My latest lucky work adventure took me around much of the Ayrshire coast and over the water to the isle of Arran.
While my trip saw me sampling artisan gin, eating great Scottish food and staying in some fabulous places – I did of course have a job to do.
I was road testing two of the five tourist routes that make up The Coig (five in Gaelic) for our Arran & Ayrshire area focus in the February issue of Scottish Field.
One of the stops during our time on Arran was The Parlour – an ice-cream parlour which also serves up stone baked, hand-thrown pizzas. Situated right on the shore and with a chilled cabinet full of a rainbow of different ice-cream flavours tempting you as soon as you walk through the door, it’s easy to imagine a line of people out the door just waiting for their creamy cones during those hot summer days.
Sadly, our visit to The Parlour fell on a particularly wet & wild day in December but the promise of a fresh hot pizza was enough to make braving the weather worth it. Having indulged fairly heavily in meat over the previous two or three days, I decided a Margherita was the pizza for me. Topped with sugo (a tomato sauce with garlic and herbs), mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and Parlour pesto – it tasted wonderfully fresh and drizzled with their own chilli oil, was packed with plenty of flavour without leaving me craving an additional meaty topping. I did push the boat out and asked for mushrooms too!
There’s also a large selection of toasted sandwiches which go perfectly with a bowl of their homemade soup. Our photographer Angus, opted for a classic ham & cheese to go with a comforting and tasty bowl of lentil and bacon.
With food provenance being more important then ever, it’s lovely to know that all of the ice-cream at The Parlour is Isle of Arran Ice Cream which is made just along the road. With that being said, it was only right that we went along to see the process for ourselves and learn how producers and suppliers are closely linked.
Made using the milk produced by the dairy herds which graze on Arran’s lush green pastures, the ice-cream has a distinctively creamy taste. Flavours include strawberry, Scottish tablet, mint-choc chip (my personal favourite) and the most popular which is traditional. The team also create bespoke flavours on request and have made everything from beetroot to avocado ice-cream!
Being able to see the physical connection between farm to dairy to shop offered a unique insight and a quality assurance that’s hard to beat. All of these businesses hope to play some part in the success of The Coig as it develops and it’s easy to feel excited for them.
You can read the full feature on my trip to Ayrshire and Arran in the February issue of Scottish Field which is on sale from the beginning of January.
Isle of Arran