Surrounded as it is by the teeming waters of the North Sea, you would expect fish and seafood to feature strongly here and you won't be disappointed. From the delicious Bay of Firth oysters and razor clams to the sweet indulgence of lobster and hand-dived scallops plus a range of less familiar local favourites such as torsk, sea witch, and megrim, Orkney’s seafood is full of intense and succulent flavours.
The islands also boast some of Scotland's most fertile farmland, producing beef, pork and lamb for tables across Britain and further afield. The unique flavours of the North Ronaldsay sheep, which feed mainly on seaweed, are particularly in demand and a 'must-taste' for anyone visiting Orkney. Orcadian salads, vegetable and potatoes - often organically grown - compliment a main dish and creamy Orkney cheese and oatcakes round it off perfectly.
While the region delivers a great selection of savoury ingredients, it also provides a truly tempting range of sweets. Why not indulge in some delicious Orkney fudge or ice cream, made from the finest Orcadian dairy products? Or treat yourself to a hamper filled with the islands' delicious produce from Judith Glue's, or the Orkney Hamper Company. For a traditional specialty, try a bannock (a thick, flat scone) with local rhubarb jam.
There's no better way to sample these wonderful flavours for yourself than by purchasing direct from the producers. From fishmongers, butchers and farm shops to the many stalls at the monthly farmers' market in Kirkwall, there are plenty opportunities to buy local. Get expert culinary advice when purchasing direct from producers, who are always happy to share their expertise on their products. More information about produce from the islands can be found at Orkney Quality Food & Drink.
Whisky, ale and wine
There's no shortage of excellent local drinks to accompany the delicious food. There are two breweries, the Highland Brewing Company and the Orkney Brewery, and two distilleries, Highland Park and Scapa. There's nothing better than sampling the 'water of life' at source and a tour of Highland Park Distillery provides the ideal opportunity.
The Orkney Wine Company is a unique enterprise which produces naturally-fermented wine from fruit such as raspberries and elderberries. The popularity of wine on Orkney has led to Scotland’s only wine festival being held there each June. The festival was set up in 2006 and you can sample wine from around the world at a tasting session. Look out for the Wool & Wine Shop, run by the organisers.
With its distinctive flavours and outstanding quality, the food and drink of Orkney is in high demand across the UK and further afield. The chance to sample the regional produce in its local setting is a special treat not to be missed.
Browse the local food producers and attractions listings across Orkney.