Boat-fresh seafood and delicious home cooking and baking make this stylish home from home a must-visit finds Rosalind Erskine.
Known across the globe for its smoky peaty whiskies, Islay has been drawing tourists to its shores for decades, many of whom return year after year to the tranquil, friendly island. And while famous for its drams - Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin were established in 1815 and 1816 - there’s so much more to discover on Islay, with the food and produce being one of many highlights.
On a recent trip there, I stayed at the family owned and run Glenegedale House Hotel, which is situated opposite the small airport and a short walk from a huge stretch of beach known as the big strand.
Glenegedale has four rooms and amazing food and drink at its heart. I was drawn in by their social media pictures of home baked muffins as much as I was by the Timorous Beastie clad walls. Bookings are on a bed and breakfast basis, but you can also book dinner in the cosy dining room, which has fabulous views of the sunset on nice days. It’s here where owners Emma and Graeme endeavor to showcase the best of Islay produce. Our dinner was a fresh-off-the-boat seafood platter, which consisted of langoustines, scallops, crab, lobster and smoked salmon served with homemade bread and oatcakes. Emma talked us through the seafood, explaining who had caught it and how best to eat it. Served simply in their shells and with salt, lemon and butter, this was a divine dinner which left us comfortably full - with just enough room for dessert, and thankfully so. This was a decadent homemade chocolate mousse which had a lovely smoky kick thanks to the addition of Ardbeg 10 year old.
After a good night’s sleep (due mainly to a few drams and the lavender scented pillow spray) we were back in the dining room for breakfast, which was a three course affair. Starting with an array of fruits, which Emma had poached (we had plums, spiced pears and fresh summer berries) served alongside homemade muesli and yoghurt. This was followed by a freshly baked muffin with whisky soaked raisins and the best porridge I’ve ever had. The creamy oats were accompanied by more fresh cream, a spoonful of brown sugar and topped with Laphroaig 10. If that’s not the ideal start to any day, I don’t know what is.
While it’s easy to make such quality and fresh produce stand out, it’s Emma and Graeme’s little extras in both food and service are what makes Glenegedale a must-visit for anyone set to enjoy the wonders of Islay.
Glenegedale House, Isle of Islay, Argyll, PA42 7AS
Website | 01496 300 400