Food & Drink in the Cairngorms

Eat & Drink

Cairngorms Food & Drink

Love food? You’re in the right place

The Cairngorms is increasingly making a name for itself as a premier destination for fine locally-sourced food and drinks.

The Park is brimming with foodies who are passionate about eating well, and that includes sourcing quality homegrown ingredients, sourcing seasonally and reducing food miles and waste as much as possible. Essex magazine even recently described the east Cairngorms as “Scotland’s emerging foodie destination” and a “dynamic dining destination”.

Amongst the foods that this region is most famous for are high quality venison and beef, raised free on the land, as well as salmon and trout, who thrive in the clean rivers and lochs here. And of course, the region is also world-famous for whisky and, increasingly, gin. 

One of the most endearing qualities about the food scene here is the number of independent producers operating niche, artisan shops, from the likes of Braemar Chocolate shop to the Bothy Bakery, formerly Aviemore Mountain Cafe to Alvie Forest Food set outside amidst the pine trees at Dalraddy Holiday Park. There are also a growing number of food festivals celebrating local produce.

Cairngorms food and drink
KJ’s Bothy Bakery, Grantown on Spey. Image: Catriona Parmenter

Cairngorms Food Bucket List

We asked a handful of local foodies for their ‘pick’ for a special treat while out and about in the Cairngorms. And, while it might not be picnic season typically in November, with the nights drawing in there’s nothing better than delicious foods by the fire or as a winter pick-me-up home picnic!

A great source of fresh, locally produced foods can be found at any one of the farmers markets that take place regularly throughout the months of April – September in Grantown on Spey, Braemar and Kingussie. 

Rothiemurchus is fast becoming a foodie hub with the estate, and Farm Shop in particular, often hosting food festivals and celebrating quality local produce. It’s also been chosen by Rick Stein and the BBC when they celebrated ‘Food Heroes’. Its resident foodie is Daisy Grant of Rothiemurchus. She nominates Rothie Venison and Rothie Highland Beef. “Succulent, slow matured and melt in the mouth,” she says. All meat is prepared on site by resident butchers Brian and Fraser and you can even order click and collect via their online farm shop.

Cairngorms food and drink
Rothiemurchus Beef

The Golden Spurtle – World Porridge Making Championships, which takes place annually in Carrbridge, would obviously argue that the perfect way to start your day in the Cairngorms is with a bowl of porridge. Organiser and local foodie Karen Henderson suggests porridge can really help you get going in these colder, darker months and says: “I’m a sweet girl, so it’s usually with honey, then nuts and seeds too.” The event is in its 29th iteration this year and takes place at Carrbridge Village Hall on 8th October from 10am to 4pm. It draws a global crowd and lots of unusual ways to eat porridge you’d never before have imagined!

Cairngorms food and drink
Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship

Jack Smith grew up in the valley and has always been fascinated by the flora and fauna here – so much so that he even made a gin out of it, aptly called ‘Cairngorm Gin’. Is there a better named gin to sip on while you’re here?

Cairngorms food and drink
Cairngorm Gin

Cathy Williams worked for decades in marketing but her real passion was always food, which is why she is now living her dream, with her husband, having set up luxury boutique Braemar Chocolate. Of all her delicious bites she most recommends you try the “Speyside raspberry bar”; a chocolate dark bar filled with a ruby chocolate raspberry gin ganache, with a dot of raspberry gel. “The gin is made by Caorunn at the Balmenach distillery, so is a true local product, and pairs beautifully with the ruby chocolate in the ganache and the dark chocolate of the bar,” she says.

Cairngorms food and drink
Braemar Chocolate Shop

Seeing as September is also National Fishing Month it would be remiss of us not to, also, recommend local fishmonger Pro Fish in Aviemore. Its white fish and shellfish comes straight off the boats in Scottish ports and its smoked range is from local smokehouses with all its fish processed inhouse by its four professional filleters.

Our Food & Drink Producers here in the Cairngorms

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