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Mince Pie Spy: Our cafe critic checks out the festive offering at Dobbies Garden Centre, Braehead

Mince Pie Spy this weekend at Dobbies, Braehead
Mince Pie Spy this weekend at Dobbies, Braehead

At long last, December has arrived and we can start talking about Christmas.

It’s my favourite time of year. Not only do I love the build up to the festivities, but it also means – just for a few weeks – I switch my sweet treat of choice from sumptuous scones to magical mince pies.

As everyone knows my love of scones runs deep but my primed pastry palate can be indulged this month.

Today, I find myself at Dobbies, Braehead, and it feels like Christmas has indeed come early.

The store is decked out with glittering trees and gorgeous garlands and they’ve created a magical winter wonderland in the restaurant, too.

There’s a sleigh packed with presents, and a log fire. Even the wallpaper has been changed to a log cabin effect to make it feel festive and homely.

I decide to treat myself to a Christmas afternoon tea. And boy, this is the gift that keeps on giving.

A tower of turkey and cranberry sandwiches, cakes and sweet treats galore and – to my delight – four scones the size of boulders with clotted cream and jam. Of course, it’s meant for two so I already know I’ll be taking a doggie bag home…and, to those who don’t know, I don’t have a dog!

The mince pies have been beautifully baked and, with a little sprig of mistletoe on top, look almost too good to eat but I manage to devour every last bite.

The mincemeat is delicious – there must be a nice splosh of brandy in there – and the pastry buttery and firm. Washed down with a caramel latte, it has me feeling all warm inside. In fact, this festive feeling makes me realise I should stop in on my old pal Santa.

The magic of Christmas is there for all to see in the garden centre’s grotto. The wee ones are mesmerised as Buddy the Elf leads them through a sea of spruce and snow before arriving at the man of the hour’s house in the North Pole.

The way their faces light up when they see his red-and-white suit is truly one of the best gifts of the season.

There’s no doubt about it, Dobbies is definitely on the nice list this year. And its mince pies are as merry as can be!

Mince pie score

Deep filled and super-scrumptious.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐