Cheese and dairy

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  • The cheese counter at the Balgove Larder Farm Shop, Strathtyrum House Estate, St Andrews, Fife.
    The cheese counter at the Balgove Larder Farm Shop, St Andrews, Fife.
  • I.J Mellis Cheesemonger on Great Western Road in the city centre of Glasgow
    I.J Mellis Cheesemonger on Great Western Road in the city centre of Glasgow
  • A cheeseboard featuring a range of cheeses from the Isle of Arran
    A cheeseboard featuring a range of cheeses from the Isle of Arran
  • Taking a sample from the maturing Isle of Mull cheddar wheels on a farm near Tobermory.
    Taking a sample from the maturing Isle of Mull cheddar wheels on Sgriob-Ruadh Farm Dairy Tobermory
  • Ice Creams from Nardini's in Largs, Ayrshire
    Ice Creams from Nardini's in Largs, Ayrshire

Scotland is one of the finest cheese producers in the world with over two dozen cheese-makers, ranging from large, industrial cheddar creameries to a handful of small, artisan farmhouses. There’s a great variety to sample, from ancient Crowdie and Caboc to the the blue cheeses of Dunsyre and Strathdon. Follow the Scottish Cheese Trail to find out more.

Cheese

Whether you prefer a ripe, robust cheddar or a creamy, crumbly blue cheese, make time to discover some distinctly Scottish flavours. Many delicatessens will usually have a well-stocked cheese counter, or visit farm shops and farmers’ markets to buy cheese close to the source. For real enthusiasts, Iain Mellis has renowned cheese emporiums where you can try before you buy, with four shops in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. When dining out, why not check out what’s on the cheese board? Often restaurants will put together different Scottish cheeses from all corners of the country; a great way to compare and contrast textures and tastes.

Cheddar is the most popular cheese to be made in Scotland and is produced on a number of islands including the Isles of Bute, Arran, Mull, Gigha and Orkney, as well as Lockerbie, Stranraer and Campbeltown on the mainland. Crowdie, a soft, fresh cheese was introduced by the Vikings and is one of the most ancient cheeses in Scotland. Butter-like cheese Caboc, produced in the Ross-shire region of the Highlands, is rolled in toasted oatmeal and best served spread on crackers. Made from the milk of Ayrshire cows, Dunsyre Blue is rich and creamy, with blue spicy veins running through it and has a sweet, mellow taste.

If you want to experience cheese-making in action, visit The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company, based in Anstruther in Fife, where you can see textured Anster cheese being produced in handmade batches. You can even go on a cheese-making course at the West Highland Dairy at Achmore, by Kyle of Lochalsh in the Highlands, to learn how to perfect this art yourself.

Dairy

Ice Cream

It was once the Italians who came to Scotland and led the way as far as ice cream making was concerned. A visit to the East Lothian beaches in summertime, for example, wouldn't be the same without a 99 from Luca's in Musselburgh, an Italian family business legendary for its white vanilla ice cream. In Largs in Ayrshire, Nardini’s has been serving its traditional recipe ice cream since 1935 from a landmark art deco building on the waterfront.

The Scots however have been quick to catch on to the craft and now produce some of the best ice cream in the world. Mackie's in Aberdeenshire, are one such successful 'cow to cone' dairies using milk from their Jersey and Friesian herds to produce their delicious range of multi-award-winning natural ice cream. Orkney Creamery in Orkney and Cream o' Galloway dairy in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway, also produce some outstanding flavours as well as classic vanilla.

Yoghurt

Rowan Glen Dairy Products based at Newton Stewart is Scotland's leading yoghurt producer, producing pots in an assortment of mouth-watering flavours. The company has now extended into drinking yoghurt with the launch of Scotland's first home-produced probiotic drink.

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