Part 2 of our Edinburgh weekend begins with no hangover (which I can only put down to the great healing powers belonging to gin) and we head out early as we’ve a lot to pack in before we head our separate ways home in the afternoon.
First stop was the latest addition to the Contini family of establishments, the Contini Caffe on the Royal Mile. Victor Contini had told us all about this new place the night before and had invited us down to try one of their homemade gelatos. Even at 10.30am on a Sunday we were up for the challenge!
The building that houses Contini Caffe is the very last one on the left before you head through to the castle. It’s a beautiful building and such a perfect spot on the Mile. The three floors serves Italian Street Food, Gelato and even has a Porridge Bar! By the gelatos you’ll find lots of lovely gifts to take home including some Contini Aprons, which I’ll definitely be treating myself to next time I visit! I did pick up a fantastic bag of popcorn…. But not just any popcorn…. Gin & Tonic popcorn (do you sense a pattern forming this weekend??)
The gelatos looked beautiful, which made it very hard to choose just one each. In the end I went for Hebridean Sea Salt & Caramel and Heather chose Cranachan. Both utterly delicious and made fresh the night before on site. The staff were keen to tell us that they’re all made fresh daily.
We walked back down the Royal Mile with gelatos in hand and headed back towards Princess Street in search of gin……
To be fair we were going to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery gin tour. We’d decided to choose the Connoisseur Tour and we couldn’t wait to get started. It’s held in the bar that we’d visited the night before which is transformed into the tour during the day. The tour was really fantastic, loads of interesting facts about the history of gin, how it’s made and all about Edinburgh Gin itself. We were lucky enough to get up close to Flora & Caledonia, the two stills that do all the work at the distillery. Despite being turned off a couple of days before, you could still feel a warm glow from the stills.
After the tour we had a look round the gift shop while our lovely guide went off to prepare a couple of G&T’s of our choice. We both went for the original gin as we’ve only tasted their flavoured gins. It was delicious with ice & a slice 😉 Part of the Connoisseur Tour was that we received a small bottle of Edinburgh Gin, we both chose Raspberry, definitely our favourites!
Our day wasn’t done there, and fortunately we didn’t have far to go for lunch, right next door as luck would have it! We had arranged to meet Cindy, owner of Miss IntegriTea and tea magician at Ghillie Dhu. Cindy makes the most beautiful hand-made loose tea and I think I’ve drunk pretty much every single one of them! My absolute favourite is Moroccan Mint & Hibiscus, it smells incredible and looks utterly gorgeous and is great for the digestive system. Other teas that are available are Sleep Tea, Hot Flush Tea, Clear Skin Tea and Flowers of Scotland.
After catching up with Cindy we jumped into a taxi and headed for our last stop of the day to Cranachan & Crowdie. This beautiful store, based down the Royal Mile stocks the finest food and drink from around Scotland. Beth & Fiona are possibly two of the nicest people you could want to meet. Taking time to guide you round the store, they’ll point out lots of fabulous products and tell you all about them, who makes it and where it’s from. I couldn’t leave without treating myself to a couple of items that I hadn’t seen elsewhere, Isabella’s Preserves Lemonchello and iQ Chocolate Cranachan Symphony. I read a really interesting article recently featuring iQ chocolate which has the potential to increase the reaction times in Scottish rugby players. You can read the article here.
What a wonderful way to round off our weekend. I want to finish this post by saying thank you to Heather, who makes me laugh at the silliest of things and shares my love of food and drink in equal measures! Sometimes you can build an event or weekend away up too much and when it eventually comes round it’s a bit of a disappointment. This was not one of those weekends, I missed her company as soon as I got back in the car to drive home and can’t wait for our next foodie trip away…… Best get planning 🙂
Melanie, Food Adventurer