Sunday, 30 September 2007

Eating Out in the Highlands

As I have already mentioned we had a fab time when we went oop North. We stayed in a beautiful cottage at Tormore Distillery - whilst we were there we went on the look for dolphins, but the blighters didn't keep to their appointments - twice we sat in the cold wind and for nothing. We also:
  • had a lovely walk through the Glenlivet Estate
  • saw snow on the top of Cairngorm (it was -4° one night)
  • Mr C played golf at Craggan and I was official photographer/videographer and scorekeeper
  • went on a horse trek through a forest
  • Mr C watched Elgin City beat East Stirling 6-0
  • visted two distilleries and one organic brewery
  • ate out lots
The first night we stayed over in Perth & went into town to eat - Mr C gave me a Pizza Express club membership so we headed off there. We both had dough balls to start and then I had my usual Fiorentina pizza & Mr C had a Pollo ad Astra.

The next morning we headed North up the A9 - and after a detour to the small distillery of Glenturret (whose whisky is part of the Famous Grouse blend & is now branded as the Famous Grouse Experience). After a tour of the distillery we stopped for lunch in what appeared, I thought, to be a dull little restaurant - however we both had soup and a doorstopper slice of fresh bread and it was very tasty indeed.

Our next dining delight was the following day at Glenfiddich (anyone spotting a trend here?!). We ended up here earlier than expected during our week away as the weather was quite dull and it seemed to make sense. Last year we had enjoyed two fabulous baked potatoes here and we had both been looking forward to going back. So after another distillery tour (well, it is free & you get a dram) we stopped for lunch in the beautiful restaurant. We both repeat ordered our jackets - mine with smoked salmon and cream cheese, Mr C had Orkney cheese & ham. All I can say is they were delicious (picture to follow).

Tuesday was spent dolphin watching and as you already know they didn't show. So after spending a few hours wrapped up like a pass-the-parcel we gave up, went 'home' & I made some delicious Yellow Split Pea soup.
(The day light was quite bright, so the sunglasses aided my water watching as I didn't have to squint!)

The next day we had a lovely walk through the Glenlivet Estate. It was probably about 2.30pm when we'd finished the walk in the car park of Glenlivet distillery however after popping in to look at their lunch menu we decided to hop in the car back to Glenfiddich! This time we both had a sandwich - they make delicious food there so if you get a chance do go in and have a look.

In the evening we went to the Mash Tun in Aberlour. The food was nothing less than fantastic & considering the leaflet we had which classed the establishment as having boutique hotel accommodation we were surprised to find the meals were inexpensive. I enjoyed deep fried brie with an onion chutney and Mr C experimented with Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with a whisky sauce. His plate was clean in minutes - I think he really enjoyed it! For mains I chose the only veggie option which was Savoury Bread & Butter pudding with feta and roasted vegetables. I don't think I would have instinctively chosen this but it was excellent - the portion sized beat me though and I had to leave some. Mr C opted for his all time favourite - a trio sausages (1 haggis, 1 wild boar & leek and 1 venison) served with mash and gravy. Doubtless to say there was another clean plate!

We tried to burn off some of the calories the next day walking around the golf course at Craggan - it was very, very windy but most enjoyable. I mean how can you not enjoy it with scenery like this...
On Friday we went for a horse trek through a forest at Loch Alvie. Lucy, my horse may have been the slowest in Scotland but was very adorable. Mr C rode Murphy...
On Friday evening we took my mum & dad up to the sunset dining experience at Cairngorm which is 3600 feet above sea level - the highest in the UK. After arriving at the base, a funicular takes you up to the summit. Unfortunately it wasn't the clearest evening for the sunset but the views were still fantastic - if you ever go I'd recommend taking a nice warm jumper or coat as its very windy at the top!
Its not the cheapest meal in the world but with the views and experience we would definitely do it again. I started with Mussels and Smoked Haddock with Orkney Cheese sauce and Mr C had Breast of Pheasant with pink peppercorn mousse , red onion marmalade and watercress salad. Mine was delicious but I did have a quick taste of the pheasant & it was divine - something we've never tried before but something I'd definitely have again.
For mains I had the veggie option - Spiced aubergine and lentil parcels with vegetable couscous. Mr C chose the Fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef with rosti potato, asparagus and Ptarmigan whisky sauce.
For dessert we both enjoyed the Hot chocolate fondant with home made vanilla ice cream.
The next day was our last full day in the Highlands so the boys went to watch Elgin City and then we ended the holiday in true Anderson family fashion - with some of the best fish & chips ever and as we were in Scotland we had to have a white pudding too. We sat by the banks of the Spey to devour it and it was the perfect end to a perfect break.

2 comments:

bittersweet me said...

oooh. delicious. I have always eat well in scotland - they make such good use of their local ingredients.

I remember a salad of warm smoked salmon (20 years ago, so much have been good!) and white pudding - yum.

loved that first pic, btw - with the sky.

Jules said...

Sounds fantastic!