Relish Scotland is a magnificent book for armchair gastronauts everywhere: and for those with an interest in Scotland in particular. The "Relish" recipe, if you will forgive the pun, is a fairly straightforward one. Take around thirty of the best hotels and restaurants across the length and breadth of Scotland, and ask the head chef from each to contribute three recipes, one for a starter, one for a main, and one for a dessert. Add in an introductory page about each hotel or restaurant, and there you go...
What really makes this book such a joy is not so much the basic idea, as the way it is carried out. Production values are exceptionally high, and the book is intensively illustrated throughout with large (often full page or double page) photographs of food, of chefs and their teams, and of the hotels and restaurants featured. Undiscovered Scotland does more than its share of photography of hotels and restaurants, and is therefore well placed to say just how good the external and internal images contained in Relish Scotland really are. And as photographers who go to great lengths to ensure our images are straight, it is fascinating to see the creative potential of the occasional image that is deliberately far from it.
Meanwhile, food photography is notoriously difficult and often requires a great deal of time and theatre to set up and execute. What really gets the mouth watering in this book are the extremely high quality (and large number) of the photographs of individual dishes. The book concludes with a section on the "Relish Scottish Larder", listing the names and addresses of key suppliers to some of those featured within the book.
If there is a caveat, it is not to use the two maps in the book as a means of finding your way around Scotland, as they show three of the featured hotels or inns some distance from their true locations. But Relish Scotland does not set out to be a touring guide so that's hardly a major criticism of a book that will inspire many of its readers to try to emulate their food heroes.