Discovering Food & Drink in the North East of Scotland
Food and drink tourism is a growing activity in Aberdeenshire and the North East of Scotland. Food is a wonderful way to get under the skin of a place and learn more about an area’s culture and people through the sharing of one of life’s pleasures. There is a description from the World Food Travel group which sums things up nicely, food tourism is “The act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.” We couldn’t say it better really, except maybe with our newest podcast interview with Calum Lockerbie, owner/guide of Bothies & Bannocks.
Calum is a hard working local lad who started off his culinary career with training at Aberdeen College and working his way through kitchens in Aberdeenshire and a time in the French Alps. Calum has a passion for all things local so when he decided it was time for a chance the idea of combining tourism and hospitality more closely was very appealing and led to the start of his own business where he takes visitors on food and drink experiences and tours around the North East of Scotland. He continues to work with local producers and offers a range of activities from his market day cookery class to game shoots and vodka tastings. You can listen to Calum’s story in our latest podcast.
For more inspirational stories about the tours Bothies & Bannocks offer, you can read the blog post from “the Aye Life”, where they describe a market day cookery tour they enjoyed where they made Beetroot Carpaccio and a Monkfish Curry.
Getting a Taste for all things Scottish
If you are the type who loves to try new flavours and “exotic” foods then you’ll love Aberdeenshire. Ok, maybe the vast majority of our tastes aren’t truly exotic, but they are tasty! One special product is from the folks at The Crafty Pickle Co. They do amazing things with food preservation and their Kimchi can be found in several deli’s in town, farmer’s markets and farm shops around the shire. They also offer classes is how to pickle and ferment foods too. You’ll need to keep an eye out on their social media for the latest news.
Has the mystery of baking bread been something you would like to learn? How does sourdough work and how do you achieve that perfect crunchy crust? If you have some spare time and would like to get elbow deep into some dough, then sign up for a baking workshop with the Crannach Bakery on the royal Deeside. Located in their cozy cafe, award-winning baker, Doug finds his delicious bread, scones and cakes are in great demand at local farmers’ markets. Or does the thought of making your own delicious chocolate truffles at the wonderful Chocolate Bar in Ellon tempt you to the dark side? Then be sure to get booking as their workshops and events are always a source of good, messy fun.
Quenching that thirst with local brew
Scotland is known for its Whisky, but did you know that in Aberdeenshire not only do we have Whisky but all of these too: Gin, Rum, Vodka, Cider, Absinthe and too many Beers to count. But not only that, we also have a great selection of soft drinks too with; Ace Kombucha, Summer House drinks and Walter Gregor Tonics to name but a few.
If you fancy taking a whisky tour there are a few options available in the area. There are three in close proximity to the city which all offer tours; Glen Garioch in Oldmeldrum, Fettercairn Distillery in Fettercairn and Royal Lochnagar in Crathie. Each distillery has its own unique character and flavours which you will learn about on the tours. Be sure to book in advance as tours are very popular.
There are several great independent breweries in the North East of Scotland and the “Hop Heaven in Aberdeen” blog from Colin Fraser at VisitAberdeenshire takes your through a city walking tour of the pubs where you can sample some of the area’s great brews. Some of these breweries offer tours and brewing experiences like BrewDog in Ellon, BrewToon in Peterhead and Burnside in Laurencekirk. There are several festivals throughout the year when breweries can really put their name out there such as the Midsummer Beer Happening in Stonehaven and the Beer & Gin Festival in Banchory. There are a few tour providers who will offer custom tours relating to all things liquid, we can help point you in the right direction.
Be sure to look for catering venues who display the “Taste our Best” logo, this is a sign they are committed to serving great local produce and working with regional suppliers to make sure the quality of the food provided is superb. Many deli’s and farm shops will stock locally produced food and drinks, if in doubt just ask.