From the sea
The sea provides an endless source of inspiration and is an integral part of Shetland’s heritage. As well as familiar fish such as haddock and halibut and shellfish including crab, lobster and mussels, look out menus featuring the more unusual ling and megrim.
Much of Shetland’s fish and shellfish is smoked or pickled, a practice inspired by the area’s Norse background. Gravadlax is a pickled salmon delicacy which is popular in salads or as an oatcake topping and smoked salmon is also popular here. Pick up some before you leave from suppliers such as Blydoit Fish Ltd in East Voe who roast the salmon over smouldering beech chips and whisky barrels.
From the land
Shetland’s livestock graze over wide open spaces from the sea-weed rich shores to the heather-clad hills of the islands. As a result, Shetland lamb and mutton are considered among the best in the world and have a distinctive flavour and Shetland lamb is listed under the European Union’s Protected Designation of Origin status (PDO). This means only lamb produced in a certain way in Shetland can rightly call itself Shetland lamb.
Reestit mutton is another local delicacy to enjoy. Salted in brine, it is then hung to dry above a peat fire. This was traditionally done above the rafters or ‘reest’ of a house and gives it a delicious salty flavour. A great accompaniment is the unique Shetland tattie, characterised by its black colour
You can also sample the delicious and creamy cheeses from across the islands. Visit the Shetland Cheese Company in Skeld and enjoy a tour to find out how milk from the local herds is used to create handmade cheeses.
Shetland is home to the UK’s most northerly brewery, Valhalla, which produces an excellent range of award-winning real ales.
If you want to purchase Shetland's fresh local produce direct from the producers, then visit the monthly farmers' markets that are held across the islands. From Unst, Yell and Vidlin to Walls, Bixter and Tingwall, discover the excellent selection of seafood, meat and sweet delicacies, alongside a range of unique Shetland crafts. Producers are always happy to share tips on how best to prepare and serve their produce.
Browse the listings to find local producers in Shetland.