Eat and drink like a local! Discover the best Argyll produce
Cowal has many independent producers so you have lots of options to choose from if you're looking to enjoy food and drink from the area or take something home as a present or souvenir. We showcase some in our welcome packs - such as The Travelling Bee Co.'s Scottish Heather honey (they have hives on the nearby Kyles of Bute), and Argyll Coffee Roaster's Secret Roast blend.
Where to buy produce
Many of the products listed below can be found in Cot House Service Station, just a few minutes drive from the lodges. It is worthwhile scouring the shelves as you'll find lots of local produce - special treats and basic supplies - as well as the cheapest fuel in the area. Although you can walk there, we don't recommend it as the roads are fast and there isn't a pavement unfortunately.
In Dunoon, Kents Butchers have an excellent range of meat, pies and baked items, dairy products and condiments. They have seasonal offers so check out their Facebook page for the latest deals. Argyll Vintners has a wide range of whisky, gin, beer and wines, and has recently opened a relaxed but stylish bar area within the shop.
Many producers can deliver to your door, so if you can't find what you're looking for in shops or menus, order direct!
What local produce can I buy?
Fyne Ales is a popular craft brewery located in the beautiful countryside near Cairndow, just a short drive from Dunoon. The brewery has been producing a range of award-winning beers since 2001, using only natural ingredients and traditional brewing methods. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery and learn about the brewing process, sample a range of delicious beers in the onsite taproom, or enjoy a bite to eat in the brewery's popular restaurant. Look out for:
Jarl - A light and refreshing pale ale with a citrusy hop character.
Avalanche - An IPA with a bold, hoppy flavor and a smooth, malty finish.
Hurricane Jack - A rich and full-bodied dark ale with a chocolatey, roasted flavor.
Origins Brewing - A range of barrel-aged beers, each with its own unique flavor profile.
Vital Spark - A rich and warming Scotch Ale with a sweet, caramel flavor and a hint of smoke.
Highlander - A classic Scottish ale with a malty, slightly sweet flavor and a subtle hop finish.
Sublime Stout - A smooth and creamy stout with notes of chocolate and coffee.
Many local pubs serve Fyne Ales beers by the bottle and on tap, and Cot House Service Station stocks them too.
All Winston Churchill Venison products come from wild deer stalked in Cowal. The deer aren't farmed and as their population numbers need careful controlling, eating this venison is one of the most ethical ways to consume meat. You'll see their venison on many local menus but you can also buy it directly (they're based in nearby Sandbank) and from places like Cot House Service Station. They can supply joints, steaks, mince, burgers and sausages.
Stronchullin Farm supplies free range eggs in the area, which can be bought from Cot House Service Station, Kent Butchers (in Dunoon) and other small shops in and around the town. Their farm is located on the hills behind Blairmore and Strone so you can't get much closer!
The Travelling Bee Company has hives at Kinlochruel, Colintraive, where they produce their Scottish Heather Honey. When available we include mini jars in our welcome packs so you can try a true taste of the area.
A great success story is Argyll Coffee Roasters who launched in 2019 and now supply many cafes, shops and individuals. In their words, "We only source, roast and supply 'speciality grade' coffee. Speciality coffee is grown at high altitude with certain climatic and soil conditions, and the unique flavours and tastes are a result of this. Speciality coffee is about building connections and relationships. It gives farmers access to a much higher profit, which in turn supports their families and communities. The amount we pay for our beans is much higher than the base rate for coffee, as determined by the stock market, and significantly higher than the Fairtrade price." They have a range of blends including 'Argyll's Secret Roast' (featured in our welcome packs) and 'Clyde Steamer' (espresso). You'll see the coffee for sale in many locations in and around Dunoon but you can also order online and set up a subscription to get your regular caffeine fix.
Scotland's west coast has a wealth of fish and shellfish to choose from - from the classic fish supper (that's fish and chips) to oysters, mussels, langoustines, scallops, crab and lobster. Many menus feature local seafood and 'specials' are often a good bet - if in doubt, ask! You can buy from Loch Fyne Oysters but sadly Dunoon no longer has a fish monger.
Looking for a foody 'event'?
You'll find themed evenings running throughout the year at many restaurants, inns and pubs - but they are often very popular so as soon as you know when you'll be in the area, book your spot. The Strone Inn, for example, has run Japanese and Oktoberfest nights, The Blairmore offers a regular tapas night, and Argyll Vintners runs Wine Tasting.