Nestled on a luscious hillside just outside Inverness, amongst the beautiful beasts who produce for them, is The Dairy at Daviot, a farm-cum-café-cum-holiday let. In this fast developing world it’s becoming increasingly uncommon to find one-trick ponies, that goes for a huge range of jobs and industries, but perhaps most prominent at the moment is the hospitality trade. The standard ‘caf’ is no more. Restaurants, pubs and cafes are becoming more than just a water hole, but are doubling up with industries and offering different services. The Dairy at Daviot, with its divine range of ice cream, is exactly that.
Family farm opens its doors to guests and visitors
The Dairy at Daviot is first and foremost a 19th century farm which has been refurbished into stunning self catering accommodation on an estate in the idyllic Highlands of Scotland. The Dairy has teamed up with a local, family-run business, The Black Isle Dairy, founded by Nick Mackenzie, fourth generation dairy farmer, a business he runs with his wife and creative director Jo. Together the two companies have merged, allowing guests and visitors to experience life on a fully-producing dairy farm.
Stunning surroundings make you feel part of the production
The Dairy is situated just ten minutes out of Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, however once you’ve turned down the windy track leading to the farm you’ve forgotten how near you are to city life. You’re immediately overcome by that farm feel. In the summer months golden fields and luscious green trees surround you, come winter the trees glisten with snow and a glow from inside invites you in to sample some of their delicious produce.
Melt your way to heaven with irresistible ice-cream
Upon entering you’re met by the dairy’s flagship ice cream store, you’re doing well if you manage to resist snapping one up before going any further! The flavours are to die for, you’ve got ‘Pure Milk’ and ‘Just Chocolate’ for the more traditional ice-cream lovers, but for the adventurous there’s not a shortage of exotic flavours to sample, ‘Earl Grey Mint’ and ‘Strawberry Balsamic’ to name but a few. The farm uses local and seasonal fruits, and bases its recipe on the Italian gelato style of ice-cream, churning at a slower speed to create a dreamily, creamy texture.
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Venture inside to see transformation from barn to restaurant.
The space inside is separated into two sections, the first has a cosy, cafe feel with candy coloured tables and chairs. An arsenic green chest of drawers boasts kitsch crockery and cups for sale, and The Highland Soap Company have some of their most delicious bath goodies to buy. This area is designated for those stopping by for a cone, but if you’re after something more substantial continue on through where slate floors and high wooden beams nod to the building’s history, but fresh, buttery hued walls lighten up the space and welcome you in. An old, wood-burning stove adds a gorgeous Highland touch.
Local, seasonal produce take centre stage.
The menu in the main restaurant takes fresh Scottish produce and gives it a tasty twist. Loch Eribol crab & prawns take a trip East and are served up with chilli jam and Oriental salad. Connage cheese, churned just a few miles up the road, is served with mulled fresh pears and toasted nuts. If it’s something more simple you’re after the menu caters for this too, beefy BLT’S on thickly sliced granary bread and seasonally changing quiche special both provide a hearty lunch. Main meals are very reasonably priced between $12 and $18, whilst the substantially sized sandwiches are $9 on average and with such high quality ingredients this is real value.
From field to ice cream cone, a passionate process.
Take pleasure in knowing more about the production of your food and where it all starts off? Take advantage of some of Scotland’s finest produce in the very grounds it originates, with beautiful hillside scenery and a definitively Scottish setting.
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