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Thistles and Biscuits! Striving to be the Best? Or as Avis says ‘We Try Harder’

Google this sweet treat on the left and Wikipedia will tell you it’s an Empire biscuit, Imperial biscuit, double biscuit, German biscuit, Belgian biscuit, double shortbread or even an Empire cookie. Whichever you wish, for me it is a food memory of baking with Granny – and also a benchmark for all tearooms and cafés!!

This Scottish delicacy in the wrong hands can be two dry rounds of cardboard, a mean scrape of processed red gunge and a hard white topping. Quite awful! The one good thing is you can usually spot it a mile off!

Alternatively, in the right hands, this treat is sensational and Ardardan Estate has totally nailed it! Delicate buttery shortbreads, light with a gentle crumb, sandwiched together with home made raspberry jam, draped with a still-soft full moon of white glacé icing and finally topped with half a cherry. They don’t come any better than this. Perfection. Bravo to Ardardan!

Back in Edinburgh it was the evening of the Thistle Awards, VisitScotland’s Oscars and a night to spruce up and catch up with friends. With my Regional Thistle Ambassador awarded in November I could enjoy a night of stars without any butterflies. Everyone was a winner, having achieved an Award at the Regionals so it was great to see Paul and Becky from Errichel (left)

Craig of Eat on the Green, and the crew from Café St Honoré We met many lovely people at our table and had a grand night out.

Our warmest congratulations to Craig Wilson (above), Winner of Best Eating Experience for Eat on the Green. Such a great guy and stalwart supporter of all things Scottish and dining par excellence, it was sincerely well deserved.

As an enthusiastic follower of Outlander, to my surprise and delight a special Honorary Thistle Award was presented to Diana Gabaldon in recognition of her International Contribution to Scottish Tourism (aka The Outlander Effect). An excellent choice as thanks to her, numbers visiting Scotland have rocketed.

In a country where Good Food Nation and Food Tourism are targets in Parliamentary Consultation Papers and Strategy Documents respectively, many of us are trying harder right this minute and will never cease as we firmly believe in our nation and our produce. Those with the cardboard biscuits will need to pull their socks up!!

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