Food and Drink
Grantown’s larders can be well stocked from the fare of hill, farm and river and from the productive lands of Moray. With a proud history of brewing and distilling, to replenish the drinks cupboard there is ample choice of beer, whisky and gin. Legend also abounds with tales of illicit distilling and smuggling. The founder of Grantown was so keen to diminish the local consumption of spirits that he himself encouraged the founding of a brewery (in what is now the Grant Arms). Though it is recorded that “the cellars of the Brewery were not confined to vats of nappy ale.” Many travellers have written about their experiences of the area’s food and company. Queen Victoria commented “The dinner was very fair, and all very clean ….. ending with a good tart of cranberries”. Robert Burns wrote of his dinner with Sir James grant and Lady Grant “a sweet pleasant body” and Miss Bailie “the most beautiful, elegant woman in the world” who inspired him later to pen, “O, saw ye bonnie Leslie?. In the Castle Household book giving daily menus for dinner and supper we read for dinner on 22nd July 1775 of “Qr of Roo Harcold Gooseberry Tart, 2 Roast Chickens, Boild Qr of Mutton & Turnip, Sallad Currant Dumplen broth, Small beer.” Life, however, for many was not so good. There were years of serious famine causing many deaths. The Old Statistical Account tells of starving peasants crawling to the churchyard in order to meet their inevitable death on consecrated ground.
Today’s Grantown not only has legends of the sales of the Founder’s Edinburgh House to pay for food for the starving and of the Lochaber men whose cart was tipped into the Spey by Grantown citizens fearing they had come to take away their food supplies, but a wealth of restaurants,
take-aways, coffee shops, bakers, food shops and delicatessens. There are alos hotels and bars catering for all tastes and providing a real welcome. The monthly farmers’ market provides local produce of the highest quality and it is but a short journey to visit distilleries and breweries. Seasonal events too are a great attraction, not least the Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations in the square with mulled wine and mince pies.