Scone Spy went a little off the rails this week.
We were not only out to find the perfect scone. We were also on the trail of the best amber nectar.
So we came to the very heart of Scotland’s distillery country and the historic Station Hotel in Rothes.
The four-star hotel – which first opened its doors in 1901 – was once the haunt of the rich who would stop off on their way to fish the mighty River Spey. But, over time, its grandeur faded.
Richard and Heather Forsyth bought and restored the hotel in a multi-million-pound, whisky-themed scheme.
We settled down on one of its chic, buttoned leather sofas with a rather tasty 12-year-old Macallan, and took in its whisky “wall” – shelf upon shelf containing around 500 malts, accessed by a library ladder. Intoxicated by the sheer volume of choice, we could easily have forgotten about the scones, had it not been for our cheery and welcoming waitress, Rothes born-and-bred Anne Smith.She regaled us with the details of afternoon tea.
Along with a string of tantalising sweets there were savouries like Scotch eggs and bridies.
But these weren’t just any old Scotch eggs – oh no. They were quail Scotch eggs. And the bridies contained the finest haggis. “Bring it on Anne!” we chimed, loosening our belts in preparation for the feast.
On a delicate tiered stand came an array of tasty bites. Slim sandwiches of smoked salmon, cheese and pickle, and chicken, were followed by the daintiest of fruit tartlets, carefully crafted macarons, and home-made Glen Grant fudge (containing a good slug of its whisky). There were also chunky chocolate brownies and succulent banana cake.
So spoiled for choice were we, we decided to try them all. Only then did we go for the scones. Baked in-house with a choice of plain or fruit, they were warm on arrival and served with a side-offering of thick clotted cream and sweet home-made raspberry jam, created locally by the “Carol’s Been Cooking…” enterprise.
Carol makes a selection of choice jams, marmalades and chutneys from her small kitchen using “old-fashioned, traditional recipes” and seasonal ingredients.
And, it seems, they’re very popular in these parts. We lathered on the cream, followed by the jam, arguing enthusiastically over which should come first (any advice, Scone Spy fans?)
With cream melting into the bake and oozing from its sides, we took the first bite. Slightly crisp on the outside, but with just the right degree of moist on the interior, it was packed with fruit and was simply scrumptious.
Our wacky decision to mix our grains had paid off, and Scone Spy was back on track again.
WARM WELCOME 9/10
LOCATION LOCATION 9/10
SCONE SCORE 9/10