1. Follow the Scotch Malt Whisky Trail
Follow the world-famous Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside to seven working distilleries, including a fascinating cooperage and a historic distillery. From Benromach to Dallas Dhu, a perfect time capsule of whisky-making; from Glen Moray to Strathisla, home and heart of Chivas Regal; from the Glen Grant distillery to the Speyside Cooperage where real coopers work with incredible speed and skill; from Glenfiddich to The Glenlivet and the Cardhu distillery, Scotland’s whisky trail signposts lead you through the picturesque lush countryside of Speyside.
2. Make the Pilgrimage to the Three Chimneys
Eddie and Shirley Spear’s restaurant in the north-west corner of Skye is hardly short of accolades. Included in the list of the top 10 restaurants in the world and serving the freshest local produce in a cosy lochside setting, this is one of the most scenic places in Scotland to dine. Stay in a bedroom suite here and you’ll awake to a view stretching to the Outer Hebrides. It’s the ultimate foodie pilgrimage.
3. Eat a Smokie in ArbroathWatch your haddock being traditionally smoked over a barrel. Get them at a farmers’ market from Iain Spink, of RR Spink & Sons then eat them warm from the newspaper on the beach in Arbroath. If the weather turns, the But ‘n’ Ben at Auchmithie (the real home of the smokie) always has some super fresh ones on the menu.www.arbroathsmokies.net
4. Dine in Style on Scotland’s Orient Express
Visitors are spoilt rotten on board this luxury train. Savour delicious, seasonal food while wending the way through some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland.
5. Follow the Scottish Seafood Trail
The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar at Cairndow has been an established favourite for years. Political careers have apparently been decided over an oyster or two there. But it’s just one stop on the stunning Scottish Seafood Trail that winds its way through the West coast of Scotland taking in fine dining restaurants and chilled out eateries all with one thing in common: the freshest Scottish seafood possible.
6. Grab your Chef’s Whites and Cook yourself a Treat
With the immense amount of great produce for sale at Scotland’s farmers’ markets and local shops, you might be in need of some guidance when it comes to cooking it. Award winning chefs Nick Nairn, Tom Lewis and Martin Wishart run cook schools in Port of Menteith, Callander and Leith respectively. Or there are whisky cookery classes for men available with Glenfiddich at Edinburgh’s School of Food & Wine.
7. Pick your own
Scotland (especially Fife, Angus and Perthshire) is renowned for its berries; and the best way to experience the best of them is to get out there and pick them yourself. Everyone munches as they pick, but there are often great strawberry teas for those with room left. Increasingly, farm shops with adventure playgrounds and mazes made of maize are springing up to keep everyone in the family happy.
8. Nibble your way through Scotland’s Farmers’ Markets
There are over 70 regular farmers’ markets across Scotland and they’re great places to find local specialities like Arbroath Smokies, heather honey, porridge bars (stocking brown sugar, cream, whisky and honey), live shellfish and venison pies.
9. Taste some traditional smoked products
Set in an 18th-century inn by the River Teviot, this Borders smokery produces smoked salmon, trout, duck, homemade smoked pâté and cheese. Just as impressive is its beautiful riverside garden where you can watch out for otters, who are also fans of the fish!
10. Introduce yourself to Cheese Heaven
Visit Iain Mellis’ emporiums for a mouth-watering selection of farmhouse cheeses. There are four shops in Edinburgh, one in Glasgow and one in St Andrews and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them – you can smell them before you can see them! The cheeses are specially ripened so you’ll only get cheese when it’s at its best. Alternatively, you could visit the cheese makers direct on the Scottish Cheese Trail.