Visit some of the best cafes & restaurants from A Taste of the Highlands

  08 Jul '22   |  Posted by: Birlinn

Ghillie Başan’s latest book, A Taste of the Highlands, is more than your average cookbook – it is a collection wrought with love of Highland culture and cuisine, packed with scrumptious recipes, both originals and those from local eateries. Indeed, some of Ghilie’s recipes come straight from genuine producers, cafes, and restaurants in the Highlands, some off-the-beaten track places you can visit yourself on your next road trip. Tourists flock to the stunning Scottish Highlands during the summer months, but when you bring along A Taste of the Highlands, you’ll be sure to have an entirely authentic Highland ‘foodie’ experience. Check out Ghillie’s favourites which made it into this splendid book.

KJ’s Bothy Bakery – Nettle Loaf with Poached Eggs (p.16)

At Kirsten (KJ) Gilmour’s pop-up bakery, you can purchase delicious, freshly-baked artisan breads, scones, and other pastries inspired by her New Zealand heritage. KJ served customers straight from her doorstep in Grantown-on-Spey during lockdown, and even though the bakery has moved, it’s still a takeaway-style venue, making it ideal for grabbing breakfast before an early morning start on the road. Ghillie features KJ’s unique, tasty recipe for Nettle Loaf and Poached Eggs in A Taste of the Highlands. KJ is always inventing creative new recipes, and she hand picks the perfect nettles for this loaf from Lynbreck Croft. KJ’s Bothy Bakery is well worth a visit!

The Old Post Office – Spiced Parnsip and Honey Soup (p. 32)

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In the village of Kincraig, you’ll find the Old Post Office Café Gallery tucked away. Run by a local husband and wife duo, this café offers locally-sourced produce and delicacies, from strawberries from Easel Farm to cream cakes by the local ‘Queen of Cakes,’ Gunn Borrowman. The Old Post Office offers you the chance to try wonderful recipes from all over the community. You can also peruse the work of local artists and admire the lovely views over the River Spey. In A Taste of the Highlands, you can learn how to make their delicious Spiced Parsnip and Honey Soup.

MacGregor’s Bar ­– Mussels in Chunky Tomato Sauce (p. 69)

MacGregor’s Bar in Inverness is a hub for storytelling, music, art, and community. There are live musical performances there seven nights a week, with various instruments strewn about the pub if you fancy picking up an accordion and joining in! They’re known for their sensational food, as well. The Mussels in Chunky Tomato Sauce, which we have shared in a blog post of its own, is perfect to pair with a Highland dram. After your trip, you can head home and make this dish yourself!

Loch Leven Hotel – Devil’s Staircase Gravadlax with Beetroot (p. 50)

Image Sources: The Food Market & Trivago

In the West Highlands, the Loch Leven Hotel is the ideal place to stay or merely stop for a drink or a bite to eat after traversing the stunning Glencoe landscape. The hotel has an onsite gin distillery, Pixel Spirits Distillery, as well as an award-winning bar restaurant. Ghillie has included an innovative, Finnish-inspired recipe for locally-sourced salmon cured in their Devil’s Staircase gin served on oatcakes with a drop of creamed horseradish, a sprinkling of cress, and pickled cucumbers.

Glen Wyvis Goodwill ­ ­­– Spiced Gin Shortbread (p. 187)

Image Sources: & BBC

Distillery-hopping is part of any good Highland adventure! At the base of the looming Ben Wyvis, GlenWyvis Distillery is especially worth checking out, as it’s Scotland’s only community-owned distillery. Over 3,500 original investors brought a distillery back to Dingwall in 2017 after nearly 100 years. This unique distillery is known for its delightful Spiced Gin Shortbread at Christmastime, which will help warm up even the chilliest evening in Dingwall. You can pick up a bottle of the GlenWyvis GoodWill Gin after you tour the venue, and then read the full shortbread recipe in A Taste of the Highlands.

Cocoa Mountain – Hot Chocolate (p. 212)

Image Source: BBC

For a warming drink of a different kind, you can’t beat this recipe for Hot Chocolate from Cocoa Mountain. Set in the windy hamlet of Balnakeil Craft Village in the north-west Highlands, Cocoa Mountain produces high-quality chocolate with all sorts of inventive, natural flavours like geranium, cinnamon, salted caramel, and lemongrass in a delectable buttery truffle form. You can recreate their fabulous hot chocolate at home with an espresso machine, hob, or even microwave. Ghillie outlines the simple but lovely recipe towards the end of the book.

Puffin Croft – Jumbleberry Jam (p. 152)

Image Source: Venture

As the UK’s most northerly petting farm, B&B, and farm shop, there are many great reasons to pay a visit to Puffin Croft in John O’Groats. With gorgeous views of the Orkney islands, this beautiful spot was featured in an episode of the Channel 5 series, Make a New Life in the Country. The owner, Cara, left her city life behind after the passing of her mum to be closer to nature and live her dream of caring for a whole menagerie of adorable animals. At the Puffin Croft farm shop, Cara’s Jumbleberry Jam is a hit, and you can learn how to make it yourself with A Taste of the Highlands.

For all of these delicious local recipes and more, get your copy of A Taste of the Highlands today!

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