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Food and drink mean much more than just a good night out in Scotland – they're part of the very lifeblood of our culture and economy. There's a huge market for our venison and lamb, and Scotland is becoming recognised as one of the world's most exciting cheese producers: from Brodick Blue cheese from the Isle of Arran, through to more exotic cheeses like Strathkiness, the Scottish equivalent of Gruyere. Whisky is Scotland's most famous drink and today there are over a hundred distilleries in Scotland. From Speyside to the Highlands and Islands of the west coast, the range and variety of whiskies on offer is astonishing. The tiny island of Islay, for example, has eight distilleries alone, including Bruichaddich, which still makes its malt using the same Victorian process it did over a century ago.
Traditional Scottish foods like haggis, oats, heather honey and Scottish sweets like tablet (a brittle fudge) are still made in Scotland. Scottish oats are some of the best in the world and porridge is now universally recognised as a healthy food whether taken with a pinch of salt in the traditional Scottish way, or with sugar or a teaspoon of heather honey! Haggis is a Scottish delicacy but is eaten more widely than in the past and perhaps its the Burns Supper, now celebrated around the world which can be thanked for this widening of horizons.
Scotland has a strong sporting tradition and can lay claim to the invention of a number of the most popular sports played around the world today including golf, rugby and tennis. Scotland can also claim some responsibility for other sports like hockey which has its roots in shinty. And that's not counting Scottish sports like curling which may be less popular around the globe but still feature in the Olympic Games. Highland Games, which take place from Cowal to Tomintoul and all points in between, are a unique mix of the sporting, the cultural and the social. They usually comprise a programme of field and track events, piping and Highland dancing competitions and 'heavy events' like the tug-o-war, the hammer throw and tossing the caber.