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How to enjoy the flavours of Argyll around Loch Lomond and Helensburgh

How to enjoy the flavours of Argyll around Loch Lomond and Helensburgh
In Argyll, you’re never far from a warm welcome and an epicurean discovery. That’s particularly true around Loch Lomond & Helensburgh. It’s not just the pubs and restaurants serving up dishes featuring locally reared and harvested produce that make the area a gourmand’s heaven. The bustling farmers’ markets and the host of small producers turning out an array of quality food and drink ensure this compact corner of Argyll is bursting with culinary delights. Plenty of shops stock the area’s lavish larder, but perhaps the greatest pleasure comes from sampling these gourmet treats in their natural setting. Here are five ways to enjoy Argyll’s rich diversity of flavours in and around Loch Lomond & Helensburgh.

1. Kick things off with a coffee. You don’t need to be a caffeine fiend to enjoy the gentle buzz and satisfying flavours of a well-made cup of coffee. Home Ground Coffee is a family-run coffee roaster based in Cardross near Helensburgh. You’ll find the delicious coffee served up in coffee shops and restaurants locally, including the lovely PJ’s Kitchen in Helensburgh. Visit a festival in the area and you may well find Home Ground serving coffee made using their own freshly roasted beans. Hooked? You can order your fresh coffee from the online shop.

2. Ship to shore. If you’re heading this way from Glasgow – which is less than an hour’s drive away – you could make Loch Lomond Shores at the head of Loch Lomond near Balloch your first port of call. Nearby you’ll find the last major paddle steamer built in Britain, the Maid of the Loch, moored at Balloch pier. Entry is free to this historic vessel and once aboard you’ll find a café offering hot and cold snacks, home-made soup, teas, coffees and delicious home baking in the forward deck saloon. Although she doesn’t yet sail, regular “steam days” permit visitors to see the steam engine and gearing system in operation.

3. Make for the markets. Helensburgh Market in the Square runs on the second Saturday of each month in Colquhoun Square. It’s a feast for all the senses and a great place to pick up local produce and artisan fare. You’ll find home-baking, seasonal vegetables, fresh meat and fish and local cheese. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the Funky Fudge stall with its locally made tablet, macaroon and Scottish fudge. The market starts at 10am and continues until around 4pm. Loch Lomond Farmers’ Market is held on the the first and third Sunday of every month at Loch Lomond Shores. Fresh, local produce is piled high on every stall, with fresh cheese, home-baked breads and cakes, seasonal vegetables, chutneys and oils, freshly baked pies, fresh meats and smoked fish all on offer. The market kicks off at 10am and runs until around 4pm.

4. Feast at a food festival. The annual Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival takes place at Loch Lomond Shores every September and offers a fabulous two-day local food and drink adventure. You’ve just missed this year’s event, but if you’re a foodie then do make a date with this event next year. Over 20,000 people flock to the festival to enjoy great food, drink and entertainment. It brings together tastes from the Loch Lomond area, as well as specialities from across the world, with cookery demonstrations, cook-offs, tastings and samplings and a Farmers’ Market. What’s more, the event is free. All you need to bring is your appetite!

5. Eat out. The Loch Lomond & Helensburgh area is packed with great places to eat. Local produce, including beef and lamb, as well as locally brewed beers, feature on many menus. Riverhill Courtyard in Helensburgh should definitely be on your list. This wonderful restaurant and bar in the heart of town serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner with a firm focus on seasonality, provenance and foraged ingredients. For sumptuous dining on the shores of Loch Lomond head to Cameron House. The hotel’s four restaurants, Cameron Grill, The Boathouse, The Claret Jug and Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond, offer the very best of Scottish cooking using fresh, local ingredients. You can find more places to eat out in the Loch Lomond area on Love Loch Lomond.

Find out more about things to see and do in Loch Lomond & Helensburgh.
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