Feb 072017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

L-R, Paul Whitecross, Nick Nairn and Ross Spence.

Three of Scotland’s finest chefs are teaming up to share their passion for food in a unique culinary experience, which is set to be a recipe for success for Aberdeen.
Nick Nairn, Ross Spence, executive chef at The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa and Paul Whitecross, executive chef at Trump International, will each present an individual course aimed at delighting the senses, showcasing their world-renowned gastronomic skills.

The trio are working together to cook-up Savour, a culinary feast which will take place on Saturday, 4th March, at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa.

The event is being hosted alongside North East Sensory Services (NESS), a charity which supports people of all ages from babies to grandparents, who were born deaf or blind, or for those who have lost their sight or hearing.

The chefs will each create a course for the gastronomic adventure, focusing on the senses of taste, smell and sight, which coincides with the charity’s work with people with sensory issues.

Ross Spence said:

“It’s fantastic to be able to work with Nick and Paul for this event and we will present a superb overall dinner which will thoroughly delight the guests. NESS is an important charity in Aberdeen and across the North-east, supporting more and more people with hearing or sight loss, and we are delighted to host this unique evening.”

Paul Whitecross added:

“The team at Trump International is always keen to support charities which are important to the North-east community and this is set to be a fantastic foodie event to tantalise the tastebuds of the diners who are lucky enough to secure a place at this exclusive event.” 

Nick Nairn commented:

“Given our position with the business and our commitment to the North-east we wanted to be able to give something back to the community that supports us.  NESS is an excellent charity and it’s a wonderful opportunity and a wee challenge to create a feast which excites the senses.”

NESS CEO Graham Findlay said:

“We are delighted that these prestigious chefs are taking the time to devise and present a unique menu for NESS. We are looking forward to an incredible evening, which will excite the senses.

“Nick, Ross and Paul are great supporters of NESS and the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa has been a very good friend to the charity for many years.”

As well as a four-course dinner focusing on the senses of taste, smell, and sight, the evening will include a champagne drinks reception, a VIP auction and raffle, followed by entertainment and dancing.

Savour will take place on Saturday, 4th March, 2017, at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa. Tables are priced at £950, with individual tickets available at £95, and can be purchased from neil.skene@nesensoryservices.org or by calling 0345 271 2345.

Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of NESS.

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Nov 282016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

acsta-logo-adaptStalwart of the north east tourism industry Roger Goodyear was honoured on Friday (November 25) by his peers at the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards (ACSTA).

Mr Goodyear joined 15 other winners, who lifted their trophies at the ceremony held at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.

Mr Goodyear, who last year was made an MBE for his services to tourism in Banffshire, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the gathering which celebrated Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s finest tourism achievements.

Closely linked with the tourism industry for several years, Mr Goodyear – who is Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire – was named Regional Ambassador of the Year by ACSTA in its inaugural year in 2013. His work as chairman of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy and involvement in local tourism initiatives has led him to become a well-liked and much-respected member of the north east tourism industry.

Amongst the other winners were Deeside Activity Park, which held onto its title of Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience for the second year running, Glen Tanar Estate’s Claire Bruce who was named Regional Ambassador, and Gemma Cruickshank of VisitAberdeenshire who was crowned Regional Rising Star. Drum Castle also scooped two awards – the Innovation in Tourism award, and the Working Together for Tourism award in association with Aberdeen Art Gallery.

ACSTA chairman Peter Sangster says,

“2016 has been a fantastic year for tourism in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and it has been brilliant to be able to celebrate such a diverse range of providers – from global brands to family-run outfits, there is a place for all in the north east tourism industry. I am proud that the entire spectrum of tourism is represented in this year’s winners.

“Every year it becomes more difficult to choose the winners in each category. So many tourism professionals in the region are finding new and innovative ways in which to provide world-class service to their customers – it’s very inspiring. It really is an exciting time to be part of the tourism industry in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

The winners will now go on to represent Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire at the national Scottish Thistle Awards in 2017, against regional winners from across Scotland.

Jo Robinson, regional director at VisitScotland, adds,

“A huge congratulations to all of the winners at the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards. I wish them the best of luck as they move forward to represent the region in the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final next year.

“Tourism is the driving force for providing the jobs of today and tomorrow and these awards recognise the tireless effort that goes into creating a memorable experience for visitors to the region.”

The winners of the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Roger Goodyear
  • Most Hospitable Hotel sponsored by Fishers Services Ltd – Holiday Inn Aberdeen West
  • Most Hospitable B&B/Guest House sponsored by Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels Association – Callater Lodge
  • Best Accommodation Provider sponsored by Northlink Ferries – Mill of Nethermill Holidays
  • Friendliest Pub/Bar sponsored by Brewdog – The Grill
  • Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience sponsored by Aberdeenshire Council – Deeside Activity Park
  • Best Visitor Attraction sponsored by The Chester Hotel – Royal Lochnagar Distillery
  • Working Together for Tourism sponsored by The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa – Aberdeen Art Gallery and NTS at Drum Castle
  • Innovation in Tourism sponsored by Marriott Hotels – NTS Drum Castle, Gardens and Estate
  • Tourism and Hospitality Hero sponsored by VisitAberdeenshire – Jean Ryrie, Jurys Inn
  • Regional Rising Star sponsored by Ardoe House Hotel and Spa – Gemma Cruickshank, VisitAberdeenshire
  • Regional Ambassador sponsored by Aberdeen International Airport – Claire Bruce, Glen Tanar Estate
  • Best Cultural Event or Festival sponsored by Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre – Celebrate Aberdeen
  • Best Sporting Event sponsored by Active Aberdeen Partnership – Braemar Gathering
  • Best Informal Eating Experience sponsored by Jury’s Inn – No. 10 Bar & Restaurant
  • Best Restaurant Experience sponsored by RBS Leisure – Eat on the Green

For further information on the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, please visit www.acsta.co.uk  

Follow the awards on Twitter @ACSTourismAward or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/acstourismawards

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Nov 252016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

ken-howie

Farmer Ken Howie is the man behind the World’s Only Aberdeen Angus Trail.

It’s one of the north east of Scotland’s most famous exports, but many don’t realise or understand its heritage.

So one enterprising farmer has made it his mission to put the history of Aberdeen Angus beef firmly on the map  – and his efforts have been recognised with a nomination at the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

Ken Howie is the man behind the World’s Only Aberdeen Angus Trail, which is nominated in the Innovation in Tourism category of the awards scheme which will celebrate the successes of tourism providers in the north east at a ceremony this week.

While much of the region’s tourism offering focuses on the incredible castles, world-class golf and sumptuous whisky of the north east, Ken believes that there is room to include the famous Aberdeen Angus cattle – which have been reared in the area for over 150 years.

Ken says,

“Although Aberdeen Angus beef is renowned around the world, it’s not as prominent in north east tourism as our other exports. I’m really enthusiastic about the history and heritage of the breed, and really want to share that with visitors to the north east. I’ve reared it on the farm for years, and we serve it up in the restaurant at Deeside Activity Park.”

The World’s Only Aberdeen Angus Trail is currently made up of 14 venues, which ranges from larger tourist attractions to family-run establishments – and new organisations continue to come on board. What connects them all is a love of Aberdeen Angus, and a commitment to the provenance of the food they serve and rear.

Ken adds,

“The trail starts at Ballindalloch Castle, which is the spiritual home of the breed – there’s been a herd there for over 150 years – and runs through to Glamis Castle. Glamis Castle is perhaps best known for its connection to the late Queen Mother, who was patron of the Aberdeen Angus Association for over 60 years.

“In between the castles are a number of smaller, independently-run venues that have connections with Aberdeen Angus – including the Fife Arms in Turriff and Castleton Farm Shop. Community organisations like the Alford Heritage Society and Turriff Heritage Museum are also involved.”

Although not officially launching until spring 2017 – to coincide with the World Aberdeen Angus Forum, which is to be held in Scotland for the first time since 1977 – the trail is already producing noticeable results for the area. Visitors have been following the trail through Aberdeenshire, and have been interacting with partners along the way.

It is hoped that by beginning and ending the trail at established tourism hotspots, it will expose a greater number of visitors to the trail and encourage tourists – and locals – to explore the region in greater depth than they might otherwise have done.

Ken concludes,

“Over the last 20 years the food and drink offering in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has come on leaps and bounds. Food tourism is a huge global industry, and we really hope that we can capitalise on this for the region. If we can encourage people to come to visit the area to learn more about an iconic brand like Aberdeen Angus, then naturally they will stay to explore the area and discover all it has to offer.

“Everyone I have worked with to put the Aberdeen Angus Trail together has been so enthusiastic about the idea, so if we win the award it really will be a celebration for all of us. I couldn’t have done it without their work and support. Maybe we’ll hold a big party if we win.”

The World’s Only Aberdeen Angus Trail is up against High Seas Hobbit and Drum Castle in the Innovation in Tourism category of the 2016 Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards.

The winners of each category will be announced at an awards ceremony and gala dinner on November 25, 2016 at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, and many will then go on to represent the region at the national Thistle Awards.

For more information about the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, visit www.acsta.co.uk  

Follow the awards on Twitter @ACSTourismAward or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/acstourismawards

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Nov 142016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

mixologist-nick-gordonA young North-east bar manager has been announced as a winner in the Scottish Licensed Trade News (SLTN) Awards 2016.

Nick Gordon, Orchid’s general manager, was awarded Mixologist of the Year at the prestigious ceremony, which took place at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel last week.  

The 24-year-old was selected as the judges winner out of a number of entries from budding mixologist’s around the country.

With a total of 22 awards up for grabs, the sought-after awards ceremony highlighted the rich diversity and unparalleled expertise Scotland’s world famous hospitality sector is known for.

Orchid was also shortlisted for Cocktail Bar of the Year and Late Night Venue of the Year, both of which it was highly commended for.

Nick Gordon, said:

“I’m ecstatic to be named as SLTN’s Mixologist of the Year, it really is a huge personal achievement for me. I’m also very proud that Orchid was highly commended for two other awards, as the whole team has worked very hard to position Orchid as the forward-thinking cocktail bar it is today.

“For me, it’s about placing Aberdeen on the map as boasting some of the country’s best bar and cocktail venues, which I think was highlighted on the night, being up against the likes of 99 Bar & Kitchen and The Tippling House. It was a brilliant evening that housed the country’s finest bars and bartenders all under one roof.”

Orchid has been upping its game this year, with a couple of its bartenders being recognised in prestigious awards such as Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championships, the Buffalo Trace Mystery Migration Cocktail Competition and Glenfiddich’s Experimental Bartender Competition.

The late night cocktail bar also represented the UK in The Reykjavik Bar Summit that took place in March.

For more information on Orchid and its cocktail offering, visit www.orchidaberdeen.com

Nov 102016
 

Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society launches Glass Half Full campaign to encourage current and former industry workers in Aberdeen to sign up for support. With thanks to Duncan Fisher, Senior Account Manager, The BIG Partnership.

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Senior figures from the Scottish Licensed Trade at the launch of The BEN’s Glass Half Full campaign, at Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry, which aims to help former and current industry workers across Scotland who have fallen on hard times.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society, known as The BEN, has launched a new campaign to increase the number of people it supports and is calling on potential beneficiaries from Aberdeen to get in touch.

The Glass Half Full campaign, which was launched with the help of leading industry figures at Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry, is targeting current and former members of the licensed trade who have fallen on hard times through illness, unemployment or other factors, and would benefit from financial aid.

As well as being backed by the national trade, the campaign is being rolled out regionally with the help of The BEN’s network of volunteers, known as ‘Visitors’, who will take on ambassadorial roles within their respective areas.

Established in 1864, The BEN has been providing social, financial and emotional support to members of the licensed trade for over 150 years. Financially, the charity offers regular discretionary payments as well as one-off grants for emergency situations such as housing repairs or transport costs.

To be eligible for support, applicants must have worked in the licensed trade (incorporating bars, pubs, restaurants, hotels, wholesalers plus packaging, production and distribution firms) for at least three years on a full-time basis. The three years do not need to be concurrent.

Commenting on the campaign, Alex Carnie, The BEN’s Visitor in Aberdeen said:

“The BEN works very hard to get its message out there and the Glass Half Full campaign gives us a platform to let potential beneficiaries know we are actively seeking more people to support.

“A lot of former and current workers of the licensed trade won’t know they’re eligible for support so the campaign is great for raising awareness of how the charity can help and hopefully it will encourage as many people as possible to contact us.”

As part of the Glass Half Full campaign, the charity conducted a survey of current licensed trade workers to gain an understanding of potential challenges faced by those in the industry. The survey found that 27% of respondents knew someone who would benefit from financial aid due to life difficulties.

The feedback also showed 25% of male workers had been unemployed during their time in the industry (up to 32% for males aged 26-40) while 14% of their female colleagues had received external financial support (excluding banks or student loans) at some point in their career (up to 20% for females aged 26-40).

The younger generation of workers was also found to be at risk of facing difficulties, with 21% of respondents aged 16-25 stating they had already been in a situation which required financial assistance from an external body. Although older workers, aged 41 and over, have needed less financial aid (5%) than their younger counterparts, 17% still confirmed that they have been unemployed at some point during their career.

Demonstrating that both current and former members of the industry have been in a challenging financial position, the figures highlight the relevance of The BEN in today’s society and the continuing demand for its services.

As well as encouraging potential beneficiaries to get in touch, the Glass Half Full campaign aims to engage members of the licensed trade, and general public, to help spread the word and Chris Gardner, chief executive of The BEN, hopes it will enable the charity to support more people than ever before.

She said:

“Since it was established, The BEN has supported thousands of people across Scotland and we continue to strive to help as many as we can today. As a smaller charity this can sometimes prove challenging, largely due to a lack of awareness, but we hope the ‘Glass Half Full’ campaign will inspire people to either recommend our services or get in touch.

“We know there are hundreds of Scots out there who are eligible for support, but just don’t know it, so the campaign is a way for us to engage with them and let them know we are here to help. However, we understand the apprehension, and embarrassment, which can be caused by seeking financial support but would assure anyone considering contacting us that the application process is completely confidential and any arrangements are managed with the utmost discretion.

“The BEN will continue to support former and current members of the licensed trade for many years to come but we want to build our support network as much as possible. We believe the Glass Half Full campaign will help us expand our reach across Scotland and allow us to widen our impact on the lives of those who need it most.”

Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), and BEN director, is backing the campaign and calling on the industry to show its support:

“The BEN has been the licensed trade’s national trade charity for over 150 years and we are immensely proud of the services it provides. From bar workers to draymen from sales people to restaurant and hotel staff it’s our job to provide assistance when needed. The BEN is well known within the industry, but many people are still unaware of how it helps people and who is eligible for support.

“Therefore we’re asking audiences from both the licensed trade and beyond to help raise awareness of the campaign and encourage anyone that may benefit from support to get in touch.”

About The BEN:

  • The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society, known as The BEN, offers social, financial and emotional support to former and current members of the licensed trade facing difficulties in life.
  • The BEN supports people of all ages who have worked full-time in the sector for at least three years.
  • The charity can provide beneficiaries with discretionary financial support or one-off grants for emergency situations. Examples include support in covering utility and household bills, the provision of furnishings and injury rehabilitation equipment as well as supplying mobility and transport solutions among many others.
  • The BEN owns the BEN Pitlochry Estate, consisting of 18 bungalows, where it provides accommodation for current and retired members of the industry as well as ‘Respitality’ breaks for carers.

To find out more about The BEN or to enquire about support, please visit www.bensoc.org.uk or call 0141 353 3596.

 

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Nov 042016
 

With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

interior-s

A new Cuban bar and restaurant is bringing a carnival atmosphere to Aberdeen this month (November) as it prepares to throw open its doors to the public.
While winter may be drawing in, locals will be able to transport themselves to the Caribbean and enjoy the heady atmosphere of Revolucion de Cuba.

The Latin inspired restaurant, part of the same group which operates Revolution on Belmont Street, is launching in the Academy Shopping Centre on November 18, which will be its eleventh base in the UK and the first in Scotland.

After a £1.5 million transformation of the former Wagamama restaurant to create a fresh and exciting new destination for the city, Revolución de Cuba is bringing Cuban cool and the frenzy of Havana nights to the Granite City.

The site has been transformed into a Cuban wonderland that will provide the perfect place to unwind during the day. With a fantastic selection of premium cocktails and a wide selection of rums, customers will be able to enjoy a relaxed food and drink experience during the day before the premises turns into a Caribbean fiesta at night.

Having created 60 local jobs, the 4500 square foot venue will feature a live music stage showcasing some of the finest salsa acts from across the country and three bars.

The new venue will also hold weekly salsa socials, special Rum Club events, themed fiestas and cocktail masterclasses.

Russ Davidson, general manager of the Aberdeen Revolución de Cuba said:

“We are delighted to be bringing fun and sunshine to Aberdeen during what has been a tough period for the city. A lot of work has gone into the creation of Revolución de Cuba and we can’t wait to welcome the public in so they can enjoy a taste of Cuba and its fantastic culture.

“A lot of thought has gone into the transformation of the restaurant and we have a wonderful local team of staff on board who share the Revolución de Cuba’s passion for celebrating with tasty food and the best drinks.

“We have developed a brilliant Latin inspired menu for the Aberdeen public and are sure that they will enjoy everything we have to offer. This will be something completely different for the Granite City and we can’t wait to share it with everyone.”

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Revolución de Cuba bars are characterised by a 1940s Cuban-inspired style, with dark woods, traditional bar counters, antique tiles and vintage furniture.

Featuring Havana-style ceiling fans and original Cuban artwork and photographs, each bar is tailored to give it an individual local character.

Visitors’ taste-buds are in for treat with the diverse Latin inspired cuisine made by mixing bold flavours, vibrant ingredients and Cuban passion.

The menu will feature loaded burritos, packed paellas, flavour filled quesadillas and a range of tasty tacos among other gems including jerk chicken, tapas and pork belly skewers.

Revolución de Cuba Brand Manager, Clint Ghent, said:

“Our mission at Revolución de Cuba has always been to bring a taste of Cuba and its rich culture to all parts of the UK. For Aberdeen we’ve found an amazing team of staff who share our passion for celebrating with great food and drink.

“Delivering the best customer experience is our sole mission and we do everything we can to achieve this. Whether you come in for a coffee or an evening out with friends, our team is there to entertain and serve our guests to the highest level possible.”

Keep up to date with the latest news on Revolución de Cuba Aberdeen by following their Facebook page or visiting http://www.revoluciondecuba.com/bar/aberdeen/

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Oct 212016
 

kitchen-worksBy Fin Hall.

It’s not very often us country folk venture into the big city for anything else other than work and football: but today we did just that.

Keen to try somewhere new for lunch, we went into a very recently opened establishment, The Kitchen Works in Summer Street.
We had the place to ourselves at this time, but were made welcome.

There was a limited choice of sandwiches available. This was deliberate and made it easy to chose.

We both had the excellent roast beef on a sour dough bun. The chill display cabinet has the selection of sandwiches by the counter. But a fresh one will be made if needed.

With coffee, the bill came to just over £11.

The evening menu also looks good. The dishes, apparently, are smaller portions, not tapas I am assured, which show in the reasonable price.

I prefer places where the menu choices aren’t too extensive, as it means the cook/chef can concentrate on getting quality rather than quantity. It is also licensed in the evening

The wooden tables are laid out along the wall with bench type seats on one side.

Upstairs is a smaller space which looked like it was laid out for a private function.

The industrial style lights hanging from the ceiling and black and white large photographs on the wall, add to the  ambience of the room.

My one complaint is that the coffee cups are only half full. Apart from that, it is a place I would return to again. It is good to see new, locally owned businesses opening up.

Coffee shops/tea rooms seem to be the way forward, as barely a week goes by without another pub or restaurant closing its doors for the final time.

Pictures used: Property of https://www.instagram.com/p/BEsktyygeDK/

Sep 162016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

distilled-14

Speyside’s finest food and drink were the perfect mix at the first Spirit of Speyside: Distilled.

The first mini-festival drawing Speyside’s finest food and drink producers together in one central venue has been toasted a success, after hundreds of people turned out to ensure it got off the best possible start.
Organisers of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled are in high spirits after finding that mixing the region’s finest whisky with gin, beer and food went down a treat with audiences.

Large crowds of people flocked to Elgin – the largest town in the region –  where some of the region’s most coveted and iconic brands stood shoulder to shoulder with smaller producers growing in name and reputation to showcase the ingredients that make the region a delight for food and drink lovers.

Over three days, four sessions at Elgin Town Hall provided audiences a delicious flavour of Speyside.

As well as visiting different stand holders to sample food and drink, visitors could meet the people behind the products, including master distillers and brand ambassadors. There were a range of specialist masterclasses covering topics from cocktails to food pairings and there were new, rare and cask strength drams, and insights into the art of whisky, gin and beer making led by experts in their craft.

Billed as ‘one region under one roof’, the 30 plus exhibitors included a range of distilleries responsible for producing world famous brands like Aberlour, Benromach, Cardhu, Cragganmore, The Glenlivet, Glen Moray, Benromach, Macallan, Glenfiddich and Glen Grant. There were also craft breweries, gin makers, and specialists in shortbread, ice cream, soup, coffee and tea, bakery and tablet making and more.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled manager Pery Zakeri said:

“We had fantastic crowds and there was a great atmosphere. People turned out with their friends to enjoy a range of excellent flavours and they weren’t disappointed. It was a really relaxed environment and we had people from the local area who said that seeing all the food and drink businesses in one venue really brought home the range of great tastes there are in Speyside.

“Others travelled from further much afield including Canada, the USA, Norway and Germany in order to be part of our first festival of this kind and they equally enjoyed the experience.

“It was heartening to see the best of Speyside’s food and drink industry come together, from the big names in the drinks business that have a global following to smaller producers that may be less known outwith the local area.

“Whisky is of major importance in Speyside, but I think this festival has helped show that it is very well complemented by the gin, beer and food producers who joined us in showcasing Speyside’s local larder.”

The offer of free entry to anyone sharing a name with a Speyside distillery failed to find anyone with the same moniker to any one of the area’s 50 plus distilleries – not even a Glen Keith, Glen Grant or Tam Dhu.

The mini-festival is an offshoot of the renowned Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which takes place around the first bank holiday weekend in May and organisers will now be shifting their focus to preparing for this major event which draws thousands of people from all over the world to Speyside for a five day celebration of the amber nectar.

The 2017 festival takes place from April 27 – May 1 at venues across Speyside, and while the full programme is still being worked on, will include talks, tours and tastings, heritage walks, a whisky school, whisky with food pairings, whisky menus and more. In all it is likely there will be around 500 events over multiple venues.

Jul 292016
 

Last Bus CanteenBy Fin Hall.

I am neither a vegetarian nor a vegan; but the North East of Scotland is certainly not the best place to be if any of those ideologies are your choice. Especially the latter.
Many years ago, however, I was a vegetarian and it was even worse. I had macaroni cheese coming out of my lugs.

However, if you are willing to travel a little out of the city, up to the village of New Pitsligo a.k.a. ‘Cyaak’, you will find an absolute treasure of a restaurant.

The Last Bus Worker’s Canteen, is situated off the beaten track, or more precisely up a beaten track, just north of said village. It is run by an ex oil worker, Mike and his partner, Jessica.

They always welcome people with a hearty smile, and even it the place is busy, they move things about to find a space for you.

Down the hill from the cafe, is situated their residence and a large building in which is situated two, old double decker buses which are in a constant state of renovation. It has been known, that in times of extreme busyness, one of the aforementioned buses will be driven up the hill and parked outside, and used as an additional sitting area.

Once inside you may be seated at old bus seats before Jessica, who is always dashing about between tables taking orders with that ever present smile on her face. Don’t be excepting a vast choice on the menu, as their is only ever 1 soup choice and one main course, but there is always a fine selection of puddings; crumbles, cheesecakes, muffins, smoothies etc. All home made and very delicious.

Some of you maybe hesitating reading this, thinking, “Vegan? Not for me.”

Perish that thought. You don’t have to be vegan to eat here, and nor will you be made unwelcome just because you eat meat. All are welcome. If you don’t fancy the main course, have a pudding. Go on, have a pudding.

I give this five stars, not in the usual, Chester Hotel, type five star, but the service, taste of food and ambiance, makes it thus.

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