While finding gluten free in cities like Edinburgh is usually pretty straightforward, heading out into the Highlands and more remote areas is not quite so easy. Recent holidays in the North West Highlands has uncovered some great finds, which I am happy to share with you.
Manuela’s Wee Bakery, Kintail
Set in the tiny village of Ardelve, close to Kyle of Lochalsh and the popular Eilean Donan Castle, this bakery has been created by a German couple who have brought creative bakery to this remote area. For the gluten lovers the choice is endless: fabulous cakes, pastries and breads are piled up in a cute little cottage-style shop. With a couple of days notice, the talented bakers will create a delicious seeded gluten free brown loaf. I bought two and sliced one up to freeze for sandwiches when walking in the hills. The bread was totally delicious and even tasted like bread! Worth a detour (but call well in advance!).
The Waterside Restaurant, Kyle of Lochalsh
Lovely Plockton! Tucked away in the North West, chocolate box houses and tons of fresh seafood. We enjoyed a superb dinner at the Plockton Inn: piles of huge scallops, tasty herrings, gluten free chips and some great atmosphere. This place gets packed and you need to book, but it’s worth it and the GF choices were wide and the staff were knowledgeable. So good I forgot to photograph it!
Cafe Margot, Ullapool
A great wee gelato and deli in Ullapool, Cafe Margot was an experience I will not forget: my first ice cream cone for four years! They serve some unusual and delicious ice creams, including morello cherry, salted caramel and chocolate and hazlenut. Really delicious and wow – I got to have a real ice cream in a GF cone! The cafe was really careful about contamination and it was a truly fabulous ice cream, enjoyed in the 26 degree sunshine. Joyful.
The Ceilidh Place
The Ceilidh Place is famed for its fun vibe: live music, brilliant bookshop and craic around the bar. They kindly squeezed us in on a busy May holiday week and we enjoyed a great dinner in a room full of mouth watering paintings. It was amazing we didn’t buy any! The menu is clearly marked with GF options, so choosing is easy. The good news is that the chips are now fully GF and cooked in a separate fryer (this is a new development – hooray!). That apart, the service was good and friendly, my starter of herring and horseradish came piled high with salad and was delicious, and a main course of steak and potatoes was not too huge to push me over the edge. Good flavours in a nice rural hideaway pub! Make sure you leave time to browse in the bookshop afterwards ….
Fish and Chips
We found good gluten free chips available in Ullapool at Deli-ca-sea – call in advance so they can switch on the GF fryer; and at Hector’s Bothy in Kyle.
A previous visit revealed how good the Kylesku Hotel is. If you’re unfortunate enough to be doing the North Coast 500 (the campervan highway), then this is a great place to both stay and eat. We enjoyed a really lively evening there in 2019 with gorgeous views, some fantastic scallops with kedgeree, the most amazing starter of venison carpaccio and some delicious toffee ice cream. The wine is good, there is a nice vibe and the staff are great. You might need to book ahead as it gets busy and is on the NC500 jamboree, but you won’t regret it.
This was the find of our holiday this year! On a day when we were weary from hillwalking, we went for a shorter walk to the Old Man of Stoer. In the area around Culkein you will find signs to Choc-o-Latte. Follow them! This gorgous Belgian lady, Sophie, will then create the most devine hot chocolates, coffees and teas for you in a tiny cafe created in her croft. She will entertain you and, most importantly, give you gluten free treats. Marshmallows dipped in chocolate, macarons and a stunning confection of chocolate and meringue – it was totally amazing!
Choc-o-Latte also has some beautiful B&B rooms and lots of hens. So if you want a beautiful night’s sleep and some fresh eggs for breakfast, check them out. A real little hidden gem.
Ullapool has a good Tesco with staple GF food. It also has a few good delis where you can pick things up. Kyle has a Co-op that has good GF too and the Spar in Balmacara is suprisingly good for wholefoods, vegetarian needs AND gluten free! The fabulous Drumbeg Stores has some oatcakes and fantastic cheese, fish and meats.