If you ask me about the city trips I have made in the last 10 odd years the answer is very simple: Dublin or Edinburgh (and Glasgow once). When going on a long weekend abroad, these are my first two choices. A couple of weeks ago I was in Edinburgh and these are my foodie tips for a great Saturday and Sunday in the city. You will need to put on your walking shoes, though. And if you read until the end, you will get my own recipe for pumpkin spice cupcakes thrown in.
So here it is: My perfect weekend in Edinburgh:
On Saturday start off with a trip to the Farmer's Market on Castle Terrace. I love the scones from the Edinburgh Larder.
You will be in for a lot of calorific treats if you follow my route so after having feasted at the Larder, I recommend you burn some calories by climbing up the 287 steps of the Scott Monument. If you are there at 10 a.m. you will have it almost to yourself. This is a huge advantage given the very steep and narrow stone staircase that you have to climb. Of course if you're lucky you'll be able to get close to some hunky backpacker... The view is spectacular and worth every drop of sweat. I have to confess, though, that I did not make the full 287 steps but only about 270. The stairway to the very top is incredibly narrow and steep and together with the height gave me a small panic attack so that I turned back half way.
I needed a strong coffee after that climb. Where better to regain some strength than at Fortitude on York Place. The coffee is excellent and there is a great choice of tray bakes and other sweet or savoury goodies. I fortified myself with an espresso and a cinnamon bun. If you opt for a cappuccino you will get a swan thrown in. True barista art.
Just a stone's throw away from Fortitude is the Tramstop Market, a small street food market with lots of great food to try. I was still full from my cinnamon bun but I came here specifically for Mademoiselle Macaron's macarons. I bought some to enjoy later but couldn't resist digging into a handful of strawberries that were also on sale a couple of stalls from Mademoiselle's.
Just around the corner - well kind of - from the Tramstop Market is the Nelson Monument up on Calton Hill. I love Calton Hill because you have a great view over the city. Without having to climb 287 steps.... The Nelson Monument is a great place on a breezy day if you want to feel the soft Scottish winds gently blowing through your hair. As gentle as a wind turbine on full speed that is.
Now take your new hairstyle down Leith Walk till you reach the Ocean Terminal. From there you can take the bus back into town. Walking all the way down Leith Walk should make you hungry again. Once your back close to Princes Street I recommend stopping by at Pep and Fodder for one of their fabulous sandwiches. I like the Beetroot and Goat's Cheese Sandwich best. Healthy and delicious.
Next, I recommend wandering around the Old Town. Amongst the typical tourist shops there are some great places with a little less tartan overload. For example the Fudge House, the Museum of Childhood or Cranachan and Crowdie. Before heading back to the hotel for a well deserved rest, I think stopping by at Mimi's Bakehouse for a cupcake is a must. This time I had a pumpkin spice cupcake which inspired me to try and create my own recipe linked at the end of this post.
For dinner we headed off to the Royal McGregor on the Royal Mile. The mussels in beer broth are fantastic and so was the burger with haggis. After dinner we went pub and bar hopping. We stuck our noses into any pub we came across and if there was music we liked, we stopped for a pint or two.
On Sunday morning a full Scottish breakfast is a must, even after the calorie packed Saturday. I recommend either Mums Great Comfort Food (Eggs Benedict...., yum!) or the Holyrood 9A. The Holyrood 9A also does a great Sticky Toffee Pudding.
And, sadly, this was the end. After breakfast we had to head to the airport and back home. But in the words of the world-renowned "actor" with the funny Austrian accent - I'll be back!
Back home I still thought very fondly of the pumpkin cupcake I had at Mimi's Bakehouse and created my own recipe, which you find here.