, other Highland Farmers’ markets include: Elgin Farmers’ Market, Blairgowrie Community Market, Perth Farmers’ Market, Poolewe Tuesday Market, Ullapool Farmers’ Market and Wick Farmers’ Market.

Another wonderful place to see and sample Scottish and Highland Produce is Inverness Victorian Market. Here’s a link to an album of pictures of this wonderful Victorian Market.

Inverness Victorian Market

If you’d like to take a Highland Culinary Sightseeing Tour with us, then contact us now to get the ball rolling.