There was a wonderful article published by The Guardian recently which debated the correct pronunciation of Scone. “Should it rhyme with gone or stone?” asked the headline. The debate that followed was almost as impassioned as a Brexit argument, with class division and geographical boundaries both playing their part!
Here in Perthshire, we tend to rhyme with ‘gone’, unless of course we’re talking about our majestic palace or bonny wee village on the east side. The confusion this brings to American tourists desperate to find the crowning place of Scottish Kings knows no bounds and is probably why many believe that scones were first baked in the kitchens of our local palace. Now, that may or may not be true - the first known print reference, in 1513, is from a Scottish poet but whether he was connected to Perthshire, no one knows.
What we do know though, is that Scone Palace have embraced the mantle of ‘creators’ and enjoying a scone at Scone is a must-do activity on the itinerary of many a tourist. These days we know for sure they’re baked in the palace kitchens; made fresh every day, you’ll find the traditional plain variety of old sitting alongside an abundance of flavours including popular choices such as fruit and cheese, as well as more ambitious creations including white chocolate or blueberry (see recipe here!)
Scones aren’t the only treat to have received the royal treatment at Scone; the palace cooks work tirelessly to ensure everything in their self-service café is homemade, fresh and tasty. They work closely with the gardeners, using the fresh fruit, veg and herbs to create tasty soups, fresh salads and delicious sides. The kitchen garden was reinstated in 2014 and ever since then the teams have strived to become self-sufficient – although in summer they need the back up of Blairgowire’s berries to deal with demand!
This close working partnership between kitchen and garden is no accident; at the start of each year the decision is made on what should be grown and the menu and recipes for the season are built around this. The provenance is second to none - they could tell you the name of the guy who planted the seeds, to grow the lettuce, for the salad you’re eating! In summer the jam used in the café and sold in the shop is made to Lady Mansfield’s own recipe, while in winter the cooks keep themselves gainfully employed making the chutney and preserves that will be used all summer long.
This commitment to a full circle eco-story has been driven by Lady Mansfield and Brian Cunningham, the head gardener and a guest presenter on BBC’s Beechgrove Garden. There is passion at the heart of this; for the ingredients that are grown, the food that is made and the environment in which it is enjoyed.
As for that headline, I have to say, I’m a great believer in language being fluid – there is no right and wrong. There’s only mouth-watering home-baking, preferably served warm and heaped high with butter and jam.
Scone Palace is now open for the Summer season, find opening hours and contact details on their website>
Afternoon Tea: two little words guaranteed to put a smile on your face! Small City have tracked down the best in Perthshire.
The Huntingtower Hotel just outside of Perth City Centre, offer a delicious and beautifully presented Afternoon Tea.
July 23rd Tuesday 2019
There's no better way to spend an afternoon than a personally guided tasting with a flight of Iain Burnett’s gourmet chocolates!
April 26th Thursday 2018
Settle into the comfort of the Drawing Room for an elegant afternoon which including delicate savouries and an array of tempting cakes.
April 26th Thursday 2018