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Argyll and the Islands is a stunningly beautiful place and the food produced here reflects the quality of the landscape in which it is grown, reared, caught and created.
So Wild About Argyll’s new venture, Taste of Place Trails, is on to a winner from the start.
Food and drink producers are preparing a selection of limited edition ‘eat the view’ picnics – with everything on the menu created from the sights around.
Tourists will then be guided to an ‘Insta-worthy’ viewpoint to savour the sights they are eating.
And what a menu Argyll folk are setting before them: freshly caught seafood, meat, dairy, smoke-house specials, game, foraged wild food and incredible baking and other foods small-batch made with skill.
To accompany this feast are beer, wine and even coffee from roasters in the area and Argyll-grown tea.
The Taste of Place Trails initiative is a partnership led by Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative (AITC) with support from VisitScotland Growth Fund, Food from Argyll, Argyll and Bute Council and CalMac.
Iain Jurgensen, who chairs the AITC, said: ‘Argyll has built a strong reputation for top quality food and drink and the Taste of Place Trails have been designed to offer visitors an immersive experience as part of their travels.’
He explained: ‘Experiences and the great outdoors are so important to tourists right now whilst we continue to navigate the restrictions, and what better way to enjoy it than meeting the producer, hearing their story and enjoying an exceptional view.’
Councillor Robin Currie, leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘Argyll and Bute offers a lot for your eyes and taste buds.
‘We are delighted to be welcoming visitors back again to this stunning part of Scotland where around every corner you will find the perfect picnic spot.’
David Adams McGilp, regional director for VisitScotland, added that the idea combined many of the strengths of the region.
‘We know that even pre-pandemic, visitors want a much more immersive experience in the places they go, to create a more meaningful emotional connection and memories.
‘Food and cultural tourism are a key part of this trend and will contribute to the economic recovery from the pandemic.’
The ‘eat the view’ specials will be available at The Fisherman’s Kitchen on Seil, Tobermory Fish, Cakes in a Callbox near Loch Awe, Food from Argyll’s Café at the Pier in Oban, The Blairmore Café near Dunoon, Argyll Coffee Roasters near Tighnabruaich, Glenegedale House on Islay and Beinn an Tuirc Distillery and Café in Kintyre to name but a few.
Just bring your appetite!
- The Seafood Trail: Argyll’s Atlantic waters and sea lochs deliver bountiful fresh fish and shellfish and with numerous hotels, bars, restaurants and stalls all with stunning sea views. Argyll has a long tradition of fish smoking. The region is home to more than 10 smokehouses, some with visitor centres where you can watch the process.
- The Vegan Trail: As well as dedicated vegan establishments, many more are offering great vegan food as key dishes on their menus. Cafés, hotels, restaurants and bed and breakfasts across Argyll are constantly adding vegan food to give visitors an exciting choice and will offer great produce and foraged ingredients.
- The Spirits and Beer Trail: Argyll is famed for its single malt whiskies, with 15 distilleries dotting what is known as the ‘whisky coast’ with 10 on Islay and Jura, and two more planned, and Campbeltown is a distinct whisky region. The area has some famous, well-established gin distilleries and breweries with exciting new additions.
- The Coffee and Cake Trail: Home-baking is a source of pride at local cafés and tea rooms and competition is fierce. The area is undergoing a coffee renaissance, with no less than four specialty coffee roasters in the region supplying high-quality coffee to cafés, restaurants and hotels. Did you know that tea is even being grown and blended in Argyll.
- The Farm Produce Trail: Argyll’s hills and pastures provide some of the best meat and game in Scotland, including Kintyre, Cowal, Islay, Bute and Mull, where livestock feed on lush, herb-filled pastures. This prime, quality, slow-grown meat, including salt marsh lamb, features on menus throughout Argyll. The Argyll hills are also home to many thousands of deer, so venison is another delicacy. Kintyre, Gigha and Mull are famed for their milk, which is crafted into delicious dairy products, including cheese and ice cream.