Wild About Argyll's new Taste of Place Trails has launched, to encourage visitors to experience the produce and scenery that's unique to Argyll and the isles on the west coast of Scotland.
The new trails, located throughout one of Scotland’s most scenic regions, will see a series of local food and drink producers prepare a selection of limited-edition ‘eat the view’ picnics - with everything on the menu being created from the sights around.
Tourists will then be guided to a viewpoint to savour the sights they’re eating.
From freshly caught seafood to wild food from Scotland’s very own rainforest, the specials will all be handmade to pick up from a neighbouring restaurant or cafe located along five new food and drink trails, which are: seafood, spirit and beer, farm produce, vegan and coffee and cakes.
With the food and drink offering shaped by the beautiful coastal waters, clean air and temperate climate, the aim of the trails is to encourage tourists to visit the region, experiment with dining experiences in stunning locations, meet the local producers and enjoy a staycation.
Iain Jurgensen, chair of Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative said: “Argyll has built a strong reputation for top quality food and drink with its world class distilleries, seafood, and numerous award winning eateries featuring sensational local produce thanks to the consistent levels of rainfall and relatively mild, year-round temperatures.
“With the ongoing high demand for the great outdoors, the Taste of Place Trails have been designed to offer visitors an immersive experience as part of their travels to and around the destination this year.
"To allow them to sample every single ingredient that goes into the dishes, and to be able to speak with the artisan producers who lovingly prepare it.
“Experiences and the great outdoors is 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.”
David Adams McGilp, regional director, VisitScotland, added: “The Taste of Place Trails combine many of the strengths of the Argyll & Isles region into one distinct offering.
"We know from our insights 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.
"Tourism and events will help to rebuild the Scottish population’s well-being - everyone deserves a holiday, and Argyll & Isles, and all it offers, is the perfect antidote after lockdown.
"Tourism is a force for good – creating economic and social value in every corner of Scotland and enhancing the well-being of everyone who experiences it.
"Tourism makes Scotland richer, economically and socially, and without it Scotland would be a much poorer place.”
Argyll and the Isles is a coastal region of sea lochs, islands, hills, forests and glens just waiting to be explored.
Just a short drive from Glasgow, visitors can be in Argyll in an hour and on one of the islands within three hours.
The Taste of Place Trails is a partnership led by Argyll & the Isles Tourism Cooperative with support from VisitScotland Growth Fund, Food from Argyll, Argyll & Bute Council and Calmac Ferries.
The five Taste of Place Trails can be found online and 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 on Kintyre to name but a few.
Argyll’s Atlantic waters and sea lochs deliver bountiful fresh fish and shellfish.
Nothing beats tucking into a fresh seafood platter while watching the fishing fleets land their catch in the harbour.
Loch Melfort Hotel south of Oban, the Pierhouse Hotel at Appin, the Coll Hotel and Starfish Restaurant in Tarbert are just some of the great places to enjoy Argyll’s seafood served up with stunning coastal views.
Argyll has a long tradition of fish smoking. The region is home to over ten smokehouses, some with visitor centres where you can watch the process.
This new vegan trail has a dedicated vegan B&B, Kingsreach in Kilmartin Glen, plus a plethora of vegan friendly establishments such as Catch a Carrot near Oban offering up great vegan food as key dishes on their menus.
Cafés, hotels, restaurants and B&Bs across Argyll are constantly adding vegan food to give visitors an exciting choice and will offer great local produce and foraged ingredients.
Argyll is famed for its single malt whiskies, with 15 distilleries dotting what’s known as the ‘whisky coast’ with ten on Islay and Jura and two more planned.
There’s nothing quite like sampling the product in the region’s historic distilleries and most offer guided tours ending with a large dram.
There are some cracking craft gin distilleries too. Visit Beinn an Tuirc Distillery on Kintyre to see how Kintyre Gin is made.
Hand-crafted ales are produced all across Argyll, and Fyne Ales Brewery at the head of Loch Fyne is a great place to visit.
Coffee and cake should be part of any good holiday. Whether you’re on a long-distance cycling adventure or strolling around a fishing village, you’ll always be able to find great coffee and delicious home baking in Argyll.
You can choose from many cafes including The Blairmore on Cowal or pick up your sweet delight from Cakes in a Call Box near Loch Awe.
The area is undergoing a bit of a coffee renaissance, with no less than four speciality coffee roasters in the region supplying high-quality coffee to local cafés, restaurants and hotels. Tea is even being grown and blended in Argyll.
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, local meat including saltmarsh lamb from Shellfield Farm features on menus throughout Argyll.
The Argyll hills are also home to many thousands of deer, so venison is another local delicacy.
Kintyre, Gigha and Mull are famed for their milk, which is crafted into delicious dairy products, including cheese and ice cream.