Sunday, 20 May 2012

Edinburgh CakeFest

This week cousin Helen and I went on a day trip to Edinburgh to see how much food we could cram into our faces before the 9pm train home.

We started at the legendary Hendersons which has been serving vegetarian food in Edinburgh for nearly 50 years. I I had vegan haggis and clapshot, a word that I’d never heard before and which means neeps and tatties. It was delicious and had a taste like Christmas. It was probably a mistake to fill up so heartily so early in the day, but it’s a mistake I’d gladly make again.

I’d asked Twitter carefully researched the best Edinburgh cake shops and it turned out that several were within staggering distance of each other in Morningside, a short bus ride on the number 11, 15 or 16 from the city centre. I’m slightly scared of Edinburgh buses with their exact money only tickets and the grumpiest drivers in the world, but the chap who cheerily dropped us off on Bruntsfield Place was the epitome of charm (to restore balance, the driver on the way home had a face like a bucket of shit).

We started at The Chocolate Tree, an artisan chocolatier and cafe with a slightly hippyish twist. They sell chocolates, chocolate cakes and tarts, ice cream, tea, coffee and hot chocolate, offering vegan and gluten free treats as well.

I had a hazelnut chocolate tart, Helen went for pear and chocolate and a huge mug of hot chocolate. Both were absolutely delicious.

A lady on Twitter alerted me to their dark chocolate sea salt caramel, vouching that after extensive research it was the best she’d ever had. It was amazingly rich. My dad, a northern man not given to over-enthusing, tried some and burst out “oh God this is gorgeous!’ The bar breaks up into a sticky mess like a large After Eight, so it’s a bit tricky to share. But who’d want to share? Certainly not my dad. Next time I looked at the plate the chocolate was gone.
Next on the list was Falko, a Konditormeister or master pastry chef bringing his passion for traditional German and Austrian baking to Edinburgh. There are a lot of things Germans really excel at: cars, cakes, Christmas, comedy (heh) and the focus here is on taste and quality.
We were too full to eat more cake but we bought delicious raisin breads for breakfast.

We crossed the road to France and La Barantine. Look how French it is! They even had French radio on. I found out that pain au levain means sourdough (Who knew?! You did? Oh.) and bought one to take home.

We didn’t have time for Loopy Lorna’s or Elephant House or Patisserie Florentin but needed to leave some places to try next time and some room for dinner at Calistoga, a taste of California on a cold wet day. Oddly enough, we didn’t manage pudding...

1 comment:

  1. I'd completely forgotten about the exact change on the bus - but they do have awesome tartan seats!
    At least not being able to have time to visit all the places meant you can go back again!