26 May 2011
23 May 2011
A wee while back I undertook a stroll through areas of Edinburgh known as Morningside, Bruntsfield and The Meadows.
My guidebook was once again the Pocket Mountains Edinburgh edition of 40 town and country walks, but while the book pointed out one quaint city landmark after another, for me the directions they had written down entirely missed the mark when it came to the pleasure of this particular journey.
We're talking foodie pleasure here. A walk through Morningside and Bruntsfield takes you past some of the best cafes Edinburgh has to offer, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
I began as instructed at the clock at the foot of Morningside road, which in 1884 marked the spot for Morningside train station.
I should pause here to point out that I already knew of several of the foodie havens we will be visiting. So as a way to limit my spending, I had brought with me a paltry £6. Only a few steps away from the clock I began to regret my decision.
My first stop was Henri’s of Edinburgh, a specialist French delicatessen where the cheese cooler is full of delights and the shelves are heaving with treats direct from Paris. On this occasion, the counter was also coloured with a selection of delicate fruit tarts. Glancing around the shop I saw my friends’ Christmas lists filling themselves in.
Once again I extracted myself without buying anything (fellow foodies may begin to praise me at your leisure).
My next stopping point was The Canny Man’s public house, which dates back to 1850 when it was a popular boozer for local cattle drovers and farmers. On the outer wall is posted a brass plaque that would make the surly character of Bernard Black creak out a lopsided scowl:
No credit cards
No mobile phones
Luckily the woman behind the bar gave me a pardon on the no camera rule and I was allowed a few shots inside this dimly lit, writer’s dream of an old pub. My favourite spot was a tiny nook between two close walls, which housed a single table and two chairs. The ultimate booth for introverts. Then there was the main bar, which displays an amber wall of Scotch.
With a rambling trail of thank yous I left The Canny Man's and headed out of Morningside and towards Bruntsfield, where my non-spending streak would meet an abrupt end the moment I set foot in the S. Luca ice cream parlour.
First I sampled the NY Lime Cheesecake ice cream, a brilliant combination of creamy texture and tart citrus tang. But as the weather had been variant all morning, I decided to be the same and go with a trio of vanilla, chocolate and coconut icecreams with a hot chocolate sauce. The coconut was my very favourite, like a tropical smooch that melts into memory.
Anyone with German ancestry living in Edinburgh knows of the next spot on our trail. If childhood recollections can be reborn in a loaf of bread, they are at Falko, where the fat bread pretzels hang before baskets of heavy rye and walnut loaves.
Then there are the mountainous apple strudels and the triple layered torte, but I succumbed only to a loaf of this dark bread, mainly because I was down to my last few coins.
One more stop before we get a reprieve from pleasure, and only because on the day of my walk (a Sunday), Coco Chocolate was closed.
The Chocolate Tree is one of my favourite shops in the city. They adore chocolate here, and their welcoming window display, a tip of the hat to Victorian style indulgence, speaks to their ongoing obsession.
Normally I would linger longest over the cakes or the chocolates themselves, but as it is the summer season they have added a small ice cream selection to their offerings.
I nearly fell into the almost sinister blob of purple and red that is the blueberry sorbet. When I look at it I don’t know whether to feel afflicted or hypnotised, but either way I know I want some.
But now we are (mostly) free! Free to dance or (in my case) lumber through Bruntsfield Links and its marvellous views toward Edinburgh Castle, before turning down the path through The Meadows, where only weeks ago the last of the blossom petals cascaded around walkers and bicyclists. The light that dances through the heavily leafed trees onto the carpet of green below will last all summer long.
If you’re still feeling up to it you can stop again at Peter’s Yard before heading over George IV Bridge and ducking down to the best cheese shop ever. Or you can just go home. Rest. Try not to think about cake or chocolate or ice cream or bread or sorbet or cheese or anything at all.
Just promise to remind me to bring my wallet the next time I walk through Morningside and Bruntsfield. Thank you.
3 May 2011
About this blog
In 2012 I moved back to Canada, and I am no longer updating this blog. I am still online can can be found on Twitter at @pleasebringcake.
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