b'EPICUREA ndrew Carnegie once described Skibo as Heaven on Earth, a Scottish idyll. A pioneer of Highland hospitality, the castle is steeped in history and the sprawling landscape surrounding its grounds is one of Scotlands most spectacular murals. This verdant estate is also a plentiful source of fruit and vegetables, herbs, spices and honey, and its walled garden, which dates back to the mid-19th century, is not only a key part of the castles heritage, it is an important part of its future growth, too. The gardens are continuously growing and evolving, says Skibo executive chef Craig Rowland. Its a real collaboration. We meet with William, our head gardener and his team three times a week. They are clearly proud of what they produce and when they deliver a freshly picked basket of the first variety of the season, we chefs feed off that enthusiasm and feel the responsibility of doing something great with the ingredient.Along with the gardening and estate teams, Craig has developed a five-year plan to fully restore the estates glasshouses. We currently have three glasshouses fully finished and planted, he explains. A fourth is under refurbishment at the moment. To supplement, we have three enormous polytunnels and raised beds, ensuring we can grow things throughout all seasons, from the winter kales to a wealth of berries and soft fruit. This constant evolution of the garden is vital for34 Craig and his team of chefs, who have to be mindful of the ever-changing tastes and dietary requirements of members. Our guests look forward to eating what Scotland does well, in terms of its abundant ingredients, says Craig. As peoples dining preferences are noticeably evolving, so too is the style of food on offer at Skibo. We, as a kitchen team, have a part to play in that food journey. Sometimes, during our well-attended house parties, even though we have a set menu for the evening well still produce eight or more alternative dishes, to cater for varying tastes and preferences. All it takes is a walk around the garden with William to create the foundations of an interesting plant-based dish in a chefs mind.One of the castles hallmarks is the legendary Scottish Night, taking place in Mr Carnegies Dining Room every Saturday. Members traditionally enjoy delicacies such as gin-cured salmon, and fillet of beef with haggis, but inA S PEOPLES DINING PREFERENCE S ARE recent years, castle head chef Lindsay Mackay and hisNOTICE ABLY E VOLVING, SO TO O IS THE team, who create the evening dishes, have been getting creative with ingredients to produce gluten-free options,ST YLE OF FO OD ON OFFER AT SKIB Osuch as peppered venision served with a warm waldorf salad, and some show-stopping vegetarian dishes. Well take an ingredient and manipulate it in three or four different ways to make it as tasty as possible. Weve had great success with an artichoke dish, enthuses Lindsay. We have little Japanese ones growing in the garden, called crosne, which have a water chestnut texture. Well also salt-bake Jerusalem artichokes from the garden,'