Ghillie Basan’s Top Picks for Christmas Shopping at Rothiemurchus
I love Christmas – the sparkle, the bubbly, the pretty tree, and the excitement of gifts – but every year I find myself dashing around at the last minute to get the stocking fillers, the dinner, and those presents I haven’t yet thought of. You know, the ones for someone who has everything! So, when I popped into the Rothiemurchus Centre my eyes lit up as I realized I could do all my Christmas shopping in one place and have a nice cup of tea and a homemade scone from The Druie Cafe at the same time!
THE FARM SHOP AND DELI
You can’t beat the traditionally reared and wild meat of Rothiemurchus Estate. The pure bred naturally reared Highland cattle and the deer are handled with care and respect by their farmer, stalker and butcher so the meat is juicy, velvety and full of flavour. You can pop into the shop and buy the cuts of the day, or you can order your Christmas meat from Janet, the Farm Shop Manager. For Christmas dinner this year I’m going for the Venison haunch roast with roasted beetroot and potatoes and a rich red wine gravy but I would also recommend:
Highland beef fillets
Highland beef on the bone or rolled
Under 2kg – Royal Mail Special Delivery – until 19th December
Over 2kg – Courrier Delivery – until 17th December
Janet’s top tip: “Order your meat soon!”
I’m a sucker for cheese at any time of year and Christmas is no exception. With an emphasis on Scottish artisan cheeses, there is also a selection of oozy, tangy cheeses from English, French and Dutch producers. I can never refuse a wedge of seasonal Vacherin, deliciously ripened in birch bark and, if you don’t have a plate to put it on, there are stunning blue and white ones from the Fine Cheese Company.
Beautifully wrapped boxes or baskets filled with chocolates, jams and chutneys by Rose Cottage and Huntly Herbs, fine butter shortbread, cheese crackers and a bottle of wine, or make up your own and throw in a bottle of flavoured dressing by Little Herb Farm, or Edinburgh Preserves and Pates, Rothiemurchus honey, a signed copy of Prue Leith’s new book, and a bottle of Cairngorm beer, Inschriach gin or Angels’ Share whisky.
There are so many enticing edible and scented gifts ideal for a stocking: Turkish delight; old-fashioned candy sticks; iced Santa and Reindeer biscuits; dazzling handmade chocolate bars from the Chocolate Tree; and little gifts from The Old School Shop.
Customer quote of the month:
“This shop is so rustic, it’s like an Aladdin’s cave full of goodies”
THE OLD SCHOOL SHOP
Christmas tree decorations
There is such a feast of Christmas frost and sparkle here with old-fashioned wooden figures, Nordic-style decorations, tartan baubles and some with a woodland theme.
Gifts for men
Washed denim and leather wallets; leak-proof water bottles with double walls to keep drinks cool; eco-friendly bamboo coffee or drinks cups; chunky solid wood photo frames; and gifts with a cycling theme.
Brightly coloured, locally weaved wool scarves and gloves; soft rugs with reindeer and highland cow motifs; soft, cosy, sit-on-the-sofa socks; glassware with slate coasters from the Just Slate Company; pretty plates and bowls from Highland Stoneware; and a selection of aromatic Scottish soaps, bath bubbles, lip balms and body creams.
GIFT AND CARD SHOP
Advent calendars and cards
Such a joy to find good, old-fashioned, no-chocolate advent calendars with glitter and Christmas themes; some very funny cards as well as traditional ones; great wrapping paper and calendars for 2019.
My Christmas shopping is sorted! I’m heading home to pour a glass of wine and hang my new decorations on the tree.
Wishing you and Rothiemurchus a very Merry Christmas
Writer, broadcaster, and food anthropologist, Ghillie Basan has been dubbed ‘The Original Spice Girl’ and ‘World Food Expert.’ Her informative and internationally acclaimed books have been nominated for the Glenfiddich and the Guild of Food Writers Awards, the Cordon Bleu World Food Media Award, they have appeared regularly in the ‘Best of the Best’ and ‘Top 50’ lists; and she has been described as one of the ‘finest writers on Middle Eastern food’