Our Blog

The Ultimate Father's Day Guide: 5 Unique Ways to say Thank You in Style

Posted by Bertie Badger on May 16, 2014 4:50:00 PM

Long has it been that the man of the household went to work to support the family and put food on the table while the mother stayed home to look after the children; in modern society the roles are a lot more equally balanced with dad’s job as a parent becoming a lot more hands on. But regardless of their parenting style, all fathers deserve to be appreciated.

It’s come to that time of year again when we find ourselves scratching our heads trying to think of the perfect gift to make them smile and show our thanks for a job well done. Though with just about one month to go until Father’s Day, there’s more than enough time to plan the perfect surprise that you can enjoy together.

Golf

A day out for a round of two of golf is a great way to have fun with your dad. Some alone time on the green with a little friendly competition gives ample opportunity to strengthen your bond.

Eriska Golf

Boat Trips

A day out at sea can make for a great adventure. Embark out to the Western Isles and witness the wonders of Scotland from the sea, spot the wide array of sea birds and animals that inhabit the waters or hunt the many historic castle that line the coasts.

Coastal Connections Boat Trip 22.4.11 resized 600

Clay Pigeon Shooting

Clay pigeon shooting makes for the perfect father-son day out. With guns in hand and adrenaline flowing you'll find yourselves enjoying an unforgettable experience that you can always remember together.

Clay Pigeon Shooting at Eriska

Men’s Spa Treatments

Our spa offer a selection of men-specific treatments that will allow your father to relax and release all the stress and tension built-up over the years from raising you! (only joking). Though a massage could do a wonder of good to help wind down after the days festivities.

Eriska ESPA Spa

Dinner

Finishing the day off with a nice meal can be the cherry on top to a perfect day. Discuss the highlights of your day and reminisce about old ones over a delicious meal and a glass of whisky can leave you feeling closer than ever.

Eriska Restaurant

It's not about what you get - it's about what you do. Though your Dad will appreciate a well-thought of gift, nothing beats a bit of quality time.

Topics: spa treatments scotland, Fine Dining, activities in argyl, father's day, Golf Course West Coast

Seafood in Scotland's West Coast

Posted by Bertie Badger on May 7, 2014 3:53:00 PM

As well as the picturesque setting and rich historic significance, the West Coast of Scotland has always been a popular location for its Seafood.

Being mostly comprised of small fishing towns that border with the Atlantic, it has established itself as a worldwide supplier of great quality fish and shellfish and many would, therefore, pinpoint it as one of the best seafood locations in the UK.

With the privilege of having such an immense selection at our doorstep, our Head Chef Ross works closely with many local suppliers to bring the same level of freshness and quality through to our Fine Dining Restaurant.

Mull

Eriska Scallop

The Isle of Mull is the second largest of the Scottish Isles on the West Coast of Scotland and in recent years it has become well established for wildlife spotting with many rare birds and animals (such as the white-tailed sea eagle) visiting their shores.

As well as their famous Isle of Mull Cheddar – which is a favourite choice from our Farm house Cheese Trolley – Ross also chooses Scallops from a company based near Tobermory, which was established as a fishing town in the 18th Century and labeled Scotland’s most “attractive harbor” due to its row of brightly painted buildings on the sea front. 

South Shian

South Shian is located about 1 mile from Eriska and is home to a branch of one of Scotland's leading aquaculture companies. Scottish Sea Farms have supplied Eriska with the finest quality salmon, farmed in nearby loch’s including Loch Creran which engulfs Eriska’s Eastern Coast and where we also happen to get our supply of Oysters.

Mallaig

Eriska LangoustineKnown by many as the destination of the Jacobite Train (or Hogwarts Express) from Fort William over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct and through some of the most scenic parts of the Highlands, Mallaig is a well-defined fishing-town on Scotland’s West Coast.

For years Eriska have chosen the finest and freshest fish, crustaceans and clams from Mallaig’s docks and to this day still favour their local fisheries to supply the kitchen with most of their seafood including halibut, mussels and langoustine.

Topics: Food, Ross Stovold, Fine Dining, Seafood, West Coast Seafood

Oban Bay Brewery Beer Bread

Posted by Bertie Badger on Mar 28, 2014 1:07:00 PM

beer bread resized 600 Eriska prides itself in the use of the very best local produce to provide our guests with fresh, high quality food and ensure the best dining experience possible. Ross works closely with neighbouring businesses, where possible, and has recently added the Oban Bay Brewery to his list of suppliers – ordering in some of their fine ales to use in our homemade Beer Bread (or so he tells managment!)

The use of the ales from Oban Bay Brewery was a natural choice for Ross who believes that it’s “important to use as local as possible”. With the Brewery located only 12 miles from the hotel it’s transport in better for the environment and boosts local economy.

Why Beer?

We asked the team in the kitchen about the use of beer in the bread. They explained to us that beer can be used to enhance the flavour of bread, giving it a richer taste. The alcohol is burned off in the baking process and leaves behind the flavours of the malts, which can make such an enjoyable difference.

Here on the Island bread is used every night as an accompaniment with dinner. We believe good bread and butter is an essential part to a good dining experience and should stand out as a key feature to any meal. Ross has devised a recipe which involves adding beer to a sourdough starter as well as oats to add to both flavour and texture.

Oban Bay Brewery

Oban Bay Brewery resized 600Obay Bay Brewery branched from the Mull Brewery, based in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, in 2009. They are committed to designing the best quality and tasting ales using 100% natural ingredients.

The beer used in beer bread makes a difference to the flavour; light ales will yield a lighter flavour than the darker varieties. With this in mind, Ross has picked the Oban Bay’s “Skelpt Lug” which he believes will produce the tastiest bread for our guests.

Skelpt Lug is the darkest ale available from Oban Bay. It has a reddish-brown tone and complex taste stemming from the use of both coloured and wheat malts which produces a refreshing, fruity flavour with a ‘hoppy’ finish.

Our beer bread is just one of many things that Ross has introduced to the kitchen since he joined us in the summer. With his passion  for food and creativite mind we don't doubt he'll be adding new recipes to his repetoire in the future. So next time you're with us why not give our beer bread a try and let us know what you think!!

 

 

Topics: isle of eriska, Ross Stovold, Fine Dining, Oban Bay Brewery, beer bread, Skelpt Lug Beer

Eriska's Spring Wine Event

Posted by Bertie Badger on Mar 24, 2014 7:52:00 AM

Last week Eriska hosted it's annual Spring Wine Weekend with guest Wine Connoisseur Philippe Larue of L'art du Vin. The event showcased a selection of French wines by 'Second Generation Winemakers' hand-picked by Philippe, who worked closely with Ross in the kitchen to pair the wines with appropriate dishes.

Wine Choice - Why Second Generation Wine?red wine

When asked about his choice of Second Generation Winemakers, Philippe explained to us that it may have been possible to accuse the French winemakers of the 70s and 80s of complacency; their wines were selling well around the world because of their reputation. With the advent of a number of excellent New World wine styles (such as the Cabernet Sauvignons of the Napa Valley in California, or Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand) there was the need to return focus to quality in order to compete internationally!

With this in mind, Philippe selected some wines where there has been a marked improvement or development of style with the introduction of a winemaker from the next generation who understands the pressure of international competition.  

The Wines

  • Thienot Champagne

Thienot was set up 25 years ago and is run by the youngest MD in Champagne, Stanislas, the son of the original Founder. The company (who also own Canard Duchene) originally sold 70% of their wine in France and exported 30% to the UK, but under Stanislas have added a further 25 countries to their export market. The brand is recieving excellent reviews and are well on the way to competing with the more famous 'Grande Marques'. We used their wonderful Vintage Brut as an aperitif with canapes of our own Smoked Salmon, and Salt Cod with Chicken Skin. 

Run by the Pabiot family, son Jerome started with only 3 hectares, which he recieved as a birthday present. His first step was to convert the vineyard to be totally organic and biodynamic, and over the subsequent years has continued to espouse this philosophy to much critical acclaim. We paired his top Cuvee with hand-dived Scallops and Pork Belly so that the fresh acidity could counter the richness of the Pork, and the herbaceous and mineral character pair beautifully with the lightly cooked Scallop.

  • Chartron

For the fish course we prepared some fresh Halibut from Mallaig with braised Leeks and a Toast Puree. Philippe had selected a beautiful Puligny Montrachet from Jean Chartron so the hints of bread and brioche from its Oak-Ageing would reinforce the flavour of the Toast Puree, and its lean mineral acidity would keep the palate refreshed without overpowering the fresh fish. Now run by the youngest member of the Chartron Family, the estate is maintaining its reputation as being among the finest producers in the Puligny-Montrachet appellation. In fact it was the Great Grandfather of Jean Chartron who campaigned for the hugely reputable suffix 'Montrachet' to be added to the Village name of Puligny, which had the effect of doubling the sale prices of the wines from the area almost overnight!

  • Chateau le Grand Verdus

The current managing director of Chateau le Grand Verdus, Thomas, took over from his father in 2008 after working as a wine consultant in France and Spain. With a degree in agricultural engineering and experience from apprenticeships in Malborough, New Zealand, he introduced a low yield philosophy focusing on the usage of carefully selected grapes and high quality oak for ageing to produce excellent modern Bordeaux. We paired the rich Grande Reserve Wine with Oven Roasted Beef Sirloin, which had been covered with Kohlrabi Ash before being roasted and carved into steaks. The smoky notes of the Bordeaux beautifully complemented the char on the outside of the meat, while the velvety texture and ripe plum flavours served to enhance the richness of the Onion Gravy and Kohlrabi accompaniments.

  • Domaine Mann

With 50% of vineyards in Alsace being owned by Cooperative producers, the wines outside of the top long-established producers can sometimes be a little disappointing. At Domaine Mann however, brothers Maurice and Jacky Barthelmé - sons-in-law to Albert Mann, are gaining quite a reputation. They were awarded winemakers of the year in 2012, and best Pinot Noir in Alsace 2013. We chose to serve their single vineyard Pinot with our cheese course of Isle of Mull cheddar on Sourdough with plum Ketchup. Here the intention was to have the acid profile of the wine counteracting the rich protein of the cheese, while the rich fruit and minimal tannin add another layer of complementary flavour.

The Sweet Wine to end the evening was also from Domaine Mann. We showed the Vendanges Tardives ('late harvest') Pinot Gris along with Slow-Grilled Pear and White Chocolate Curd. The Pinot Gris is a comparatively fresh and light style of sweet wine, and so the flavours are more in the spectrum of ripe pear and citrus purity than the rich and complex honey styles of Sauternes or Tokaji. The Pear dessert was a natural choice to accentuate this character, and the fact that Ross in the kitchen grilled the fruit slowly meant that the natural sugars caramelised and softened the flesh all the way through without introducing any 'burned' flavours.  

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Food and Wine Considerations

Matching wines to food can seem intimidating for those of little knowledge. When matching wines with food there can be said to be two very broad approaches-

  • Traditional

The traditional approach to wine matching is picking wines and food from the same region. Matching food with wine from the same geographical location is a good fundamental rule because often the food and wines have evolved alongside one another and have a natural affinity. Goat's cheese from Chavignol in the Loire Valley with Loire Sauvignon Blancs such as Sancerre or Pouilly Fume is an excellent example of this, or fine Barolo with the truffle and oil-covered pasta of Piedmont in Northern Italy.

  • 'Scientific'

An alternative approach to wine matching is to look at the variety of factors that can affect flavour and trying to find qualities in both food and wine that might complement each other. Things to take into particular consideration would be the levels of acidity in the wine, intensity of flavour, fats and proteins and sauces and dressings, flavour profiles etc.

The fundamentals of this approach can be about reinforcing flavours - for example matching 'heavy' food with 'heavy' wines - or contrasting flavours - using acidic wines with cream or butter sauces to 'cut through' the richness and refresh the palate.

It is also definitely worth pointing out that there are no hard-and-fast rules to the practice of combining wine with food, and the whole thing should be a fun experiment. If you enjoy New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc alongside your Roast Sunday Dinner then you shouldn't let anyone tell you it's wrong!

 

Co-written with F&B Manager Glen Montgomery

Topics: isle of eriska, Isle of Eriska Hotel, Food, Ross Stovold, Wine, Fine Dining, Wine Weekend