The Scottish Highlands are having a style renaissance. At the intersection of heather-strewn glens, moss-topped escarpments and navy-mirrored Lochs is a growing community of regenerators celebrating homegrown Scottish craft. Coining the term chilled-Scot, this pared-back aesthetic that focuses on quality is in evidence from design to textiles, particularly at Dun Aluinn, an original Queen Anne-style Scottish villa brought up-to-date with a Nairn-sourced bronze dining table and Danish lighting.
Nearby to Dun Aluinn, the mist-swirled town of Aberfeldy, Scotland’s first Fairtrade town, is fast becoming a hotbed of local talent. Already in residence is whisky distillery Dewar and just a few kinks of the River Tay bring you downstream to The Highland Chocolatier at Grandtully, where Iain Burnett is putting his artisan chocolates on the international foodie map. In fact, that might be underselling his talents: Burnett’s truffles have been crowned as the world’s best – twice, alongside receiving over 40 other awards.
So, what is the secret to Burnett’s extraordinary success in making the most delicious chocolates in the world? A visit to the Highland Chocolatier shines a light on Iain’s art as well as giving chocolate-lovers a chance to taste his range of truffles, bars and dipped fruit. There’s an extensive chocolate shop, a heavenly chocolate café and gourmet tasting workshops which pair his finest truffles with champagne, coffee and whisky. Yum, yum and yum again.
But before we get loaded on sugar, we should take a moment to celebrate this Scottish innovation, which like many local businesses, focuses on high standards of quality. Burnett sources the single-origin cocoa bean from little-known island paradise São Tomé,off the coast of Africa. Then, he adds all-natural ingredients such as liquorice, chilli, lime or clove with fresh Scottish cream from a select herd of cows to create his uniquely flavoured hand-crafted truffles.
But allow for a little pause as Burnett’s trufflesreach our mouths, as we should acknowledge the time and effort within these nuggets of deliciousness. Did you know that the now-famous award-winning Velvet Truffle took three years to get just right? Still, taste-testing these delectable chocs can’t have been a tough job…