For some, Scotland is unknown in the world of global cuisine. Sure, our warming whiskies, hearty haggis and shortbread are familiar, but there’s much more to Scottish produce than these unwitting icons.
With Scotland Food & Drink Fortnight running from 1 – 16 September, there really is no better time than now, to discover how delicious our produce really is.
Spanish writer Josep Pla once said “a country’s cuisine is its landscape in a cooking pot”. Dig a bit deeper beyond the familiar, and you’ll find this is absolutely the case in Scotland.
Our fertile lands are simply the best for growing the tastiest fruit and vegetables and rearing livestock – Aberdeen Angus Beef anyone? And our waters are full of the finest fish and shellfish – did you know two thirds of the world’s langoustines are landed in Scotland?
And talking of Spain, the Roca Brothers, founders of El Celler de Can Roca (the world’s best restaurant in 2013 and 2015), found new inspiration, knowledge and produce on a recent culinary trip around Scotland with The Macallan, which they’ve taken back to their restaurant in Spain. That’s quite a validation! Watch their Distilling Scotland journey – a full documentary and accompanying book is coming soon.
Here are just a few Food & Drink Fortnight events to whet your appetite:
Spirit of Speyside: Distilled
Elgin, 31 August – 1 September
You might be familiar with the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival held each spring, but whisky is something to savour all year round! Taking place at Elgin Town Hall, #distilled18 will bring together some of the best whiskies, gins, beers and food from Moray Speyside. Why not stay over for a few nights before or after and explore Scotland’s Malt Whisky Trail?
Dundee Flower & Food Festival
Dundee, 31 August – 2 September
Taking place in idyllic Camperdown Country Park on the outskirts of the city, this long-established festival effortlessly combines the best in food, horticulture and live entertainment. There’s cookery demonstrations from chefs including 2016 BBC MasterChef: The Professionals winner, Gary Maclean. Cbeebies stars J B Gill (Down on the Farm and former JLS singer/songwriter) and Mr Bloom aka Ben Faulks (Mr Bloom’s Nursery) and his band will be on hand to entertain you. Don’t miss the craft fair, fantastic floral displays and the open-to-all Scotch Broth Championships.
Huntly Hairst Food & Farming Festival
Huntly, 1 September
Rural Aberdeenshire is regarded by many as the larder of Scotland and the pretty town of Huntly lies right at its heart. The Hairst, or Harvest Festival, is a big community event in the regional calendar that celebrates the outstanding produce from Aberdeenshire and beyond. From a fabulous farmers’ market featuring over 50 stalls, to the World Stovies Championships and the popular Tin Hut Supper, this is one festival not to miss.
Great Perthshire Picnic
Various venues, 1 – 30 September
Perthshire is a veritable nirvana for foodies and it won’t be difficult to find enough to fill this festival, even if it is a month long! This year’s Picnic will include over 60 events taking place across Big Tree Country. Join local wine producer Cairn o’ Mohr on a foraging foray, before heading for their Blending Lab to concoct a foraged cocktail. Visit the new Lindores Abbey Distillery as they host their first food market, or head for Cultybraggan Prisoner of War Camp near Comrie, for POW Pizza!
Black Isle Brewery, 7 – 8 September
Here’s a beer festival with a difference! For a kick off, it takes place in September and the organisers also love a theme. This year they’ve gone for One Million BC, so the fancy dress should be interesting! Some outstanding beers will be on offer alongside delicious local food, and amazing live music and dancing will mean partying into the wee small hours! Weekend festival camping is available.
Best of the West Festival
Inveraray, 7 – 9 September
This 3-day event, taking place at iconic Inveraray Castle, returns for its eighth year and celebrates the very best in Scottish music, food and drink. Celebrity chefs including Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean will be cooking up a storm in the Festival Kitchen. There will be plenty of opportunities to tuck into local delights from Food from Argyll and music headliners include Skipinnish, Bwani Junction, Tide Lines, Seven Nations, Heron Valley and Coaltown Daisies.
Autumn Food & Craft Festival at Brodie Castle
Near Auldearn, 8 – 9 September
Dating back over 400 years, Brodie Castle, not far from Nairn, is the spectacular and historic setting for this inaugural festival. Many producers will showcase their food and drink in the castle grounds for you to sample and buy and there will be arts and crafts demonstrations throughout the castle, in the castle stables and the courtyard. The castle is well worth a visit and has indoor and outdoor play areas for the kids too.
The Great British Food Festival
Floors Castle, by Kelso, 8 – 9 September
The Festival calls at magnificent Floors Castle near Kelso with a packed programme for all the family. Try some tasty street food, see the Cake Off judging, watch demos from a fantastic line-up of celebrity and local chefs and bakers, and witness the fun of the Meat, Heat and Treat categories in the Men vs Food Challenges. Entry to Floors Castle itself, Scotland’s longest inhabited castle, is just £5 per person for festival ticket holders.
Stranraer Oyster Festival
Dumfries & Galloway, 14 – 16 September
Scotland’s seafood is amongst the best in the world and Loch Ryan oysters have to be tasted to be believed. This is the second year the Stranraer Oyster Festival has been hosted by this seafaring town. There’s live music, lots of fun family events planned, a makers’ craft market, cooking demos, the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championships, fireworks and of course the finest and freshest oysters and seafood you can imagine.
Newmilns Food Festival
Ayrshire, 15 September
With over 60 producers showcasing their wares in the marquee, this festival is a real treat for both foodies and those who just love tasty food and drink. There’s also a packed programme of demonstrations taking place throughout the day, with Gary Maclean (does he ever take a day off?!) making an easy and healthy seafood-pasta dish. Why not stay on for Sunday’s Newmilns Arts & Crafts Festival?
These are just a few of the events taking place during Scotland Food & Drink Fortnight. There are lots more to browse on VisitScotland.com and remember to share your food and drink fortnight highlights using #ScotFoodFort.