By Eileen Ogintz
GLENEAGLES, Scotland — What is vacation without good food and Gleneagles Hotel certainly delivers.
It is home to Andrew Fairlie, chef of Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant.
But the other restaurants offer something special as well—maybe trying Scottish food for the first time.
In the Strathearn, a sumptuous breakfast was laid out—everything from a chef making pancakes to Scottish smoked salmon, fruits, charcuterie and cheeses, all varieties of stone baked breads, local jams, sausages and bacon. Much of the food is locally sourced—free range eggs, smoked haddock and seasonal fruits. Even the apple juice is produced nearby in orchards saved by a project to protect Perthshire’s trees.
I tried Oak roast salmon kedgeree, which was a kind of curried and tomato rice dish served with a piece of salmon and a poached egg on top. There is Finnian haddock and traditional Scots porridge with Drambuie Sauce as well as kippers. Though the room is large and grand, the atmosphere is relaxed and ideal for families
Dinner was just as much fun with two kinds of smoked salmon carved tableside for a “starter” as was my husband’s Beef Wellington. I could have had Highland Deer or calves liver or Steak Diane but I opted for bream.
My favorite course—all of the local cheeses rolled to our table! I like that the kids’ menus include things grilled catch of the day carrots and hummus and Scottish salmon as well as mac and cheese and pasta.
For serious foodies, there’s Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant, with French influenced cuisine using the best Scottish ingredients.
More informal is Deseo, designed like a Mediterranean food market where you can walk around to different food stations to see what’s cooking. You can even choose beef based on the way it was bred with information about the farmers who raise them
We were treated to seats at the Deseo chef’s table with a special menu with Chef Paddy Murphy cooking in front of us –after we’d sampled an assortment of Spanish hams and sausages. There was gazpacho scallop cooked in its shell with white beans risotto and spectacular fillet.
And the Dormy Clubhouse, next to the King’s and Queen’s 18 hole golf courses, not only has great views but a terrific list of Single Malts and a menu that ranges from sandwiches to Tandoor baked fish lamb and chicken.
It’s wonderful, the parents I talked to said, to find a resort that has as much to offer parents as the kids—starting with the food, the golf and one of the best spas I’ve seen in a long while.
There is a great indoor pool and outdoor hot tub but also an adult indoor pool and steam and sauna in the men’s and women’s areas. (I loved how the lights changed in the steam room and that the water in the special showers were mango and peppermint scented.
ESPA LIFE also offers programs geared toward wellness. There are alternative medicine practitioners (ready for acupuncture?) as well as programs to help you have more energy or sleep better, even fertility and how to get fit for golf.
I had the opportunity to sample the resort’s signature two-hour SOURCE with ingredients from the local waters and hills. Following a full body exfoliation, muslin=wrapped herbal infusions with ingredients from the nearby country side are terrific—so was the massage! I was served infused water at the end.
I hated to leave