Written by Beth Reid
Written by Beth Reid
Beth Reid is a Scottish history graduate, currently undertaking an MRes in Historical Research specialising in medieval Scotland. Beth runs a microblog on Instagram and has written for Hidden Scotland, The History Corner, and the Historians Magazine.
Written by Greame Johncock
In the late 16th century, Kisimul Castle was inhabited by Ruari MacNeil who caused so much trouble for the Scottish government he became known as “Ruari the Turbulent”. From his island castle he raided merchant ships up and down the west coast, even hunting in the Irish Sea. No nationality was safe from the pirate laird, but his speciality was ships from south of the border.
Ruari was so proficient at piracy that he became famously rich. Kisimul Castle was rumoured to be decorated with fine silks from the Far East, the cellar was filled with European wine and even his horses were shod with golden shoes. He might have been a pirate but for the local people, Ruari was a hero who brought wealth to Barra and a clan chief who looked after them.
His raiding of English ships eventually brought Ruari the Turbulent to the attention of Queen Elizabeth I. She put an enormous price on his head but those who were close with the laird wouldn’t dream of betraying him. Ruari seemed safe and comfortable behind the strong walls of Kisimul Castle.
English gold had failed and so Elizabeth leant on King James of Scotland to bring his vassal to heel. Royal authority was stretched thin around the wild western islands, so a simple order from James would have been wasted. Instead, the King commanded another west coast chief Mackenzie of Kintail to bring Ruari to Edinburgh by any means possible.
Mackenzie arrived at Kisimul Castle claiming to have just come upon a cargo of French wine, inviting Ruari onto his ship for a drink. That drink turned into a wild party and by morning, the pirate laird awoke in chains on his way to Edinburgh. During his trial and faced with execution, Ruari was asked to explain his piracy on the English ships.
His excuse played to the sympathies of the King and the court. He felt duty bound to avenge the execution of James’ mother, Mary Queen of Scots and pirating English ships was the only way he knew how. Regardless of how genuine Ruari’s sympathies were, he was allowed to live but not without punishment. Kisimul Castle and the island of Barra were given to Mackenzie as his reward.
That wasn’t the end for the pirate laird though. Mackenzie agreed to lease his lands back to Ruari and his heirs for only 40 Merks per year, allowing him to return to his old ways. The tradition of cheap rent has carried on, with Historic Scotland now running Kisimul Castle on a 1000-year lease for only a bottle of whisky and £1 per year.
Written by Laurie Goodlad
Yet this couldn’t be further from the truth, and it demonstrates how urbanisation and industrialisation have warped our view of the world map. Today, we see the map from the perspective of a society that heavily depends on our urban centres – London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester – these are epicentres from which everything emanates. We want trains, planes and Ubers – and we want them now.
Yet, go back to 1,200 years ago, and it becomes clear that Shetland sat in the very centre of the world – well, the Viking world anyway. When we cease to think about the world map in modern terms and stop seeing everything radiating from urban centres, we begin to draw a different impression of the map that helps us understand past societies with more clarity and understanding.
Shetland’s greatest strength – which is seen to ‘isolate’ us today – lies in the island’s position, providing the perfect ‘stepping stone’ for seafaring Vikings seeking out new lands as they expanded westward.
Geographically, it is easiest to consider Shetland as a ‘stepping stone’; with Bergen, Norway 200 miles (320 km) to the east, Aberdeen, Scotland 200 miles to the south and Faroe 200 miles to the northwest. Lying between Shetland and mainland Scotland is Fair Isle, 24 (39km) miles to the south and Orkney, 50 miles (80km) to the south-west.
The Vikings are thought to have arrived in Shetland from western Norway about 850 AD and subsequently settled in the islands, giving rise to what is known as the Norse Period. Both Shetland and Orkney became Viking, and later Norse, strongholds until 1469, when rule passed over to Scotland.
The Vikings ruled the seas; venturing from North America to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, they conquered many lands and civilisations along the way. The Old Norse term ‘Víking’ means piracy or raid, and this is how history has defined the Vikings – as raiders – and it’s clear from other parts of the UK and beyond that, that the destructive invasions of these Vikings were often barbaric and bloody. But how much does this apply to Shetland?
Yet, this is open to challenge too. None of Shetland’s pre-Norse placenames survives; the Vikings re-wrote the map, and there is little evidence of what pre-Norse, pre-Viking, society in Shetland looked like. What language did they speak? What did it sound like? What did the culture and tradition look like, and did any of that survive beyond landnám? Could this be an indicator that the indigenous culture of our Pictish people was swamped and whitewashed over out by incoming Viking settlers? Why is it that so little of the pre-Norse culture exists if it was indeed a model of ‘peaceful assimilation’?
Some commentators have speculated that the Pictish population was in a sharp decline in Shetland at this time and that there was little or no resistance to the arrival of Viking settlers. Perhaps the struggling Pictish population welcomed the appearance of these new people with cutting-edge technology and new methods for fishing and farming?
Until evidence suggests otherwise, it would appear that Viking and subsequent Norse settlers assimilated relatively seamlessly into the pre-existing Pictish societies. Once settled, they worked the land, fished the sea, and ruled the islands for around 500 years.#
Although the theory of peaceful assimilation is open to scrutiny and challenge, Shetland is immensely proud of its Scandinavian heritage and still celebrates its Viking and Norse roots today. This is most obvious in the Up Helly Aa celebrations in communities across Shetland from January to March.
Lerwick Up Helly Aa is the island’s largest. The event takes place on the last Tuesday of January, with festivities lasting for 24 hours. It’s a Viking inspired fire festival, attracting thousands of visitors every year.
During these 24 hours, the town’s rule is handed over to the Guizer Jarl, and the Town Hall proudly flies the Raven Banner flag. For many, Up Helly Aa is the highlight of Shetland’s social calendar, and it is no surprise that the day after Up Helly Aa is a public holiday.
When visiting Shetland, expect something unique – this is no remote outpost of the United Kingdom; you’ve just been reading the map wrong for all these years.
Hidden Scotland 2022 Wall Calendar
Hidden Scotland Magazine Issue 3 – Pre-order Now
Brand new to 2022, Hidden Scotland is delighted to be offering it’s first wall calendar for you to enjoy throughout the year, or gift to someone who you think needs a piece of Scotland in their home/space. Christmas gift wrapping is also available, where you can also add a gift message.
Each month let us transport you to a different stunning location in Scotland, through the captivating photography within. A full image to be enjoyed on each page, with the choice to use as a print afterwards.
A full page for each calendar month, with a square for each day to write in, as well as a notes section at the bottom for any additional information you need to jot down for that month.
Size: A4 (210mm × 297mm) / (8.27 × 11.69 inches)
Front cover: 400gsm Thick Matte Card Stock.
Inside Pages: 250gsm Thick Matte Card Stock.
Ring bound – Black wire.
January – Megget Reservoir, Scottish Borders by Fran Mart
February – Standing Stones of Stenness, Orkney by Rachel Eunson
March – Fair Isle, Shetland by Kev Morgans
April – The Vennel Steps, Edinburgh by Shawna Law
May – Dhiseig, Isle of Mull by Fran Mart
June – Achmelvich Beach, Sutherland by Simon Hird
July – The Jacobite Steam Train, Glenfinnan Viaduct by Daryl S Walker
August – Plockton, Wester Ross by Justin Nugent
September -Glas-allt-Shiel, Loch Muick, Aberdeenshire by Martin Bennie
October – The Quiraing, Isle of Skye by Chris Houston
November – Castle Stalker, Argyll by Simon Hird
December – Glencoe, Lochaber by Emilie Ristevski
Winter Tales Book Festival (3rd-5th December, New College)
New College is hosting its first-ever literary festival. The festival will take place over three days and cover literature, religion and the imagination. Confirmed speakers include Robert Harris, Sally Magnusson, Val McDermid, and more.
Scottish Jazz Weekend (10th–12th December, Online and In-Person)
Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival’s has organised an exciting programme for Scottish Jazz Weekend which will treat audiences to Scotland’s diverse array of talented artists.
The National Whisky Festival (11th December, Summerhall)
Whether you’re a seasoned whisky enthusiast or a curious newcomer, The National Whisky Festival is a fun day out. There’ll be whisky tastings, masterclasses, pop-up food and drink stalls, plus live music.
Edinburgh International Magic Festival (17th–30th December, Various Locations)
Edinburgh International Magic Festival is back! The popular not-for-profit annual festival ensures fun for all ages through magic and the limitless possibilities of the human imagination.
The festive season is upon us and with it comes pantomimes, ballet performances, candlelight concerts and more. However, this time of year can also be a little overwhelming so if you’re looking for a few peaceful hours away from the frenzy, we’ve tried to include a diverse range of events.
New Arrivals: From Salvador Dalí to Jenny Saville (Throughout December, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – Modern One, Free)
King’s Panto: Sleeping Beauty (Until 16th January, King’s Theatre, from £19)
Scottish Ballet: The Nutcracker (From 1st December, Festival Theatre, from £19.50)
Black History Walking Tour of Edinburgh (4th & 12th December, Melville Monument, £16)
Christmas Drive-In (4th–5th December, Murrayfield Ice Rink, £33)
Christmas Dinner (From 6th December, Lyceum Theatre, from £10)
1902 – A Play 114 Years In The Making (6th-11th December, Leith Arches, from £13)
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at Christmas (11th December, St Mary’s Cathedral, from £19)
What the Dickens? – Immersive Christmas Show (13th-19th December, Stravaig Theatre, £8)
White Christmas (From 14th December, Edinburgh Playhouse, from £24)
Sir Ranulph Fiennes: Living Dangerously (18th December, Usher Hall, From £29.70)
Glasgow Experimental Music Series (19th December, Fruitmarket Gallery, Free)
The Best of Scottish Comedy Hogmanay Special (31st December, The Stand, £30)
After a year away from tradition festive celebrations, it’s clear that Edinburgh is making up for lost time so here are a few more events that are guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Festive Afternoon Tea at The Colonnades (throughout December, Signet Library, £50 per person)
Enjoy a decadent festive afternoon tea at The Colonnades with sandwiches, delectable savouries and cakes made using the finest seasonal ingredients and served on silver tea stands.
Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights (until 2nd January, Edinburgh Zoo, £18)
Looking for a fun event for the family? Edinburgh Zoo is hosting a spectacular light trail – there may even be an appearance from Santa!
Christmas at the Botanics (until 2nd January, Royal Botanic Garden, £20)
The Botanics’ hugely popular illuminated trail is back. Discover sparkling tunnels of light, dancing waterside reflections and trees drenched in jewel-like colour.
Edinburgh Christmas (until 4th January, Various Locations)
Edinburgh Christmas is back and it’s bigger than ever! You can expect the annual Christmas markets, ice skating, and fairground rides as well as a new section in West Princes Street Garden.
The Mound Christmas Installation (until 4th January, The Mound, free)
Edinburgh-based artist Hannah Ayre has installed a beautiful art installation featuring cascading geometric snowflakes beside Edinburgh’s Christmas tree.
Castle of Light (until 9th January, Edinburgh Castle, £20)
Experience Edinburgh Castle at night with stunning visuals and state of the art lighting installations that guides you through the Castle grounds while you soak up the tales of this iconic landmark.
Spectacle of Light (From 4th December, Dalkeith Country Park, from £9.90)
Take a woodland walk through Dalkeith Country Park and enjoy luminescent blooms, the Nutcracker Garden and take in the view from Fort Douglas’ viewing platforms.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (29th December–1st January, Various Locations)
Bring this month to an explosive close with Edinburgh’s annual Hogmanay celebrations! Its hugely popular street party, torchlight procession, and loony dook are back.
Edinburgh is known for its rich literary history and bookshops are an integral part of the city. Several host regular events and here is a selection:
Topping & Company (2 Blenheim Place)
Topping & Company will be welcoming four authors this month, one of them being, Alexander McCall Smith who will be chatting about his three new books (2nd December).
Golden Hare Books (68 St Stephen Street)
Golden Hare Books has organised a cosy evening in partnership with Smith & Gertrude for a Wine & Cheese Book Club. Enjoy brilliant reads, beautiful wines and seasonal cheese! (8th December)
Lighthouse Bookshop (43-45 W Nicolson Street)
Lighthouse Bookshop has arranged two interesting literary events for the month of December, The Future Generations Book Group: Postcolonial Love Poem (online, 6th December) and Women In Translation: Childhood (13th December).
Portobello Bookshop (46 Portobello High Street)
Lastly, Portobello Bookshop is welcoming Juno Dawson to celebrate her new festive book with an Edinburgh setting, Stay Another Day. The event is scheduled to take place in person but will also be live-streamed (2nd December).
Edinburgh is fortunate to have a variety of weekly neighbourhood markets to visit, here are a few to look out for.
Grassmarket Market (every Saturday, from 10am-5pm)
A weekly market offering freshly baked goods, seasonal produce, and local craftwork.
Leith Market (every Saturday, Dock Place, from 10am-5pm)
Sitting beside the Shore, Leith’s weekly market hosts predominantly food stalls as well as a few local makers.
Stockbridge Market (every Sunday, Saunders Street, from 10am-5pm)
Stockbridge is one of Edinburgh’s busiest markets selling a range of street food and lifestyle products.
Edinburgh Farmers’ Market (every Saturday, Castle Terrace, from 9am-2pm)
Drop by Edinburgh Farmers’ Market to browse seasonal produce such as fruit, vegetables, locally sourced game, and more.
The Pitt Street Food Market (every Friday-Sunday, Pitt Street, various times)
This hugely popular street food market hosts a range of street food traders with live music.
SPECIAL EVENTS AND POP-UPS
A plethora of talented artists and makers call Edinburgh home. So, if you’re looking for a unique present for a loved one that also supports one of these local artists, visiting a Christmas market or fair is a good option. Thankfully, there are so many to choose from, here are just a few to look out for:
Abbeymount Makers Market (4th December, Abbeymount Studios, Free)
The Abbeymount Makers Market takes place on the first Saturday of each month (11am-5pm) and showcases work from the talented resident artists, designers and makers.
Christmas on Castle Street (until 23rd December, Castle Street, Free)
Castle Street is hosting a Christmas Fair with a range of independent makers and designers who will showcase their beautiful handcrafted products.
Ocean Terminal Christmas Market (2nd-19th December on Thursday to Sunday, free)
Ocean Terminal Christmas Market is predominantly a maker’s market so it’s the ideal place to pick up quality handcrafted gifts and enjoy delicious food and drinks.
Out of the Blue Christmas Arts Market (4th & 11th December, Out of the Blue, £2)
Out of the Blue Drill Hall is a hub for creativity and artists so where better to visit for beautiful gift inspiration. Over the two days, more than 100 artists will be exhibiting and selling their work!
Glow – Scottish Design Fair (4th-5th December, Dovecot Studios, £3)
Celebrating the best in local design, this is the perfect opportunity to support local makers, take part in a creative workshop, and pick up festive gifts.
Assembly Rooms Christmas Fair (4th-5th December, Assembly Rooms, £4)
3d2d’s popular annual Christmas Fair is back! Enjoy browsing the stalls of 120 of Britain’ finest artists, designers and makers under the Assembly Rooms’ stunning chandeliers and period features.
Summerhall’s Christmas Market (5th December, Summerhall, Free)
Summerhall has hand-picked 50 of their favourite independent Scottish sellers and makers for their Christmas market. Pop along to Summerhall on the 5th or shop from the comfort of your home with their virtual market.
Dovecot Christmas Shopping Evening (9th December, Dovecot Studios, Donation)
Dovecot Studios is staying open late for a very special after-hours shopping event. Enjoy a glass of prosecco and a mince pie while you browse their beautifully curated shop.
Hopetoun House Christmas Shopping Fair (10th-12th December, Hopetoun House, from £8)
Visit Hopetoun House for a luxurious shopping experience. There will be over 60 exhibitors offering a wide range of artisan and unique gifts for Christmas. The Stables Café will also be open for refreshments.
Support The Makers Christmas Market (19th December, The Old Dr Bells Baths, £1)
If you find yourself approaching Christmas with still a few gifts to buy, pop along to Old Dr Bells Baths to browse a beautiful selection of locally curated handmade products.
Bruntsfield Christmas Night (1st December, Eric Liddell Centre at 6pm)
Head along to Bruntsfield on the 1st for their Christmas light switch on, Santa’s Grotto, discounts at stores, a fun treasure hunt plus mulled wine and nibbles!
Cloud 9 Edinburgh: Late Night Shopping Event (2nd December, open till 8pm, Cloud 9)
Cloud 9 is hosting a late-night shopping event with 10% off, refreshments and nibbles! There will be several late-night shopping events across Edinburgh so keep your eyes peeled.
Broughton Street Christmas Shopping Event (3rd December, Various Locations)
Broughton Street, a haven for independent shopping, will be celebrating the season with a late-night shopping event!
Tartan Blanket: Christmas Pop-Up (3rd & 4th December, Tartan Blanket Studio
The Tartan Blanket shop is having a sample sale with discounted prices plus the opportunity to browse their latest collection.
Coburg House Open Studios (4th–5th December, Coburg House)
Coburg House Open Studios invite you behind the scenes of their studio doors for a Winter Open Studios Event for a chance to get your hands on unique Christmas presents.
Last, but not least, there are always businesses opening their doors for the first time in Edinburgh. Here are a few which have opened in November and will be opening in December. Why not pop along and welcome them!
Hidden Scotland Magazine Subscription
Hidden Scotland Magazine Issue 3 – Pre-order Now
Subscription to future Hidden Scotland Magazines Automatically receive every new issue.
You will receive every future issue as soon as it’s released (there are two per year). Today you will pay for the next issue (Issue 4 Spring/Summer 2020) and then going forward you will be charged one month before subsequent issues, so you never miss a copy.
Hidden Scotland magazine is a bi-annual printed magazine, which comes out twice a year; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, and we have just launched a standard subscription service for your convenience, to ensure you never miss a copy. As part of the subscription, you will also be able to gain access to Hidden Scotland’s exclusive content online. We have collaborated with travel writers and creative storytellers in order to bring you articles and features that won’t be shared anywhere else. To give you a taster; you will have access to slow travel guides as well as articles from previous issues of the magazine. This will be updated regularly so you will see fresh content popping up throughout the year.
All of this will be accessed through your own account, where you can also login to update any details, such as view orders you have placed, change your details; e.g updating your delivery address, and if you would like to, you can also cancel your account from here too.
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This will set you up with your own account, and you can start accessing the exclusive online content right away. Your Standard subscription will then auto-renew until you cancel, which means that every issue of Hidden Scotland magazine will be sent out to you as soon as it is available.
Each issue is £15.00 + delivery, and you will be charged automatically about one month prior to release. Make sure you keep your shipping and payment details up-to-date, so we can keep sending you the magazine.
Written by Colin Fraser
With National Cake Day just behind us, I’ve been craving all things that fit into the sweet variety. Icing topped sponges, sticky cinnamon buns, elegant cupcakes and picture-perfect patisserie, there’s plenty to fill your boots in the city and the shire.
To quote the infamous Marie Annetoinnette, “Let them eat cake” and lots of it too, I say. If you’re starved of inspiration, I have a few recommendations up my sleeve this week.
Braemar is right up there as one of my favourite places in the North-east. Right on the cusp of the Aberdeenshire border, this charming little town has gained even more allure with the addition of the Hazelnut Patisserie.
Forming their friendship while working at neighbouring hotel The Fife Arms, owners Mathilde and Ros set out to live out their passion of owning their own patisserie to create stunning artisan delicacies. Royal berry tartlets, elegant cheesecakes and hazelnut choux are just a few of its selection with plenty more wonders in store and believe me, these are almost too beautiful to eat – that’s a small ‘almost’ mind you.
And I’ve got to note the light lunch options too with plenty of pies, cheese crusted quiches and stuffed croissants to choose from.
Reflecting on the journey so far, Mathilde said: “Ros and I opened the patisserie back in April this year and have been overwhelmed by the welcome we received.
“The patisseries are inspired by the Scottish seasons and executed with a French flair. We make the most of the wonderful berries which we are lucky to find close by, use our gardens (and our neighbours’) for rhubarb, herbs and plums and forage as much as we can for wild berries and mushrooms. September is my favourite time of year and I had the most fun on the hills looking for the little sweet gems.
“We work closely with businesses who share our values such as Wark Farm in Cushnie for their wonderful pies, Wild Hearth Bakery in Comrie for their delicious bread, our fabulous Braemar Butcher for its ham and Crathie eggs, Royal Deeside Honey and Figment in Aberdeen for their fragrant coffee.
“We’ve had a fantastic first season and hope to carry on next year when we re-open after our Winter break.”
The patisserie is now closed for the winter and if my words have done the trick, you can get this place ticked off your list when it reopens in spring.
America is known as the home for supersized fast food and in Aberdeen, we’re the home of monstrously sized cookies thanks to the Cookie Cult making one big hefty dent in appetites with NYC style cookies.
Nailing presentation with a range of impeccably presented half-baked wonders, these boulder sized cookies are to die for. Take your pick of seven cookie flavours featuring red velvet, Biscoff, birthday cake and a vegan oreo cookie. The favourite for me has to be the Nutella cookie packed with nutty chocolatey goodness, glittered with hazelnut chunks and bursting at the seams with an inner hazelnut spread.
Make sure to double up on the bicep curls, you’re going to need all the strength you can when you hold a box of these cookies – imagine a toddler getting passed a heavy suitcase, that was pretty much me receiving my box.
With a cult of followers growing day by day, the Cookie Cult delivers not only locally but all around the UK, posing the perfect gift option for any birthday, anniversary, farewell or just treat yo’ self!
Creating 100% vegan craft baking from its base in Newburgh, the Vegan Bay Baker produces a catalogue of bakery goods all using hand-crafted recipes by head baker Steve Buchan.
Yum yums, doughrings and battenburg are just some of the sensational eats to its name and I’m eager to try its chocolate mud pie which is just asking for my face to plough through.
Taking on local domination with the supply of baked goods to cafes and restaurants across the region and sellout stalls at farmers markets, demand is something the Vegan Bay Baker is definitely not free from.
With a broad portfolio of best-sellers under his belt, Steve shared his go to bake: “My favourite product is definitely the butteries. Honestly – nothing beats a fresh buttery straight out the oven. They are always consistently a top seller at markets we go to.
“I’d also recommend those with a sweet tooth try our yum yums and doughnuts. We always get great feedback on these and again are huge sellers!”
Fluttering onto the scene in the midst of the pandemic, The Fat Sparrow Bakery brought luxury cupcakes of true artistry to the people of Aberdeen. Known for its range of season specific cupcake boxes, this small batch bakery has a flavour for every occasion (or should I say forecast?). Of course I’ve tasted my way through the boxes and my favourite has to be the lemon meringue with its moreish lemon curd and sensational Italian meringue top.
A crowd pleaser is its signature cinnamon rolls huddled together in one big doughy bear hug all topped with a velvety cream cheese top. These are much favoured in my circle, so much so that these buns have even featured as a birthday cake – some say I cut corners, I say ingenious.
I should mention too that all the frosting, creams, curds and fillings used throughout the range are all handmade, making every hand crafted item truly special.
The talent perched behind The Fat Sparrow is master baker Graeme McKay. I was keen to learn where his baking bug started and Graeme reflected, “The Fat Sparrow Bakery was born from watching my own family making home bakes to bring the family together to enjoy a traditional piece over a great conversation. “I’ve always felt the importance of bringing people together and appreciated a delicious home bake.
“I’m influenced by my travels around America and Canada and strive to deliver the best quality flavour, visual appeal and consistent quality through my range. As the business grows I want the brand to be recognised for quality and the ‘go-to-treat’ for a family gathering. The business has evolved with my customers and they are at the core of everything I do.”
Taking the city by storm over the past few months is The Bread Guy’s Bakery fleet plotting around Aberdeen. After many years learning the trade and getting his rolls in a row, owner Gary opened his first shop in Torry and since then has expanded to have two more bakeries on Great Northern Road and most recently, Rose Street.
Think of your classic Scottish bakery but with extra heart. Stocked to the brim with freshly baked breads, cakes, tarts, butteries, doughnuts, sausage rolls – you name it – this place has it all.
Now for a guy that hoovers up food in seconds, you can understand my glee when portions are generous and The Bread Guy’s Bakery fits the bill (or should I say belly?). Bagging a French Fancy during my last visit, this sizeable – strike that, ginormous – take on a classic was sensationally fluffy as well as delicious.
“The Bread Guy has grown quickly over the last few years, and we have opened 3 new shops over the last 18 months alone.” shares Director Donna McAllister.
“Part of this success I believe is down to shoppers looking to shop and support local during the pandemic. During lockdown, we saw a lot of new customers coming through the door, who then quickly became regulars!
“Speaking to our customers, they come to support a local family business, see the friendly welcoming staff and taste a great selection of products. I personally love, and highly recommend, our Nutella Biscoff Tiffin!”
If house guests are dropping by, La Gourmandise is the perfect place to grab your stand out bakes to blow the socks off your visitors. Nestled on Thistle Street, this unassuming patisserie sits peacefully with french signage like its been teleported from a quaint French village. Stepping through the front door you’re hit with smells of freshly made baguettes, pastries and tempting tarts, all before being captivated by instagrammable items.
It’s been a while since I last visited but the memory of the cherry tart and custard slice lives rent free in my mind.