Use your appetite to navigate around the Isle of Skye
Sunday 21 August 2011
On the largest island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago, off Scotland's west coast, you're not only guaranteed to find superb quality food and drink, but you'll also enjoy some of Britain's most dramatic scenery.
Drive slowly down the winding road, through the fields, towards Earlybird Enterprises, at Orbost Estate Farm (01470 521828; theskyefoodcompany .co.uk), because you're likely to encounter Keith and Rachael Jackson's herd of Highland cows. Call ahead to make sure the couple are around to sell you some of their delicious aged Highland beef, wild venison and sausages made from Iron Age pork.
Tourists arrive by the coachload to admire Portree's charming harbour. The switched-on foodies make the five-minute walk from the centre to the Isle of Skye Bakery, Portree (01478 611114; isleofskyebakingco.co.uk), where Barry and Liza Hawthorn hand-bake 13 flavours of shortbread and traditional oatcakes. Arrive early for their popular "lunch breads", filled with Highland beef stew or tomato and brie.
The woodlands surrounding the beautiful sheltered bay of Uig are prime walking country. The village also has the Isle of Skye Brewing Company (01470 542477; skyebrewery.co.uk), where the collection of unusual beers to buy include Black Cuillin, a dark ale named after Skye's famous hills and is brewed with roast barley and rolled roast Scottish oatmeal and flavoured with Scottish heather honey.
Enjoy the remote, peaceful setting of Kinloch Lodge (01471 833333; kinloch- lodge.co.uk) at Sleat, on the shoreline of the Na Dal sea loch. Michelin-starred chef Marcello Tully's food in the hotel's opulent restaurant includes local scallops transformed into a mousse and served with langoustine caught in nearby Drumfearn.
Take a guided tour of the only whisky distillery on the island at Talisker (01478 614308; discovering- distilleries.com), Carbost, a stunning setting on the shores of Loch Harport with fabulous views of the Cuillin hills. The extended tour includes an in-depth look at the distilling process and the chance to try five Talisker malts.
Chef Michael Smith will be familiar to fans of the BBC's Great British Menu, but is mostly to be found at the Three Chimneys (01470 511258; three chimneys.co.uk), Colbost, where he makes magic with the Isle's considerable gastronomic bounty.
Lobster from Moonen Bay is steamed and served with seared squid, summer vegetables and a tomato-flavoured butter sauce. Owner Shirley Spear's famous hot marmalade pudding with Drambuie custard is always on the dessert menu.
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