After a very relaxing 10 days in Scotland, we’re back in Chicago. We went on two good hikes, the one I posted about last week and another one which put us across a glen from Ben Nevis. Couldn’t see the top of it though. It wasn’t all hiking up mountains though. We did find time to eat, cook, and sip some whisky.Though we had a gorgeous day for the big hike, the next day was a little cloudy which made it a very good day for a short road trip to Oban. My brother-in-law, Ross, was pretty excited about taking us there, not because of the distillery but because of the seafood. Among the best in the world according to him. And the best part was he knew a place right on the main dock. Talk about fresh!
It was a tiny little shack with outdoor only ‘seating.’ As you can see there aren’t many seats. Just order at the shack, they bring out your food, and you eat. I’ll admit, I didn’t even mind that it was misting a little. It just seemed like you were supposed to be eating this fabulous seafood on the dock in the rain. There are umbrellas! It was pretty popular too.
Cheryl and I ordered the large seafood platter (for 2) which had scallops, crab claws, lobster, mussels, hot-smoked salmon (not a heavy smoke, light), prawns, shrimp, clams, and whelk (sea snail). Everything but the scallops were served cold which didn’t make a difference to me. It was delicious. You can’t tell how much was stuffed in that platter.
From there we walked back around the harbor to the Oban Distillery where we had booked a tour. Even though we’ve been on distillery tours Oban was pretty neat. It’s one of the older ones in Scotland and the distillery was here before the town was. The town pretty much grew up around the distillery, which is why it lies smack dab in the middle of Oban.
They make good single malt whisky too. Because the actual distillery is in the middle of town, there isn’t any room for expansion, which keeps their production low. But very quality. What we really like about visiting distilleries is there is always some whisky available we don’t see here in the Chicago. For example, Oban 14 is their glbal brand which is recognizable and you’ll find it everywhere.But they also have a couple others which our guide said never leave Scotland. Well one of them did!
We brought back their Distillers Edition which was distilled in 2000, bottled in 2015 and is double matured. Oban is not a heavily peated (smoky) whisky, I think it has more citrus and sea saltiness flavor to it. If I recall correctly the one we bought is also aged in a sherry cask so it gets a little sweetness as well.
It wouldn’t be a good vacation if I didn’t do some cooking and we had a great Sunday Dinner. Ross had picked up some wild boar chops from his local Saturday market so I seared and sauteed them, then made a creamy mushroom sauce to accompany. Made some potatoes dauphinoise too.
One more thing. On our way back from the Glen Nevis hike we stopped in Fort William looking for a butcher shop. Didn’t find one but we did stumble upon this bakery which claimed to have the best shortbread in Scotland. The woman behind the counter confirmed they have won the award for it. I’m no shortbread judge but I can say the batch we bought was pretty damn tasty! I can’t even imagine how much butter went into them.
All in all a very good vacation! I’ll just leave you with a couple shots of the views from the place we rented for the week.