There’s more to Scottish food than haggis and whisky. Its fertile land and the coastal and inland waters make Scotland’s larder a very well-stocked one. Sarah Scott recommends some of Scotland’s top producers that deliver.
Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire: Primarily known for its cattle production, these regions are also famous for soft fruit production.
Atholl Glens of Highland Perthshire provide quality local organic beef and lamb. A co-operative of local farms with extremely high standards of animal welfare and land management, they also offer self-catering ‘organic’ breaks in lodges on a beautiful Perthshire estate. Website.
Soft fruit is synonymous with this area, over half the soft fruit grown in Scotland is done so in Perthshire. Cairn o’ Mohr winery based in East Inchmichael, Errol, produce award-winning wines using only fruit, leaves and flowers that grow on the farm. Visitors can also visit the farm shop for tastings and even take part in thei ever popular annual ‘International Bottle Smash‘. Website.
The Arbroath Smokie (smoked locally caught haddock) is another Scottish delicacy that has been awarded the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Promise. Arbroath has been producing Smokies since the 1800s but more recently smoked ones can be found at Arbroath Smokies Direct who trade from a shop on Arbroath harbour. Website.
Ayrshire and Arran: located on the beautiful Clyde Coast, south-west of Glasgow, Ayrshire and the island of Arran offer an abundance of fresh produce, from ales and whiskies, to seafood.
The Island Cheese Shop on the Isle of Arran offers locally produced cheese including well-loved Arran Mustard Cheddar and Oak Smoked Cheddar, smoked using wood shavings from Glenmorangie whisky barrels. A mail order service is offered on a range of local produce including cheese, beers, preserves and oatcakes. Website.
Dumfries and Galloway: rolling hills and fertile pasture land make Dumfries and Galloway perfect for dairy farming; some of the country’s best dairy produce can be sourced here.
Cream O’ Galloway Dairy produces organic, Fairtrade ice cream and frozen smoothies. The company doesn’t offer a delivery service but the website offers a comprehensive list of stockists right across the UK. Located in the picture postcard town of Castle Douglas, a well known ’foodie’ town in itself, this is no faceless producer. The organic dairy farm is also a well-established Visitor Centre incorporating an ice cream parlour, a tea room, a vast children’s adventure playground as well as cycle and walking trails. For those wishing to get more hands on there are opportunities to create an ice cream flavour and try your hand at making your own ice cream. Website.
Edinburgh and The Lothians: Scotland's grand capital city is noted for its fine dining, which utilises the wealth of produce the country boasts.
The majority of Scotland’s vegetables are grown on the east coast; however Edinburgh is home to a more famous export. Multi-award winning Macsween’s of Edinburgh, ‘guardians of Scotland’s national dish’, have produced haggis in the capital for over 50 years. Macsween's also created the world’s first vegetarian haggis, which now accounts for a quarter of the company’s sales. Website.
The Highlands and Islands: traditionally known as Whisky Country, the north of Scotland is just as famous for its abundance of seafood.
On the banks of Loch Leven overlooking the Mamores mountain range, Lochleven Seafood Café offers (very!) locally sourced seafood. Seasonal crab, lobster, langoustines and scallops can be bought at the shop or are cooked to perfection and served on the café’s terrace which overlooks the loch towards the Pap of Glencoe. Website.
Scottish salmon is prized the world over. Wester Ross Fisheries have been rearing salmon to RSPCA Freedom Foods standards on their low-impact, sustainable fresh and seawater farms since 1977. Website.
Meat reared in the Highlands is also highly regarded, so much so that Orkney beef and Shetland lamb has recently been awarded PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status. In accordance with the European Commission’s Protected Food Name Scheme, foods awarded this prized status can only be produced within an 8km radius of the named area. Macbeth’s are a family-run butcher based in Forres who also rear cattle at its Edinvale Farms situated 800ft above the Moray Firth. Multi-award winning – including 3 Great Taste Gold awards and 3 awards from The Online Retail Awards this year alone – Macbeth's stock a wide range of quality local meats ranging from beef, pork and lamb to seasonal venison and grouse. Website.
Retail Quality Award winning Andy Race Fish Merchants is based at the port of Mallaig, itself famed for its pristine white beaches. Andy Race offers organic peat-smoked salmon, kippers, fresh fish and shellfish and has been commended by the great Rick Stein himself – enough said! Website.