Taste Islay & Jura

Taste Islay & Jura -Food Drink and Foraging Festival

Home to ten whisky and three gin distilleries, plus ales, wine this festival aims to celebrate local and foraged foods alongside its world famous drinks offering. Businesses are working collaboratively to bring something new to our islands.

The weekend event runs from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd September with events taking place throughout the islands. On Friday head over to Jura and Lussa Gin for a special Taste of Lussa Tour. A special 1 hour session discovering how the three women of Lussa create their gin, enjoy it paired with locally sourced venison and shellfish, all with a juniper influence. If you are feeling more energetic head to the Machrie Hotel on Islay where Kayak Wild Islay are offering an unforgettable Fat Biking Experience along the Big Strand, stopping for a wild kelly kettle brew with Argyll Coffee Roasters coffee enroute. After a bike on the beach, head back to the Machrie Hotel to enjoy some exquisite local food.

Into Friday evening and it’s over to Islay House in collaboration with The Botanist Gin for a Taste of Wild Islay. Enjoy a 5 course taster menu with gin cocktails before enjoying the Scottish Premier of The Botanist’s Wild – A State of Mind Mini Film Series.

Saturday is Market Day. Taste Islay & Jura is bringing a traditional market with a twist to Islay. Located in Bowmore Square and The Harbour Inn 10am – 4pm, this local market will bring together food and drink producers from Islay, Jura and wider Argyll. In the square, shoppers can buy local meats, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, preserves, coffee, seafood, pre-cooked foods and meals as well as enjoy some fantastic lunch offerings. We are really excited to welcome Colin Hinds, Patron Chef of The Kilted Lobster in Edinburgh to our festival. Colin will be cooking up a storm with a sumptuous Lobster Barbecue during the market.

Head to the Harbour Inn to find a host of beverage delights. With 3 gins, whisky, wine, ale, rum and cocktails all under one roof this really will be something to enjoy. Drams, tastings, pairings and demonstrations will be running from 11am. Find out how to prepare syrups from foraged plants with The Botanist Gin and get a lesson in cocktail making with the Harbour Inn team.

We are hugely excited to welcome writer, broadcaster and food anthropologist Ghillie Basan to our festival. Ghillie will be creating paired canapes to enjoy on the day utilising the wonderful food and drinks offering we have on Islay & Jura. Expect to tantalise those taste buds with oysters, scallops and lobsters, venison, lamb and beef, smoked, preserved and roasted produce – a treat awaits all those that visit. During the day Ghillie will be talking about her new book, Spirit and Spice come along and enjoy a dram or two.

Fancy getting hands on and creating something special? Book onto a two hour Chocolate Making Session at Islay High School on Saturday with chocolatier and tutor Chris Wolfe. Learn about chocolate, its history and make your own truffles to take home at the end of the day.

Across the three days of the Festival Bowmore Distillery are offering a special Tour at 2.30pm with specially selected drams paired with exquisite chocolates from The Oban Chocolate Company. Laphroaig too are putting on a special daily tour for Taste Islay & Jura, book onto the 2.30pm Laphroaig Food Pairing Tasting Tour and enjoy some fantastic locally sourced appetizers created by local chefs paired with four Laphroaig drams.

Saturday night and its over to The Port Charlotte Hotel in partnership with food and whisky connoisseur Martine Nouet. Martine will host a Whisky Tasting Dinner with each local produce course paired with Islay & Jura Whiskies.

Sunday isn’t a day of rest with lots more on offer to keep everyone entertained and fed! Islay Sea Adventures are offering a special Islay seafood tour. A unique chance to enjoy the scenery and wildlife from the sea whilst sampling some of the best local produce available. Hand dived scallops will be the star of the show and guests will have the opportunity to try and catch a fish for the onboard barbecue.

For those wishing to remain on dry land but still enjoy a taste of the sea, head over to the Islay Nature Centre at Port Charlotte and enjoy a Celebration of Seaweed. Visitors can learn about the different seaweeds that can be found around the coastline of Islay and Jura, discover tips and advice on how to forage for seaweed safely and sustainably. A session will run from 11- 12 where the team will prepare and cook seaweeds giving visitors the chance to taste some and inspire experimentation at home. Keeping on the theme of foraging The Botanist Gin’s professional forager, James Donaldson is leading an unforgettable walk through Bridgend woods. James will be pointing out some wild edibles on our doorstep, including the ones to avoid, culminating in a Botanist and tonic with your own foraged garnish.

If its family fun you are looking for Port Ellen Playing Fields is the place to be. With Star Baker and sandcastle building competitions, a local produce barbecue and mocktails for all, this 12 – 4pm event promises something for everyone.

Look out for special menu’s across the islands during the festival celebrating everything that is on our doorstep. We’ll be welcoming the TartanSpoon Food & Drink Blogger to our event – we can certainly promise three days of Scotland’s finest.

To find out more details and to book events visit www.tasteislayjura.com and follow us on social media @tasteislayjura


Taste Islay and Jura is organised by the Islay & Jura Tourism and Marketing Group – Explore Islay & Jura.

2019 is the first year of the festival with funding, support and sponsorship received from Connect Local Regional Food Fund, Calmac Ferries and Argyll and the Isles Tourism Co-operative.


Social Media @tasteislayjura @ghilliebasan @tartanspoon @kiltedlobster @ConnectLocalSco @CalmacFerries @WildAboutArgyll and use the hashtags #tasteislayjura #RFFAward #scotfoodtourism #myargyll