Join Mairi (aka The girl behind the Weegie Kitchen Blog) on her Stay-cation this summer we settled for Fife where the sun was out in full force and the food could tempt any traveller. Here’s her Weegie Foodie Tour in the East Neuk of Fife . . .
The first stop on our trip was the Ardross Farm Shop, heck it’s reason alone to come up to Fife, where we stocked up on our week’s shopping. The shop operates out of a beautifully renovated cart shed on the farm and prides itself on being a haven for food lovers.
While the shop is relatively small it’s chock full of locally sourced produce mainly from small artisan suppliers. It’s no wonder we spend a small fortune each time we visit. However if you are on a budget you can still find some bargains, namely in the seasonal fruit & vegetables and free range eggs.
If you get the chance to visit please do try out:
The Little Herb Farm fruit vinegars. These are produced in the nearby village of Pittenweem and come in a variety of flavours. My favourite is Rosemary & Raspberry but I’ve recently invested in the Raspberry, Mint & Chilli version too. I use these mainly for salad dressings but they are equally good drizzled over fresh fruit and ice cream and for livening up gravies, stews and even a glass of bubbly.
Your Piece oatcakes. Based in Fife, Your Piece produces oatcakes, shortbread, porridge bars and cereal using traditional methods. The oatcakes are chunky but not at all crumbly and quite frankly are the only vessel for eating cheese in this part of the world. Stock up on these before you hit the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company (see below).
Ochil Fudge Pantry. I first heard of the wonders of Ochil Fudge by Glasgow Food Geek over on Twitter and when I discovered Ardross stocked these little babies, I instantly bought 3 different flavours. Fudge is fudge, we all love it, but what makes Ochil stand out is their variety of inspired flavours: Apple Crumble, Baileys, Butterscotch, Cherry Bakewell, Chilli Chocolate, Irn Bru and Rum n Raisin to name a few. My personal favourite is Salted Caramel. If your mouth is filling with saliva as you read this but you can’t get yourself over to Fife any time soon, fear not, these folks deliver.
Ardross Steak Pies. Ardross stock a fantastic selection of ready meals made in their own commercial kitchen and their steak pies are hands down the best I’ve ever tried. The pies have a light puff pastry lid & big tender chunks of steak in gravy. They come in 3 sizes to feed between 2-6 people. Do yourself a favour and stock up on several to stash away in the freezer for winter.
Ardross Tea Time Special
With our fully stocked fridge (and somewhat reduced bank balance) on our first night we settled down to an Ardross tea of: Roast chicken with smoked garlic butter with the trimmings and a Strawberry Pavlova.
Thankfully I didn’t have to lug my beloved Kenwood all the way to Fife for the Pav (believe me I would have if need be) because Ardross stock Pavlova bases. All it needed was a thick layer of whipped cream & some Cassis drenched strawberries.
We stumbled across Crail Pottery while exploring the Crail Festival on a drizzly afternoon. The pottery is a family business and I urge anyone to pop along for a look. Their courtyard & shop feels like a cross between a museum and the home of an eclectic hoarder. Every inch of the place has rows upon rows of beautiful handmade & hand painted pottery and no 2 pieces are the same.
If Crail Pottery did wedding gift registry I may actually consider this tradition because it is THE place to pick up unique kitchen paraphernalia and gifts. You can find anything from teacups to cooking pots, lamps, vases and mirrors in a variety of different finishings, patterns and colours. Some items which caught my eye and which I’m keen to go back for 1 day are:
Giant Salt Pigs
Deep Pasta Bowls
Tuscan inspired carafes & goblets
Pittenweem Chocolate Company
For such a small shop The Pittenweem Chocolate Company packs one helluva punch and as soon as you step in the door the smell is intoxicating. The Pittenweem Chocolate Company & Cocoa Tree Cafe is yet another family run business who produce their own artisan chocolate and source speciality chocolates from around the world. Now we didn’t get a chance to check out their cafe but their menu boasts a tempting selection of hot chocolates, cakes, crepes and waffles. Gentlemen, if you are trying to score brownie points with a lady friend, take them here & splash the cash.
You can purchase a pick n mix of individual chocolates in various sized gift bags & boxes charged by weight. I opted for the medium sized box of approx 10 chocolates from their Artisan Chocolate Selection. This cost £12 and came wrapped up in a bow of my choice.
Pricey yes, but it is to be expected and is well worth it. The staff were extremely friendly and helped me select chocolates to my tastes which included: Wasabi, Japanese Whiskey, Port, Lemongrass, Rose Cream, Pistachio Truffle and Salted Caramel. These were by far, some of the best chocolates I’ve ever tasted.
St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
From chocolate to cheese. It was a no brainer for G and I to make this 2 mile trip outside Pittenweem. Once we had stocked up on artisan chocolates it only makes sense to do the same with cheese.
The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company is another family business. The cheese is made using unpasteurised milk which comes from their own cows fed on a rich grass & grain diet. You can purchase a range of cheeses & accompaniments in the shop and there are opportunities to watch the cheese being made as well.
We purchased their famous Anster cheese which tastes like a creamy strong cheddar, a blue cheese and a hard mild cheese with cumin seeds which was divine. The only downside to this shop was the lack of locally sourced preserves.
When we visited, while there was a fantastic selection of oatcakes & biscuits on offer, none of the other accompaniments were locally produced. In fact, none were produced in Scotland. Now this isn’t a case of extreme patriotism and perhaps I was unlucky to have arrived late in the day when these products were sold out. Or perhaps it’s an oversight from the family but I did find it odd that a family business would not echo the ethos they have in their own produce in the produce they stock in their shop.
Like I always say, no trip to a coastal town is complete without some award winning Ice Cream and St Andrews is no exception. It may be the home of Golf and William & Kate’s romance but it is also the home of the lesser well known Jannetta’s Gelato Experience. Something I hear William himself enjoyed while studying there.
There’s no shortage of ice cream pit stops in St Andrews but please do make the effort to check out this family business which has been operating in the same premises for 4 generations. Yes ok the gelato may not be the same as you get in Italy but it was close enough in my book. Anyway their range of flavours, particularly the fruity concoctions, were inspired.
Jannetta’s stock over 100 flavours (every day) of gelato, sorbet & frozen yogurt which you can enjoy in a cone, a tub, a milkshake or a sundae. Alternatively, their Ice Cream Tricycle or Mini Marquee could be enough to tempt any couple to get married in the local area. I sampled a double scoop tub of Pineapple & Dark Cherry for around £3.50.
Anstruther Fish Bar
It goes without saying that no visit to the Neuk is complete without a stop in at the award winning Anstruther Fish Bar for your tea. This family-owned business use sustainable produce and methods and has garnered attention from everyone from the Royal family to Tom Hanks.
Queuing is synonymous with the Anstruther Fish Bar and potentially part of the tourist attraction. The fact that even the locals are willing to queue when there are several other chippies on the same street, only serves to highlight its excellence. Just be mindful of what time you do stop by at. We queued for dinner around 5.30 on a Sunday and waited 50 mins to be served. If you find yourself in the same scenario, do yourself a favour, wrap up warm & grab an ice cream to enjoy while waiting. Eat outside on the pier (just watch out for the seagulls!) or take it home with you if you are staying close by. You can eat inside but tables are limited during peak hours.
A wee bit more about the author . . .
Mairi Young, author of The Weegie Kitchen food blog, is a peelly wally Glasgow girl who enjoys faffing around in her kitchen, is very opinionated about organic free range eggs and whose self confessed 1 true talent in life lies solely in her roast tot ties. You can keep up with Mairi and read more about her love of food via her BLOG, TWITTER, FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.