Malt whisky, smoked salmon, Aberdeen Angus beef, Stornoway black pudding … Scottish produce is famous at home and beyond.
Did you know that 97% of Scottish food and drink businesses are micro to medium-sized? This has created a youthful and dynamic industry, where new products stand alongside old favourites.
Within the Scottish food and drink industry, exciting things are happening, and at food and drink festivals across the country you can meet the people who are making extraordinary products, and hear first-hand about the passion which drives them.
We are fiercely patriotic when it comes to our own food and drink, but also not afraid to be adventurous and test our taste buds by fusing them with worldwide flavours. New companies are causing a stir with products which are pushing the boundaries of peoples’ palettes.
Here is my selection of the best food and drink festivals in Scotland … it’s time to get sampling!
The top dog of Scottish food and drink festivals, Foodies Fest is enormous! The festival features famous chefs from the Edinburgh area, as well as celebrity chefs from the rest of the UK.
Fans of the Great British Bake Off can meet their favourite star bakers, and you can even take part in a chilli eating competition or enjoy an indulgent afternoon tea in the Vintage Tea Tent.
Street Food Avenue is the place to try something different, perhaps following a yoga session in the park with Lululemon. This festival has everything!
When? Early August
Where? Inverleith Park, Edinburgh
If you’ve heard of any Scottish drink festival, it may well be this legendary week of merriment on the Islay. This beautiful island is one of the most famous locations in Scotland for producing whisky, with 8 working distilleries and another on neighbouring Jura.
During the festival, each distillery has open days with tastings on offer to the public. There are ceilidhs, Gaelic lessons, bowling matches, piping demonstrations, poetry and food in an extraordinarily diverse programme. It’s been going for an impressive 32 years so it must be doing something right!
Accommodation books up quickly, so you’ll need to make arrangements around a year in advance.
When? Last week in May
Where? Isle of Islay
Following a boom in street food in Scotland, this Glasgow-based festival caters to the trend in a fun environment. Scotland’s largest city has long played host to innovative restaurants and worldwide cuisine, and this festival celebrates food from around the world – aptly based in the Clydeside location once famous for sending ships around the globe.
The festival celebrated its second successful year in 2018 where food trucks, vendors and restaurants sold their inventive products over a relaxed and friendly 3 day celebration.
When? Late May – early June
Where? Riverside Museum, Glasgow
Local produce is what this festival is all about, with producers based in the East Neuk of Fife showcasing their goods. Now in its 8th year, this festival has indoor and outdoor markets, music events, and children’s activities, while live cooking demonstrations take place in Crail Kirk Hall.
The best thing about this festival is the stunning location by the sea. If you have the time why not also take a wander down to the beach, or hike a section of the beautiful Fife Coastal Path?
Where? Crail, East Neuk, Fife
German-inspired, Scottish at heart – Jocktoberfest is an annual music, food and drink festival organised by Black Isle Brewery.
The festival offers some of the best organic beers in Scotland, as well as guest German beers in keeping with their Germanic-inspired brews. Last year, they had mouth-watering Hebridean burgers and freshly made sourdough pizzas on offer, so we can hope for some more culinary delights at this year’s affair, as well as music from some of the best up and coming acts in Scotland.
When? Early September
Where? Black Isle, near Inverness
The Isle of Skye has seen visitor numbers soar in recent years, and this food festival adds another event to an already packed calendar. The festival involves a taste trail across the island, local food produce, and cookery demonstrations as well as live music.
Given the number of incredible eateries on Skye we expect great things from this relatively new festival. One more reason to put Skye on your Scottish bucket list!
When? Mid June
Where? Portree, Isle of Skye
This has been a staple in the Scottish food and drink calendar since 1999. Speyside is home to the largest concentration of distilleries in Scotland, being home to more than 50!
Whether you are tasting your first dram or are a whisky connoisseur, you’ll find something here with more than 500 events over 5 days. Events are held everywhere from distilleries to castles and village halls.
When? Early May
First and foremost a celebration, this festival brings people together to enjoy a good time with the very best food, beer and music from Scotland and beyond. Dog and child-friendly, FyneFest offers an escape from everyday life and the chance to have a dance and taste something different.
The festival features more than 200 beers and food from producers from around the Argyll area.
The organisers scour Scotland to pick out the best and most eclectic range of music each year, guaranteeing a good time for everyone!
When? Early June
Where? Fyne Ales Brewery Estate, Argyll
It also doesn’t seem right to write a blog about Scottish food festivals without acknowledging the incredible products sold at Scottish farmers’ markets all over the country every single week. Just like craft beer and gin distilleries, farmers’ markets are becoming a feature all over the country.
Whether you’re looking to buy something local to take home, or simply get in some free tasters, farmers’ markets are a foodies delight. Some of the best in the country include the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market on Castle Terrace every Saturday, and the Loch Lomond Shores Market every weekend.
Absolute Escapes greatly appreciate the value of good food and drink. Whether you’re exploring the North Coast 500 or walking the West Highland Way – we will always tell you about our favourite restaurants, pubs, breweries, distilleries and food-related experiences in the area!
P.S. If you fancy a true culinary adventure along the beautiful west coast of Scotland, check out our self-guided Scottish Seafood Trail where you can explore gorgeous scenery and visit waterside restaurants serving the freshest seafood imaginable. If malt whisky is more your thing, take a look at our award-winning Whisky Trails.