Simon runs the local deli and can tell you anything you need to know and tells us, "Highland Perthshire has an amazing natural larder, and Dunkeld & Birnam sit right at the heart of this gastronomic wonderland!"
For amazing Scottish salmon, look no further than Dunkeld Smoked Salmon – right in the heart of the villages, and sold either at the smokery or in The Scottish Deli. The Deli also stocks a range of McSween traditional and vegetarian haggis, as well as the tinned haggis made by Stahly, which is great if you want to take a wee bit of Scottish produce back home. The closest whisky distilleries are at Edradour, Blair Athol and Aberfeldy, and The Deli has a small range of these famous local malts, and Jeremy Laws has a larger range, plus the local Coop carries a range too.
Nearly all the cafes in both villages have a great range of veggie/vegan/GF options, as do the main hotels and pubs. Howies and the Meeting Place (Atholl Arms) are particularly good at special diets. It’s always worth phoning eateries ahead to give them time to come up with options.
This is an easy one: I find there are two things which you’ll always find in a community which is really focussed on good quality, local, sustainable food.
Firstly a range of (often small scale) local independent producers and retailers who take a pride and passion in what they do – Dunkeld and Birnam has loads of these!
Secondly, a real focus on good food from a community perspective, and in Dunkeld & Birnam there are two stand-out examples of this:
Shops in Dunkeld & Birnam tend to be small but packed with quality! For food staples, we have a well stocked Co-op in Dunkeld, a local butcher and an excellent village shop in Birnam. But if you’re a foodie, you’ll want to know about the really good stuff.
In the centre of Dunkeld we have The Scottish Deli. It’s got a huge range of produce from all over Scotland – smoked meats, cooked meats, fish, pates, haggis, jams, chutneys, cheese, chocolates, mustards, cakes, biscuits, oatcakes, breads and ice cream. Just newly opened, Aran Bakery has an excellent range of artisan flours, breads, cakes and just about every baking ingredient you can think of!
It’s impossible to keep this short! Rannoch Smokery has a stunning range of carefully smoked meats, focussed on the flavour of the meat rather than just a big macho smoke flavour. Young’s Preserves – our friend Lesley produces interesting and unusual preserves, made using mainly her own home-grown vegetables. Glen Lyon Coffee is roasted in Aberfeldy by the coffee-mad husband and wife team of Jamie & Fiona. Humphrey Errington lives locally and is the founder of Errington Cheese which has a wonderful range of artisan cheeses, with its signature Lanark White amongst the best ewe’s milk cheeses in Scotland. Inver Honey and Beeswing Apiaries – two very local honey producers with a real focus on keeping things local, and producing amazing honey. Finally, The Egg Shed is just up the road and has beautiful organic and fully free-range eggs.
For me it’s got to be Smoked Salmon, Strathbraan Beers’ “Due South”, and fresh apples off the tree. Why? Take a warm, sunny autumn day sitting on the banks of the Tay upstream of Dunkeld, a chunk of fresh bread, slices of Rob and Tracey’s smoked salmon, washed down with a local classic IPA, and a crunchy community orchard apple for dessert. Sit back, relax, watch the mighty Tay flow past, and enjoy Highland Perthshire. Can’t get better that that!