Food of Angus round-up
Looking for a taste of Angus? Here's our guide to the region's best grown, reared, made and landed
Fruit & veg
Much of Angus is given over to fruit, cereal and potato fields, and much of the resulting produce makes its way into the supermarket chains, via conduits like the Abbey Fruit packing plant in Arbroath, which handles the produce from PJ Stirlings fruit farm near the town. However, farm shops and markets across the region are the best way to find the most local of fruit and veg, freshly harvested from the field. Myreside Organics brings organic salad leaves, beans, peas and other vegetables and plants to the Forfar and Montrose farmers markets between March and October, while through the week Milton Haugh Farm Shop stock their own seasonal produce and Peel Farm also showcases good local products.
You can pick your own berries at Charleton Fruit Farm in July and August. Charleton is also a good source of asparagus, as is the more famous Eassie Farm which specialises in it (sold from the Pattullo's farm shop, generally open from late April or early May to June) as well as sea kale, harvested January to March.
Thanks to the previous Angus Orhcards Project, fruit trees are blossoming across Angus – look out for apples in season or taste them in Ella Drinks Angus Apple product which only uses apples picked in the county. Hospitalfield Organic Produce Enterprise (HOPE) Arbroath has a shop selling fruit and veg from their social enterprise garden.
Angus Soft Fruits plays a prominent role in soft fruit production – the harvest from their group of growers supplies the Good Natured Fruit range and the well-regarded Ava variety of strawberry, both on supermarket shelves. Angus' fruit is also vital to preservers throughout the region, from the high-profile Mackays and Mrs Bridges in Arbroath, found on shelves across the UK and abroad, to farm shops and delis stocked with Aberfeldy Oatmeals jam range including Sarah Grays line, and Isabellas Preserves. Dont forget homemade jams by the likes of Normas Homemade Preserves found at farmers markets.
Beef, lamb, game and other meat
As the name suggests, there's no excuse for anything but the finest Aberdeen Angus beef in Angus. Kingston Farm is the home of the Dunlouise pure breed Aberdeen Angus herd. Angus has a good number of impressive high street butchers who can offer full local traceability, as with Milton Haugh Farm Shops shorthorn beef and Peel Farms lamb, raised on site.
South Powrie Farm, located just north of Dundee, sell KellyBronze turkeys for Christmas from the farm gate and online. If you like your meat a little wilder, Glenogil Estate harbours roe deer, grouse, partridge and pheasant, shot in season and used by the Drovers Inn in Memus, among others. Keep an eye out for in-season game from the glens, carried by numerous butchers across the region.
As the seafood most commonly associated with Angus, Arbroath smokies are as good a place as any to start when exploring the local produce. Smokers around the town are many, but thankfully not wildly varied: although recipes are passed down through generations, quality is consistently high. Some of the most well known are M & M Smith, Arbroath Fisheries, Alex Spink, Arbroath Smokies Direct, D Spink and Iain Spink, all of which use the traditional methods that have won the smokie European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. Scottish Wild Salmon also has a PGI, and Usan Salmon Fisheries, based in Montrose, is one of the last companies in Scotland to bag wild salmon and sea trout in nets. Usan smoked salmon is available form their online shop.
Bread, cakes and chocolate
Well-known bakers Saddlers and James McLaren in Forfar are where youll find the famous bridie. JM Bakery multitasks as high street baker and special occasion cake-maker, while Silla Keyser specialises in made- to-order, often theatrically elaborate cake extravaganzas. Keptie Bakery also does handmade celebration cakes along with their traditional baked goods. For more traditionally home-baked bread, cakes and traybakes, Storm Cakes Irene Gow takes a stall at both farmers' markets in Angus.
Aberfeldy Oatmeal has a range of biscuits and shortbread made from their own Scottish oats and flour, stocked in farm shops and delis. Arbroath-based Mrs Bridges also has a biscuit range, as well as old fashioned hard-boiled sweets. For more confectionery than you could shake a stick at, Sugar and Spices range takes in hard-boiled classics, homemade fudge, gluten, dairy and even sugar-free treats. If you're in Forfar, pop in to see Johanna Woodhead of 88 Degrees who specialises in artisan truffles and hand-made chocolate bars. In Brechin, Carlottas Chocolates produces a range of bars, bonbons and cakepops as well as full and half-day courses in all things chocolate.
If you're looking to buy local, the North Street Dairy in Forfar is the first and only port of call for distinctive Angus dairy. Using milk from farms within a ten mile radius, you can buy it from the dairy, as well as home-made cream and butter, or sign up to the local delivery service. Part ice-cream parlor, part caf bistro, Visocchi's ice-cream is a popular Kirriemuir treat.
Whisky, beer and other drinks
Joining the Scottish micro-brewing revolution is Kirrie Ales. Based in a micro-shed in Kirriemuir, their brews can be found at farmers' markets and a growing number of outlets including the Glenisla Hotel. They join still-youthful MòR Brewing, who only began brewing in 2012 and already have a good flow into local drinking houses.
From the fledgling to the deeply rooted and historic, Brechin's Glencadam Distillery has been transforming water into non chill-filtered, colour-free whisky for over 185 years. Angus might be a potato region but some locals have decided to make vodka with their tatties instead of eating them. Graeme Jarrons Ogilvy Spirits looks likely to get their product to market before Arbikie Highland Estates vodka, which will launch as a prelude to further plans for gin and whisky production.
It's not all about the alcoholic, though. Ella Drinks, also in Brechin, produce Bouvrage, a range of fruit drinks containing a uniquely high percentage of berry juice, while their latest creation Angus Apples bottles the crop of local orchards.