Category Archives: Scottish Food

Superb Scottish Snowsport Adventures

Most people may associate snowsports with popular locations such as the French Alps, Italy, or perhaps Austria. If you live in the UK though, you’ll be happy to hear that you don’t have to venture too far to hit the slopes and you won’t even need your passport! There are numerous locations in Scotland where you can ski including Glencoe, The Lecht, and Glenshee. The ski season in Scotland typically runs from December to early April, but it does depend on the amount of snowfall.

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Glencoe Mountain Resort attracts thousands of visitors all year round and it’s not hard to see why. The resort offers snowsports enthusiasts 20 different runs and 8 lifts which cater to both skiers and snowboarders at all skill levels. The resort is home to some of the longest and steepest runs in Scotland so daredevils – this place is for you! There is also a cosy café that serves hot food to warm you up after a day out on the slopes. In warmer months, when there isn’t much snowfall, the resort offers mountain biking trails, chairlift rides and tubing so you can have fun at the Glencoe Mountain Resort whether there is snow on the ground or not!

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Laraichean cottage offers a cosy, log cabin-like interior and unbeatable views that will leave you speechless on arrival. Glencoe Mountain Resort is only 30 minutes’ drive from this beautiful cottage so it makes the ideal place to unwind in the evenings after a day on piste. We also have a range of other cottage that are near the Glencoe Mountain Resort.

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The Lecht

The Lecht ski resort has been named one of the best ski resorts in Scotland. Located in the Cairngorms National Park, it is an excellent location for families to learn how to ski together as it is one of the smaller, quieter resorts. The runs are shorter than in other ski resorts and are therefore great for beginners.

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We have the perfect cottage for a small family, which is only 25 minutes’ drive from the resort. Ben Rinnes Lodge is a charming, detached wooden lodge in a rural location close to Glenlivet. The two bedroom lodge has a homely feel that will make you never want to leave. After a long day of skiing, come back to the cosy hideaway and try some stargazing as Glenlivet and the surrounding area are known for good places to see the stars. Lucky people also sometimes manage to spot the Northern Lights! View our other cottages that are in close proximity to The Lecht.

snowsports-blog-post-glensheeGlenshee

Glenshee Ski Centre is a haven for both skiers and snowboarders. The ski centre’s unique selling point is its sheer size with a range of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all capabilities. Glas Maol, one of the resorts’ many runs, is considered by skiing enthusiasts to be one of the best runs in Scotland.

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There are three cafés on-site that serve a range of food, drinks and snacks to fuel your day. An ideal base for your trip is Dalmunzie Cottage which is located only 7 miles from the Glenshee Ski Resort.

The cottage has a warm and comfortable feel with rustic interior decor and a wood-burning stove to curl up in front of on cold evenings. Outside there is a small garden with spectacular views of the mountains where you will be spending your days enjoying the delights that the snow offers. Browse through our other cottages that are near to the Glenshee Ski Centre.

If you are planning a snow sports holiday in Scotland, why not browse our other cottages that are near popular ski resorts. Visit our website or call our friendly booking team on 01835 822277 to book your stay.

Scots know how to party on Burns Night

Burns Night is a significant date in any Scots’ calendar. On the 25th January, Scotland (and many other parts of the UK) celebrate the life and work of the poet Robert Burns, who is viewed as Scotland’s national poet, just as Shakespeare is England’s immortal bard.

Burns wrote famous poems and songs such as Auld Lang Syne (sang merrily at New Year), To A Mouse, A Red, Red Rose and many more. Even if you don’t know Burns’ poems off by heart, Burns Night is the perfect excuse for a get together with friends or family, so grab yourself a copy of Burns’ poetry and have a great night!

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What is Burns Supper?

The first supper was held in 1801 at Burns’ Cottage in Alloway, South Ayrshire, on the fifth anniversary of his death by his friends. Burns supper traditionally includes haggis, whisky and a healthy dose of Burns’ influential poetry. At formal occasions, guests are greeted as they enter by a piper. At more informal events, Scottish music is played as guests arrive.

At formal Burns Night events, there will be a ‘standard order’; this is a series of events that involve poetry, serving food, and remembering the poet himself. The host will give a welcome speech to guests, and all the guests will say the Selkirk Grace to give thanks for the meal that they are about to eat. The Selkirk Grace uses words from the Scots language:

Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

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The supper starts with a soup course and traditional Scottish broths are served, such as cock-a-leekie, potato soup, Cullen skink, or Scotch broth. As the traditional main course of haggis is brought in, guests will stand as the bagpipes are played. The host, or a willing guest, then recites the Address to a Haggis and cuts it open ready to serve. After dinner, speeches and toasts to remember Burns’ life are given. When the event is coming to an end, all guests will stand and sing Auld Lang Syne to mark that the evening has come to an end.

Burns Night is typically celebrated in a more informal fashion in the present day. It is celebrated not just in Scotland, but all over the UK. Who doesn’t love an excuse to have a party? Restaurants have taken to hosting Burns Nights, where the traditional dish of haggis, neeps and tatties will be served, as well as a wide variety of exciting cocktails and, of course, some drams of whisky.

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Why not celebrate Burns Night in style in a Scottish castle? The historic Glamis Castle, the home of the late Queen Mother, holds a Burns Night to remember which is set in the incredible Victorian Dining Room, complete with a traditional Burns Night three-course dinner and drinks. If this event sounds like your cup of tea, the Garden Apartment at Reswallie House is the perfect base for your Scottish adventure, as it is only 8 miles from the castle.

 

No matter where you are in the world, everybody can enjoy Burns Night celebrations. If you’re planning on celebrating in style in the poets’ birth country, Unique Cottages is here to help you find the perfect location. Visit our website to find out more or get in touch with our friendly Booking Team on 01835 822277.

 

Calling all Foodies!

May joins us this year with the sun shining and a pleasant warmth which promises that it going to be a fantastic summer weather wise, and I for one am looking forward to the opportunities that dry and warm conditions offer!

Indulging in a little (or in my case a lot of) alfresco eating is one of my favourite ways to spend the long, warm summer evenings; especially if the food is something a wee bit more special than your normal barbeque cuisine of charcoaled sausages and bedraggled burgers.

I find that one of the best ways to get exciting recipe ideas for mouth-watering meals that are perfect for outside dining is to attend one of the many food festivals that take place throughout Scotland.  With a variety of fresh local produce, Scotland’s food fairs and festivals are a celebration of all that is great about Scottish fare and a brilliant chance to pick up some interesting (and tasty) tips to spice up your summer eating.

Whether you fancy trying something completely different like venison jerky with a wild garlic salad, or want to put an interesting new twist on old favourite by adding the award winning Crittel Cheese to your burger rather than a bog standard slice, Scotland’s food fairs and festivals are an ideal place to get inspiration.

One such festival takes place later this month in Argyll, on the banks of Loch Fyne.

The Loch Fyne Food Fair is a two-day celebration of west coast food, with the star of the show being the world famous Loch Fyne Oysters.  These are known for their superb taste which is in large part due to the exceptional cleanliness and quality of the loch in which they grow (that and the fact they’re so fresh).  Fortunately, if you can’t make it up to Loch Fyne on the 14th or 15th of this month, you can sample this exquisite local delicacy all year round at the Cairndow Oyster Bar and Restaurant which is open 7 days a week.

See cottages near Loch Fyne >

More Scottish food festivals >

and on the eighth day God created chocolate!

As our property manager Eelin reminded me, Easter is not all about chocolate, but I have to admit, for me it definitely plays a very big part of my celebration of the festival!  There is something about the taste of chocolate when it’s been made into the shape of an egg which somehow makes it that bit yummier.

I have a bit of a penchant for non-brand name chocolate Easter eggs which have not just come off the supermarket shelf.  I prefer an egg that is a little bit more unique, one fit for a special occasion such as Easter.  The decadence of a hand-made, beautifully decorated, luxury chocolate egg that holds a secret treat inside which remains unknown until you crack open that tasty oval exterior, now that’s an Easter egg worth breaking my healthy eating plan for!

Regular readers of ‘Our Unique Blog’ will know that here at Unique Cottages we like to share with you our specialist knowledge of Scotland and tell you about the hidden treasures of this beautiful country.  So, as an Easter treat allow me to tell you about a wee village in the Highlands that always comes to mind when I think of indulging in some very special chocolate, and a chocolate shop which you just have to visit if you’re in the area.

The former spa town Strathpeffer, just a 30-minute drive from the Highland capital of Inverness, is home to what has to be described as a chocolate lover’s heaven.  ‘Maya Belgian Chocolates’ is run by Maître Chocolatier Fabienne De Mulder who creates and sells a range of over 40 different chocolates from her shop close to the centre of the village.  Fabienne’s signature chocolates include ganache made from raspberry pulp covered in white chocolate, ganache infused with Earl Grey Tea covered in dark chocolate and ganache with Amaretto (Almond based liqueur) covered in milk chocolate (I’d tell you more but my mouth is watering with the thought of these 3 alone!)

As well as selling individual chocolates and truffles, boxes and bars, the shop is well known for its Hot Chocolate, which is truly ‘to die for’ and at certain times visitors can even watch Fabienne creating her exclusive chocolates right there on the premises.

If like me, a fabulous chocolate shop selling delicious melt in your mouth treats is enough of an attraction on its own to inspire you consider holidaying close by, then Unique Cottages have a number of delightful properties in the area which will provide comfortable and attractive accommodation for your chocolate pilgrimage.

Kinkell Castle Cottage (sleeps 2)

Red Kite Cottage (sleeps 3/4)

Peediequoy Cottage (sleeps 6)

Happy Scotland Week!

In the USA (and for the first year in Canada) this week is Scotland Week, which runs from the 3rd of April to the 10th of April and celebrates all things Scottish.  4.8 million Americans reportedly have Scottish ancestry (2000 census) and 4,719,850 people in Canada can be described as ‘Scottish-Canadian’ (2001 census), so both countries’ strong heritage links to Scotland are represented by this weeklong exploration of Scottish culture.

We’re quite obviously biased, but we think Scotland Week is a great idea.  There is indeed so much to celebrate about our fine country!  One such example is our excellent (and unique) cuisine, from Haggis to Selkirk Bannock, Cock-a-leekie Soup to deep-fried, battered Mars Bars we Scots have an interesting variety of ‘traditional’ foods.  Therefore, it is only right that as part of Scotland Week one of our renowned chefs, Michael Smith, shares his expertise with Scotland’s kindred spirits across the pond.

Born in Inverness, Michael Smith is scheduled to appear on a number of well know TV programs in American and Canada, including the ‘Martha Stewart Show’.  However, for those closer to home who wish to sample the culinary delights of this highly commended chef, he will then return to his usual stomping grounds as Head Chef at the highly rated Three Chimney’s restaurant on the beautiful Isle of Skye.

On the edge of Loch Dunvegan, the restaurant offers a first class dining experience on an island that can accurately be described as magical!  Unique Cottages has some wonderful self-catering properties within easy reach of this acclaimed eatery, including The Missionary’s House (sleeping 5) only a 5 minute drive away, Kinlochfollart (sleeping 10) and, new for this year, the extremely inviting Claigan House (sleeping 4).

Although dinning out every night at the Three Chimney’s may not be within everyone’s budget, the joy of self-catering in Skye is that you can recreate the experience back at your home base, with a variety of fresh, local produce available from suppliers on the island.  For more information about our self-catering properties in Skye (because, let’s face it, on an island so beautiful it’ll not just be the fine food that tempts you to visit), send us an email enquiry or call 01835 822277 and we’ll be happy to help you find your dream island get away.

And to those celebrating across the Atlantic, from all at Unique Cottages, may we wish you an splendid Scottish Week this week and an terrific Tartan Day tomorrow!