Event Review: Forest Hills Hotel and Spa, The Trossachs, Kinlochard, Aberfoyle, Stirlingshire FK8 3TL

scallops macdonald hotels and resorts forrest hills hotel and spa

macdonald forrest hills hotel aberfoyle trossachs exterior outside

The Trossachs have long been a Glaswegian favourite for a night or week-end away but in these days of cheap flights abroad it’s somewhere that should be re-discovered. We went along to the Forest Hills Hotel and Spa for what was described as a celebration of Scottish cheese, taking in the beauty of the Trossachs on the way. It’s only an hour and a half drive from Glasgow with stunning countryside making it a pleasant drive, even in the rain!

macdonald hotels and resorts forrest hills hotel and spa view from room
view from room

We arrived to a warm welcome and after a quick and easy check-in had a peek at the scenery as the sun came back out. It didn’t disappoint and actually reminded us of the view when we stayed at the cottages in Portmeirion a few years ago.

macdonald hotels and resorts forrest hills hotel and spa
Room View

Some of the rooms have balconies for enjoying the sun (when it’s here!) but we were happy enough with taking in the view from the comfort of the sofa!

After a quick wash and brush up, it was time to head down to the lounge to meet up with the other cheese fanatics!

macdonald hotels and resorts forrest hills hotel and spa
An oyster welcome.

A roaring fire, prosecco and oysters – now I really could get used to this! With glasses in hand, we sauntered into the Lomond Suite, a gorgeous room with the modern Scottish feel, glistening candelabra as well as soft seats for the night ahead.

macdonald hotels and resorts forrest hills hotel and spa
Lomond Suite Interior.

We settled down for some serious chatting, eating and drinking. The drinking was guided by General Manager Jody, who chose some delicious South African wines. We met Jody while he was GM at Ballathie House Hotel (which offered a minimum of 13 cheeses on their dinner trolley!) and he converted us to Pinotage wines – so we trust his booze judgement!

scallops macdonald hotels and resorts forrest hills hotel and spa
West Coast Hand Dived Scallops with soya jelly, coconut puree and roast pepper gel.

Although this looks to be a simple affair, it was a winner. The roast pepper gel worked really well with the huge, meaty scallop. There were actually gasps of joy around the table. This dish would be perfect for a Christmas starter so we will have to find out how it’s made…

macdonald forest hills hotel lime and coriander sorbet
Lime and Coriander Sorbet.

A quick refresher with some refreshing Lime and Coriander sorbet. Not a mix we would normally think of but we certainly will now. It was like dipping into an exotic cocktail made from Thai ingredients. Delicious!

Loin of Trossachs Venison macdonald forrest hills hotel
Loin of Trossachs Venison. Spinach and Chili Gnocchi, Butternut Puree, Baby Beetroot, Berry Jus.

Melt-in-the-mouth local venison with spicy gnocchi to liven up something that is often bland.  Venison is much ignored at home, it’s not as heavy as you think it is, and with the fruity sauce, this made for an indulgent tasting dish.

We had been eyeing up the cheese board – or should I say cheese side-board all night.  For a gaggle of cheese lovers this was heaven.

macdonald forrest hills hotel cheeseFifteen cheeses from all over Scotland were on the board with some hand-delivered by producers who were in attendance, now that is service! It was also great to meet and speak to the cheese makers direct. Blessed Are the Cheesemakers!

macdonald forrest hills hotel aberfoyle trossachs cheese

Jody had taken the accolade of “Best cheeseboard in Scotland and the UK” while at Ballathie, and a year before that he picked up the same award when he was working at Summer Isles Hotel in Ross-shire. This is someone who takes cheese seriously!

But there was one person in the room who was perhaps even more obsessed with cheese, Juliet Harbutt, chief “cheese” and editor of a number of books on the subject who was on hand to provide facts and guidance. Juliet is keen to educate  – we discovered that 99% of all cheeses fit into  just 7 categories and cheese isn’t as fatty as you might think, up to 1/3rd of cheddar is fat but gooey cheeses much less, the gooier the better! And fat isn’t as bad as we once thought, in fact your body needs fat, especially delicious fat!

macdonald forrest hills hotel cheese
Cheese Notes!

We love cheese and this banquet put our own selection at home to shame! We almost had no space left for dessert, but of course we had to!

Taking taste notes from a hot toddy, the creamy parfait with hints of smokey whisky went perfectly with the white balsamic and peach sorbet.   I’m pinching so many ideas from this menu for chrimbo!

macdonald forrest hills hotel aberfoyle trossachs Flavours of a hot toddy
Flavours of a Hot Toddy.
Whisky Parfait, Clove Tuille, Honey & Citrus Syrup and White Balsamic & Peach Sorbet

Sadly, after the port it was time for bed, or at least a nightcap in the bar. Where we drank until the wee hours and taught the night porter how to make a bloody Mary!

This was a fantastic night and we understand that Forest Hills Hotel intend to run more nights like this – watch this space.

For more info on the hotel and their special offers head to:




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.