Loch Leven’s Larder, with it’s stunning panoramic views of Loch Leven, is a family run farm in Kinross-shire, in the east of Scotland. With a restaurant serving top Scottish produce, which is also sold in the delicatessen, a retail shop and a nature trail it’s a popular stop off for lunch or a day out.
Gaining popularity year after year they have won several awards, including National winner at the Scottish Thistle awards, and they are well deserved. This is a family favourite of ours and when I was given the chance to spend the day with the chefs, learning the art of bread making while learning more about how they use Scottish produce I jumped at the chance.
Head chef Peter Backhouse, having previously worked at The Tower Thistle Hotel at Tower Bridge and Liberty’s Fourth Floor Restaurant, began at Loch Leven in 2010 and is passionate about using local produce in as many dishes as possible, believing the fresh country air and healthy soil are vital in ensuring the quality of the delicious dishes he and his team of chefs prepare.
His dedication and that of his second in command, Brian, was clear from the moment we arrived. Keen to show us the ropes, they got my mum working straight away and she was soon up to her elbows in flour and clearly enjoying herself. I got less messy as I was taking the photos. Several trays of scones are made every morning with the chefs starting at 7.30 for the restaurant opening at 9.30. Plain scones, cheese scones and speciality scones are all freshly made and laid out ready for the customers before work begins on the bread.
Brian showed us how it was done, expertly kneading the dough and mixing the ingredients like he could do it with his eyes shut. Every morning several big loaves are baked to be cut up for the soup. Artisan bread and rolls are also baked for sale in the delicatessen. The flavours change regularly and we made caramelised onion bread (I may have bought one or two to take home). We also made a couple of plaited loafs of our own and helped to make some raspberry and white chocolate scones. While we were baking Peter was quietly pottering about and when he was finished he let us taste what he had been making – some handmade sausage rolls with Stornaway black pudding, They were absolutely fantastic, so good I went through to the shop later and bought some to take home, although I was lucky as they were nearly finished already.
The restaurant has breathtaking views over the Loch, and with big chunky tables and funky modern decor it’s the ideal place to sit and relax and soak up the views. Afterwards it’s lovely to have a walk along their nature trail or a stroll down to the water. It’s also popular with cyclists and walkers who come for a bite to eat after the long walk around the Loch.
Also owned by the family is Channel Farm, which sits next to the main building, where all the fruit and veg for use in the shop and restaurant is grown. The shop sells lots of quirky gifts as well as excellent quality clothes and accessories. The Deli section has produce for sale from all over Scotland, as well as their own range of jams and pickled veg. One of the best times to visit if you want to shop is during the sales when you can get some fantastic bargains on clothes.
Loch Leven’s Larder also has an excellent events calendar. The Mother’s Day High teas are extremely popular as well as the afternoon teas. You can visit their website at http://lochlevenslarder.com.