With beautiful beaches, magnificent wildlife and fabulous walking and cycling, the tiny island of Colonsay has all the ingredients for an island adventure. What’s more, it’s home to a thriving community of food and drink producers, making everything from beer to gin to honey. You’ll find island’s eateries take great pride in serving up this fabulous local food. So, enjoy a feast of fantastic food and drink on Colonsay.
Colonsay is the smallest island in the world to have its own brewery, so it would be a shame not to sample one of its three core beers in situ. The Colonsay Brewery’s IPA, 80/- and Pig’s Paradise Blonde are each brewed using natural Scottish ingredients, including the island’s pure Hebridean water.
Colonsay has inspired not one but two gins! Colonsay Gin is made by husband and wife team Finlay and Eileen Geekie, also known as Wild Thyme Spirits. The gin is hand-made in small batches of 160 bottles and takes inspiration from Celtic folklore. It’s a classic gin, juniper led, with botanicals including coriander and orange peel. Wild Thyme Spirits also runs a Gin Lover’s Retreat on Colonsay.
Wild Island Gin was created by the team behind Colonsay Ales. Alongside the 10 base botanicals, six hand-foraged island botanicals - lemon balm, wild water mint, meadowsweet, sea buckthorn, heather flowers and bog myrtle - provide a citrusy and slightly spicy profile.
Isle of Colonsay Wildflower Honey is completely unique. Colonsay is one of the last places in Europe where the Native Black Bee can be found; it is now protected with reserve status by the Scottish Government to prevent cross-breeding. The honey itself has a wonderful aroma with a strong flavour reflecting the island’s flora. The bees feed on nectar from Colonsay’s wildflowers and the herbs that cover the machair. Depending on the season, you’ll get notes of heather and thyme. Andrew Abrahams has been keeping bees on Colonsay for over 30 years. He also offers bee keeping courses on Colonsay. If you’d like to pick up a jar of Colonsay Honey, it’s stocked in the Colonsay Pantry. You can also buy slabs of honeycomb.
Seafood is hauled fresh from the surrounding Atlantic waters of Colonsay. Depending on the season, Dougie the local fisherman will sell lobster and prawns from his fishing boat. Andrew Abrahams, the honey man, also farms oysters, which he supplies to the Colonsay Hotel.
Perched on the hillside above the harbour, the Colonsay Hotel is a cracking place to sample the local food and drink. Dine in the bar, the old dining room, the log room or the restaurant. The menu includes local seafood, meat and locally grown organic salad, all simply prepared and cooked from fresh. Heading back on the evening ferry? Try the set price two course pre-ferry supper from 5.30pm on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings.
Another great option is The Pantry, which is located just next to the pier looking out onto the Jura hills. Relax and enjoy a coffee and fabulous home baking. Lunch is served during the summer and there’s also an evening menu featuring local produce. It is the only stockist on the island of Colonsay Wildflower Honey. Don’t miss the popular Seafood Night when you can try an amazing seafood platter with a mouthwatering selection of the fresh seafood.
And finally, during the summer head to Colonsay House Gardens and Café for delicious lunches and afternoon teas. Everything is baked on the premises and home grown produce is used where possible. Take a walk through the lovely gardens to work up an appetite.
Colonsay hosts a number of events throughout the year, where food and drink is often on the menu!