There are many opportunities to taste the Highland cuisine and local produce within Moidart, Ardnamurchan and the Rough Bounds. The traditional Highland cuisine was based on the rich earthy flavours of game meats (venison, wild boar and grouse), wild mushrooms, aromatic herbs and berries, and was supplemented by dishes of beef, goat, lamb and mutton. These dishes were complimented by the clean, delicate flavours and textures of fresh fish and shellfish, most notably salmon, trout, haddock and herring. These fish were also served cured, salted, pickled or smoked according to choice and circumstance, the latter imparting a deep, rich smoky flavour to the fish. Mussels and oysters were also an important part of the diet.
In addition, there is a long tradition of wholesome broths, stews and soups, cheeses, oatmeal, oatcakes and barley bannocks, a staple of many a Highlander’s diet, as well as haggis, neeps and tatties. Seasonal fruits and wild heather honey sweetened the diet, as well providing essential ingredients, in the case of honey, for mead and other beverages. From the ninth century onwards, Scottish cooking has been subjected to many foreign influences, the earliest being Scandinavian, French, Italian and Dutch.
There are many restaurants and cafes in Moidart, Ardnamurchan, Morar and Morvern that offer the opportunity to sample the traditional Highland cuisine, ranging from simple home cooked fare to a fine dining experience. The Highlands also offers many opportunities to try modern cuisines, some heavily influenced by traditional produce, others offering new insights into culinary excellence, others incorporating culinary styles and taste from many distant parts of the World.
Local produce can be bought from shops and the produce fairs in Moidart, Morar and the Ardnamurchan. For example, fresh venison can be bought from gaming estates and dealers and fresh fish and shellfish (including lobster, langoustine, crab, mussels and scallops) from the fish markets and purveyors of fine foods. Other local products include traditionally smoked salmon and other smoked delicacies, fresh local cheeses, jams, jellies and preserves, organically grown fruits and vegetables, and freshly baked breads, pastries and cakes. Some of these products can also be ordered on-line.
The Highlands also have a reputation for producing some of the finest whiskies in the World (uisge beatha). Distilleries can be found in Fort William, Oban, Isle of Mull and Isle of Skye, offering tours, as well a good selection of single malts.
There are also specialist shops and craft fairs showcasing Highland craftwork, jewellery, toiletries, knitwear and artwork, inspired by the spirit of the Highlands, and providing an ideal Highland gift or treat.
Landscape, climate, history, trade and politics have inextricably shaped the food, drink and craftwork characteristic of the Highlands. We hope you will have an opportunity to sample some of the diverse Highland products on offer.