Life & style

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The wild foods and foraging to be found in Scotland's woods

2 Jul 2013

Wild foods, once a common means of seasonal sustenance, are enjoying a renaissance in Scotland

Expansive views and dramatic, panoramic vistas of the snowy hills are usually what the tourists come to the Cairngorms National Park to see. ‘If you suggest they go for a walk in the woods, they say, “Why would I do that?” They see trees as an…

A guide to the smokehouses in the North Highlands of Scotland

2 Jul 2013

Sylvie Docherty tours the artisan smokehouses of the North Highlands

The handful of cottage-industry smokehouses found in the far north of the mainland continue to use traditional smoking and curing methods, drawing from the vast harvest Scotland has to offer and attracting visitors and locals alike. Owners tell how the…

Why the Highland cow enjoys regal status across Scotland and beyond

2 Jul 2013

One of Scotland’s most distinguished ambassadors is right at home in the Cairngorms National Park

Scotland is home to many native bovine breeds: Ayrshire, Shetland, Aberdeen Angus, Luing and Belted Galloway, as well as one of the oldest and noblest, the handsome red, tufty Highland, which thrives picturesquely across the country from exposed…

How Caledonian Bison are rearing rare breeds of cattle in Aberdeenshire

2 Jul 2013

Bison and Wagyu beef on the rise in the North East of Scotland

The North East has long proved fertile ground for rearing rare breeds, with recent years bringing a boom in some of the most exciting the country has to offer. Scott Shand and his wife Shelagh have been at the heart of the rise, launching their company…

Why the fish and shellfish from North Highlands of Scotland are amongst the best in the country

2 Jul 2013

Fish and shellfish farmed in the North Highlands travel to the top kitchens in Britain and Europe

Salmo Salar (the Atlantic salmon) is an extraordinary creature. Capable of living in both fresh and sea waters, and able to navigate across thousands of miles with pin-point accuracy back to the very gravel bed in which it spawned, it’s a fish that has…

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The Scottish town that developed a 'signature menu' based on local food and eating customs

2 Jul 2013

The town of Huntly, aided by food specialist Simon Preston, develop a Signature Menu

Illustrating the strong links between culture and food in Aberdeenshire, food events specialist Simon Preston spent a three-month residency in Huntly in 2012 investigating local food and eating customs, helping to develop a Signature Menu for the town

The rare breed animals thriving in Cairngorms National Park landscape

2 Jul 2013

Cairngorms are perfectly suited to farming Europe's hardiest rare breed Soay sheep, deer and pigs

‘Wild farming’ in these mountains began in 1952, when Swedish herder Mikel Utsi reintroduced Britain’s only herd of reindeer from Arctic Scandinavia. He set out to prove that Rangifer tarandus (the same species as caribou) could live and breed again in…

The gluten-free bread and home-grown oils made in Scotland

2 Jul 2013

The Aberdeenshire food scene has a well-earned reputation for nurturing innovation

Where many parts of Scotland support their local food scene with annual awards, the North East has a particularly strong record of encouraging new ideas and new businesses. Established as far back as 1990, the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards…

The Stonehaven fish and chip shop serving sustainable fish

2 Jul 2013

Calum Richardson swapped a life at sea for one behind the fryer - an award-winning decision

When it was announced that The Bay fish and chip shop in Stonehaven had won the Independent Takeaway Fish & Chip Shop of the Year Award 2013, the standing ovation was not only for owner Calum Richardson’s victory but also an acknowledgment of the…

Why Old Pulteney whisky is a symbol of Scotland's fishing tradition

2 Jul 2013

Old Pulteney's strong ties with the fishing heritage of the North Highlands of Scotland

For a long time the northernmost whisky distillery on the UK mainland, Old Pulteney has strong connections with the area’s fishing heritage, as David Pollock discovers

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The Scottish bakers experimenting with Aberdeenshire speciality 'The Buttery'

2 Jul 2013

JG Ross bakers meddle with iconic North Eastern food, the 'rowie'

In recent years, Inverurie-based bakers JG Ross have dared to meddle with one of the North East’s most iconic local foods, the buttery – or rowie as it’s more affectionately known in Aberdeenshire. A staple of the North East diet since the 1800s, when…

The Scottish beers and brewers of the North East

2 Jul 2013

Some insight into Aberdeenshire brewing success stories

Deeside Brewery. Since 2005, this Royal Deeside-based brewery has produced three key lines – Tailorcan milk stout, Laf Californian steam beer and their signature Macbeth golden ale.

Why venison from indigenous Scottish breeds makes for the best meat

2 Jul 2013

Venison is Scotland's 'king of meats'

Low in fat, higher in iron than other red meat, with omega 3 too – it’s easy to see why the ’king of meats’ is a healthy, protein-rich and flavoursome choice. Red and Roe deer, the breeds most eaten, are indigenous to Scotland, now either farmed or…

Crofting: Scotland's traditional form of farming is on the rise

2 Jul 2013

Scottish Crofting Produce Mark scheme promotes and protects provenance of crofters’ produce

The image of the hard-pressed crofter working his small plot of land while holding down a number of other jobs is a familiar one. Typically, the produce from that land is the ‘store lamb’, raised on the croft and then sent down south to be fattened (and…

The story behind the food hailing from the Cairngorms estates

2 Jul 2013

Cairngorms National Park holds more than natural beauty - it's also home to food-producing estates

There are around 60 estates covering nearly 75 per cent of the Cairngorms National Park today, and it is often possible to buy, catch or taste the fruits of their hills, fields, rivers and glens on or close to the estates themselves. Of course…

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The Scottish whisky distilleries finding success in overseas markets

2 Jul 2013

Reopening of Glenglassaugh distillery on the Banffshire coast breathes life into an old spirit

‘Like snow off a dyke,’ is the Scots expression Billy Walker chooses to describe the way working Scottish distilleries are disappearing from the market and being bought up to service a booming global export industry, a situation which makes the recent…

The farm shops of Aberdeenshire finding success

2 Jul 2013

Growing market share by Aberdeenshire farm shops

The farm shop is a growth industry across the UK, but Aberdeenshire’s share of the market is developing as few other parts of Scotland. At a rough estimate there are nearly forty such businesses in the region, from large-scale, family-day-out operations…

A guide to soft fruit growers of Scotland's North East

2 Jul 2013

Aberdeenshire’s climate and soil are the perfect match for growing soft fruit and berries

Soft fruits are not only sweet in taste but also in success. Scottish-grown soft fruits have become a booming agricultural business over the past ten years, with raspberry sales alone bringing £12 million to the country’s economy. This in many ways can…

Why Dunrobin's Golspie commercial watermill is one of a kind

2 Jul 2013

Hannah Ewan talks to the Kiwi miller running one of Scotland’s last surviving commercial watermills

Until the early 20th century, every parish would have relied on its own water-powered mill. Now, only a handful are even partially operational in Scotland, often turned into tourist destinations to engage visitors with living history. Golspie Mill in…

The North Highlands of Scotland are a paradise for sea and loch fishing

2 Jul 2013

Exploring the lochs and rocks of the Highlands for fish can be as memorable as the feast

Anyone who has ever been forced off a single-track road north of Lairg by a thundering 40-tonne pantechnicon full of the harvested fruits of our northern seas should stop and wonder why our glorious seafood is so sought after in the smartest restaurants…

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Scottish firm Saladworx produce quality salad and artisan salad dressings

2 Jul 2013

Dornoch's Saladworx is a success story to confound the marketing gurus

From garden hobby to celebrity-chef-supplying business, Saladworx is a success story to confound the marketing gurus, as Hannah Ewan finds out

How Black Isle Brewery is leading the way in Scottish craft beer

2 Jul 2013

Black Isle Brewery is one of Scotland’s longest-running independent breweries

With craft beer becoming increasingly popular across Scotland, David Pollock meets the team behind one of the country’s longest-running independent breweries

A-Bun-Dance bakery are making a name for themselves with unfamiliar products

2 Jul 2013

A-Bun-Dance revolutionises bread eating habits in the North Highlands

When Robert Burns called Scotland the ‘Land o’ Cakes’, our national bard wasn’t talking about a country of black bun, jammy sponge and Ecclefechan butter tart, but a land o’ bannock: the staple breid o’ Lowlanders and Highlanders alike, baked on a flat…

Dry Island Shellfish - The Scottish island with its own shellfish industry

2 Jul 2013

In a remote corner of Wester Ross, a tiny coastal economy punches above its weight

What would you do with your own island? Well, Ian and Jess McWhinney, the ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ of Dry Island in Loch Gairloch, Wester Ross, gave their four acres, house and pier its own name (Islonia), currency (the crab), flag (a crab in a Saltire) and…

Cambus O'May Cheese Company skillfully maintains tradition and creamery history

2 Jul 2013

The Cambus O’May Cheese Company combines traditional methods and business savvy.

Settled in the Park since 2010, Cambus O’May has grown from a respectable local producer to winner of a gold medal at last year’s British Cheese Awards. The secret of its success is unpasteurised milk and the pull of tradition. Founder Alex Reid raided…