Festive foodie delights at Ardardan

From hampers to smoked salmon, charcuterie, meat, jams and preserves, chocolates, sweet treats, delectable dairy and cheeses that will help you create the ultimate Christmas cheeseboard to enjoy round the table after the main event, food always takes a starring role during the festive season.

If supporting local and Scottish producers is high on your agenda then a great place to go is one of the many excellent farm shops dotted across the country. At Ardardan Estate, at Cardross, in Argyll and Bute, for example, the farm shop is overflowing with quality produce with a story to tell.

The Scottish Farmer:

Check out the product map online before you go to see where everything is made. And when you get there, you won’t be able to resist the estate’s own to home-bred Highland Beef and Lamb – Ardardan Farm Shop has so many foodie goodies you’ll be like a kid in a sweetie shop.

Sue Montgomery, whose family has owned Ardardan Estate since the mid-1990s, said: “We’ve put a lot of thought and effort into our Christmas offer this year because after the year everyone’s had we really want to see people smile when they open a gift from our shop this year.

“There will be a lot of hampers this year that you can order on our website, including smaller ones for people on their own – I think the message is that we all want to be thoughtful and who doesn’t love opening up a beautiful hamper and seeing all the different treats inside? It will really lift your spirits.”

The Scottish Farmer:

While the Farm Shop remains open, with staff offering their usual great personal service, there are, of course, social distancing measures in place and a one-way system to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

“We want to welcome customers in person but for those who can’t venture out or prefer to shop online, we’ve got all that in place for you on our website,” Sue pointed out.


A taste on the wild side

FOR Jan Jacob and Anja Baak, sustainability and flavour are very much the driving force behind their Great Glen Charcuterie, a business in the Highlands that specialises in producing charcuterie using only wild Scottish venison.

Located at Roybridge, the couple – originally from the Netherlands – set up the family business 15 years ago and produce all products by hand, including air-dried titbits to preserve as much flavour as possible.

Available in farm shops and independent retail outlets, as well as high-end food halls such as the House of Bruar, Great Glen Charcuterie’s award-winning products include its Green Pepper Salami plus its chorizo range.

The Scottish Farmer:

The Green Pepper Venison Salami recently won three gold stars at the Great Taste Awards – widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers.

Low in fat, the products are also popular with many chefs who love the superior flavour of Great Glen’s products but also the fact they use sustainably sourced venison from wild, well-managed Highland herds.

“We’re so delighted to have been recognised by Great Taste again,” said Anja, who point out that the awards are judged on taste alone. “It’s great recognition for our hard work and we hope even more people discover Great Glen Charcuterie this Christmas.”

The Scottish Farmer:

Everything can be purchased on the company’s website where you’ll also find a host of delicious recipe ideas to try at home. Go to www.greatglencharcuterie.com

Sustainable kitchenware for Christmas

GIVE the gift of a Scottish-designed and produced oak chopping board this Christmas as the ultimate sustainable gift for foodies from the Fife-based firm, Scottish Made.

With a gorgeous range of designs from stags, Highland cows and thistles along with other on-trend country designs such as hares, bees or pheasants, these chopping or cheese boards have been cleverly crafted to be pleasing to the eye as well as to touch.

The Scottish Farmer:

From large serving boards, cheese paddles and trays to smaller coasters or bottle openers, Scottish Made has etched engraved illustrations onto the boards to give them an upmarket quality – showing that sustainability and style can be incorporated together.

All the wood comes from environmentally sustainable sources in Scotland, principally a social enterprise project in Fife, where the products are crafted from oak or sycamore that has been sustainably harvested. They are then crafted and engraved by hand to produce a product that is strong, durable and attractive.

The Scottish Farmer:

The innovative range of products is varied, useful and appealing – the chopping and cheeseboards come in a range of sizes and designs and can be used for bread, cheese or meats, or as trivet stands.

Meanwhile, the larger sharing platters are ideal for serving up generous amounts of antipasti and have the added benefit of designs to suit outdoors types, the fisherman, the foodie or the cheese lover with intriguing designs and sayings.

With the current trend for locally-made products from sustainable sources, these wooden gifts tick every box. Prices start at £14 for bottle stoppers, to £18 for coaster sets and £30 upwards for chopping boards and larger items.

All are available online from www.justslate.co.uk/scottish-made