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The joys and pains of specialist cafés

7 Jan
Sometimes, all you want is a good cup of coffee (or tea) and a bit of quiet.

Sometimes, all you want is a good cup of coffee (or tea) and a bit of quiet.

There are so many cafés in Edinburgh now that to compete, cafés have to become centres of excellence, specialists in one thing or another. Some are specialists in coffee. Others are specialists in something else: books, chocolate or bread, for example. Or tea. The tea house is a relatively recent addition to the Edinburgh scene and since they all serve coffee, offer hot beverages and cake I count them in the café family.

Some specialist cafés make their specialism work for them and some fail to wow you. Why is that?

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Festival Foodies – Food and Drink pt1

16 Aug

Part 1 – Food and Drink

A simply glorious day today, the weather could not have been better. A perfect day to go along to Foodies at the Festival, taking place this year in Holyrood Park.

I must confess to being rather ambivalent about festivals such as Taste of Edinburgh, Foodies at the Festival, what are they actually for? To taste the food, just a pleasant day out, to drink? Certainly today, you could have got absolutely plastered very easily! It actually proved a great opportunity to discover some new suppliers, rediscover some old favourites, get a sampling from restaurants that I’d not yet been to, and to watch cookery demonstrations (more about the last two in Part 2). Continue reading

The Swedish Trilogy, 1: Coffee

13 Jul
Coffee should be dark and bitter.
Coffee should be dark and bitter.

It’s early on a summer’s morning and I have just ordered an Americano in a rather nice cafe in a suburb of Stockholm. The barista makes a double espresso, pours it into a cup and tops it up with filter coffee. The result is extremely strong and packed with caffeine. There’s a good reason for why I don’t send it back.

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