Part of visiting a new city is trying the local delicacies and culture. “When in Rome” the saying goes. Well, “when in Aberdeen and shire”, there are plenty of tastes and experiences to indulge in, if you know where to look. If you want to say you’ve truly experienced the Granite City then Skene House will show you how.
MACARONI PIE – You haven’t lived if you haven’t had a night out in Aberdeen followed by a macaroni pie. Yes, that’s a mix of pasta, with cheese, baked within a pastry case. People say, ‘But that’s just carbohydrate inside more carbohydrate!’ Yes, it sure is, and it really hits the spot. After a night out, macaroni pies beat a kebab or fish and chips hands down. Whilst macaroni pies can be enjoyed at any time of day it’s a hugely popular nocturnal snack. It’s not uncommon for clubbers to head home, then wait for their favourite bakery to open, to make the journey into the night once more to track down their desired pie. Many happy memories centre around these moonlit jaunts to the bakery, but many heated debates have arisen too, regarding the ‘best’ bakery. This is serious stuff.
Thain’s on George Street has an extremely loyal following. Opening at 2am it’s ideal for sating those munchies. Another hot contender for macaroni pie fans is Ross of Chapel Street, close to the three Skene House properties. Its pie menu is extensive and mouthwatering, especially at 3am. We’re talking macaroni pies, mince pies, steak and gravy pie, chicken pie, chicken curry pie, mince potato bean pie (cos one filling isn’t enough), lasagne pie (how continental) and mince and mealie pie. If you don’t know what mealie is, then it’s like skirlie, if you don’t know what skirlie is (dear me!), then just think oatcakes. It’s healthy! Whilst macaroni pies may not be in every guide book this is the insider Aberdeen knowledge that you need to know.
A ROWIE/BUTTERY – A much loved savoury bakery product. This is a delicious snack with humble origins. Made of simple flour, yeast, water, fat, sugar and salt, it’s said to have been created for the local fisherfolk as an improvement on the unpopular hard biscuits that were issued as standard. A rowie could be taken to sea and wouldn’t go hard, the mix of lard and salt meant it was relatively easy to preserve. But it tasted so fine its popularity spread.
Available in all good bakeries and supermarkets it can be served up according to personal preference. Rustle some up in your own Skene House kitchen. Rowies, either hot or cold with butter, is the classic serving. But add a wee spread of jam for a gorgeous mix of saltiness with sweetness. Enjoyed at breakfast or as a midmorning or afternoon snack, butteries are often requested by Aberdonian expats who miss the distinctive flavour and texture. Ultimately a buttery is a like a hard, salty croissant – it’s a croissant with attitude! You’ve got to try it. Visit any local baker, such as JG Ross, Chalmers, Thain’s and Aitken’s Bakeries, found across the city and close to the three Skene House properties, to experience this taste sensation.
STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING – A handful of venues claim to be the first to serve sticky toffee pudding but we’re going to support the Aberdeenshire link. In 1967 the Udny Arms Hotel in Newburgh-on-Ythan (now closed) originally dished up this sweet treat. It’s served across the region and also sold in supermarkets, ideal for bringing back to your Skene House kitchen. Or if you fancy eating out head to our partner restaurant Howies for a portion of this lip smacking pudding. Consisting of a baked date sponge, covered in lashing of sauce made of butter, brown sugar and cream, then served with ice-cream or cream; sticky toffee pudding is a gooey gorgeous indulgence.
DEEP FRIED MARS BAR – This dish is said to have been created in 1995 in the Haven Chip Bar (now the Carron) in Stonehaven, near Aberdeen. The title’s quite self-explanatory – take a mars bar, dip it in batter, and deep fry it. No, it’s not healthy, it’s not exactly haute cuisine, but it’s captured people’s imagination and sometimes a sinful treat is in order.
CULLEN SKINK – If you’re looking for the healthy option then a bowl of cullen skink is just what the doctor ordered. This thick Scottish soup is made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. Simple ingredients that taste so good. Originating from the fishing town of Cullen on the Moray coast, this broth is served as a filling lunch, or as a starter at the most reputable Scottish restaurants such as our partner restaurant Howies, that prides itself on serving quality local dishes. The 5th Cullen Skink World Championships take place on Sunday 26th November 2017 so this is a soup we take seriously!
ABERDEEN ANGUS BEEF – And we couldn’t highlight Aberdonian delicacies without mentioning the sleek black cattle known the world over. Served in the very best of restaurants it’s the pride of the region. And for a 100% Aberdeen Angus experience nip down to Angus & Ale on Schoolhill (within walking distance of Skene House Rosemount) for a range of burgers with colourful titles such as ‘Big Jock’ and ‘Tim’rous Beastie’.
Next time you’re in Aberdeen let your taste buds have a holiday too and experience the local products that put the Granite City on the map.
Skene House’s three properties are located in the centre of Aberdeen so provide an ideal base to discover Aberdeen’s food highlights. With one, two and three bedroomed apartments and modern duplexes Skene House offers the benefits of serviced apartments with the luxury of a hotel. To find out more please visit http://www.skene-house.co.uk. Call +44 1224 659 392 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
[Image courtesy of Ross Bakery.]