Crieff has a brilliant selection of independent shops from greengrocers to butchers, florists to jewellers. It’s also located in what could arguably be described as the heart of Scotland’s larder. Not only does Perthshire enjoy prime agriculture land and the resulting crops and livestock from it, but it is also home to many artisanal food producers. These include makers of cheese, bread, charcuterie, gin, beer, mead, chutneys and smoked salmon. So, if you are looking for inspiration for the perfect Christmas gift for the foodies in your life, here are just five of the best shops to visit in Crieff.
The Crieff Food Co.
Owned by local farmer, business man and all round foodie, Jamie Landale, this food hall, café and gift shop offers a wide range of local and homemade produce. Jamie is passionate about the quality and variety of Scottish food and takes great pride in filling his store with it. He has over seventy suppliers from within a 30 mile radius of Crieff. Regular ‘meet the supplier’ events are held at the store, allowing customers to sample their wares and chat with them about their products. If cheese is your thing, they have one of the largest and best cheese counters I’ve seen. The list is pretty endless, but they also stock a range of oils, vinegars, chocolates and gift food, artisan pastas, condiments, wine, beer, biscuits, jams and chutneys, seasonal fruit and vegetables and a brilliant range of bread and baked goods. The café serves delicious local, seasonal and homemade food. They also have a small but beautifully formed gift shop on the ground floor next to the café.
Gordon & Durward
If the foodie in your life is a lover of all things sweet then Gordon & Durward is the place to go! Every inch of this shop is piled high with sweet treats, beautifully presented and colourfully wrapped turning even the most mature of us into, well, a kid in a sweet shop! Gordon & Durward specialise in traditional Scottish sweeties including tablet, fudges, macaroon bars, sugar mice and hand made boiled sweets. They also have a counter of beautiful fine chocolates, pre-boxed chocolates and pre-packaged sweets such as jellybeans. Whilst in the shop you can even peer through the windows to watch the team of confectioners at work whilst breathing in the sweet heady scents of vanilla and sugar.
Fish in Crieff
In spite of being in the centre of Scotland and about as far as you can get from the sea, Fish in Crieff is an exceptional fishmongers and has the awards to prove it! Owned by experienced fishmonger and restaurant owner Willie Little, these ‘pescatorial surgeons’ offer a wide range of fresh fish and shellfish bought directly from Scrabster and transported overnight. The counter is usually heaving with seafood delights such as langoustine, crab, lobster, oysters and scallops. The choice of fish is equally varied and usually includes tuna, salmon, hake, lemon soul, John Dory, monkfish and of course cod and haddock. A favourite of chef Nick Nairn, they also supply smoked fish, smoked salmon and trout, some game and frozen seafood.
Campbells Bakery is a family run artisan bakery which justifiably takes pride in the fact that it has been in the same family since 1830! They have won many prizes and awards for their breads, cakes and pies. In 2017 their granary bread won top prize at the Scottish Baker of the Year Award, giving them the enviable title of ‘Best Bread in Scotland’. They always stock a wide range of seasonal produce and at this time of year it includes: stollen, Christmas cake, mince pies, spiced shortbread canapés and gift hampers.
Perhaps though, the perfect gift from Campbells Bakery for the foodie in your life would be a gift voucher for one of the popular baking classes they run. Master Baker Iain Campbell instructs small classes in the art of bread making with classes on sourdough, Scottish baking, bread making and Christmas baking. Vouchers can be bought online or in store.
McNees of Crieff
McNees are a family run delicatessen which was started by husband and wife team Stephen and Greta. Greta is a chocolatier by trade and Stephen has spent his entire working life in the food industry. They opened their current store in 1989 selling chocolates, fudge and Scottish foods which they later expanded to include a wide range of largely Mediterranean inspired foods.
Today McNees still stock a wide range of chocolates and sweet treats. They also have a range of home made Scottish goods including chutneys, jams, oatcakes, biscuits and my personal favourite, their all butter shortbread – delicious!
They also have a huge range of French made terrines and pates and cans of delicious confit du canard and cassoulet. If all of this gift food shopping has left you feeling peckish you can treat yourself to a homemade pasty, sausage roll or sandwich of your choice made to order and all delicious.