NEWS, RAMBLINGS AND AWARDS
Register now to receive your weekly
soup recipe. Just send in your email address to
and we will send you a free soup
recipe. The recipes will be sent out by email every Wednesday to
cheer you up mid week. We're going to call it SOUP WEDNESDAY.
SCOTLAND'S TOP HOTELS LET US
I had a small rant in Moffat's Other Stuff page.
It's not really the sort of place to have a small rant, the Other Stuff
page, that is. But it is a topic that gets my blood a-boiling. We have
some excellent hotels in this country. They serve great food, have
well-earned stars for quality from the tourist board, and can in many
cases be found in any number of guides detailing where to find the very
best of food. And yet their hotel bars are grossly inadequate as far as
good quality Scottish ale is concerned. It is utterly astonishing. We
brew some of the best ale in the world, right here on our doorstep. And
yet if you wander into many a hotel bar you will find pretty tasteless
Scottish keg lager or equally bland foreign lager, all of which are
served so cold that what little flavour they possess is impossible to
detect. I picked up a beer mat in a pub in Dumfries. It promotes a
well-known Scottish lager, one that is the best-selling lager in the
universe, or some such promotional tosh. On the reverse of this mat it
had this to say: 'OUR LAGER TASTERS CAN IDENTIFY 10 FLAVOURS IN A
PINT OF ********. WE CALL THEM THE PERFECT 10'. When I read this I came
perilously close to choking on my pint. These lagers are served so cold
it's nigh impossible to taste anything. I mean, what planet are these
companies on? I do not hate all cold lagers. Indeed, there may be
occasions when something cool and silky is just the job. But in most
occasions I want my ale to taste and smell of something good. In fact I
just want it to taste and smell of something, of anything, otherwise
there seems little point and I'd be financially better off sitting in pubs
sucking alcoholic ice-cubes.
At the end of the day, travelling and being a tourist is, for most
people, all about experiencing things that are different to what you can
get back home. You travel to a different area or country to taste that
country's food, drink that country's ale, and sample that country's
scenery and way of life. If this were not possible then it would be
pointless travelling; every pub in the world would stock the same range
of ale, every restaurant would have the same menu made from ingredients
sourced in one part of the world, and each town would be a clone made
(in the minds of those in power) all the more palatable by a small
scenic mountain that would be plopped in the exact same position in
relation to the town in each and every part of the world.
Local produce is the key. Why spend money transporting food and drink
around the globe when, with a few exceptions, each area in every country
is more than capable of producing its own food and drink.
If our big hotel chains are to have any hope of maintaining the level of
custom they desire, then they need to take a long hard look at what's on
offer in their bars. Because if they don't, the traveller will just go
BEST SOUP IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to the Darnley
Coffee House in Stirling.
BEST ALE BREWED IN SCOTLAND AWARD goes to 'Blackfriar', a
delicious bottled ale brewed by the Inveralmond Brewery up in Perth. It
was made for the American market, but if you know where to look you can
find the odd bottle here.
BEST PUB AWARD goes to the
Ben Nevis in Glasgow, because it's just a great pub.
BEST THING TO SEE AWARD goes
to the walled garden in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow.
BEST LITTLE WALK AWARD goes to the Pendreich walk above
Bridge of Allan.
Things are beginning to hot up here. It used to be the case that
in order to see how many visitors you were getting to your website you
had to add a little counter. Goodness, but haven't things progressed a
heck of a lot in the last few years? Now, not only can I see how many
visitors, but I can also see what days they are visiting, what times
they are visiting, and what country they are visiting from. We're
probably only a small step away from some great Googly arrow in the sky
that will, at the click of a button, drop down from outer space and
point at the very house in which your visitor resides.
This website has only been up and running for two months, and already
I'm getting visitors from Great Britain, United States, Germany, Japan,
Austria, Trinidad and Tobago, and Russia. What about Hobbiton, that's
what I want to know. I want a visitor from there, someone with
map-making skills, the ability to brew fine honey mead, to darn socks
that are not their own without question, and who has the gold and
treasure of the elves put aside for a rainy day.
That's what I want. Better check my web statistics just in case.
HERE at The Good Soup Guide our
technicians have come up with a rating system. It involves stars
(original, huh?). Basically, one star [*] means the place has been
visited by us and deemed to be of a good standard (and that applies
equally to pubs or cafes or views). Two stars [**] means we reckon it's
very good, and three stars [***] means it was so magnificent that we
our pants with excitement.
Do You Have a Nectar Card?
Life is so frustratingly complex these days. When
I go to my favourite Beanscene I cannot simply ask for a coffee. I have
to make a small speech that goes something like, 'A little wicked
decaffeinated Americano with milk to sit in.' I am seriously
thinking of having a T-shirt made with all the speech printed on the
front so I can just point at what I want.
It's the same in supermarkets. At checkouts we are blasted with words
and questions, most of which are quite unnecessary...'Do you need a hand
to pack?', 'Do you collect vouchers for schools?', 'Have you got a
loyalty card?', 'Do you have a Nectar card?' It's a social form of
interrogation that wears a person down so much that small eruptions
occasionally occur, as in, 'Why on earth would I need a hand to pack two
bottles of ale? Do I look like I'm missing bits of my body, like arms?'
It's so annoying. Nectar cards are the worst. I've been getting asked
for the past decade if I've got one. Are people who possess a Nectar
card incapable of saying the phrase, 'I have a Nectar card'? I don't
even know what it is. I've only ever heard about them when asked if I
have one. Perhaps I'll get that put on my T-shirt as well...'I don't
have an effin Nectar card - okay?'
DO YOU WANT TO ADVERTISE IN THE GOOD SOUP GUIDE? WE'RE NOW GETTING
VISITORS TO THIS WEBSITE FROM ALL AROUND THE WORLD, AND SOME OF THEM
MIGHT EVEN VISIT SCOTLAND.
[Just click a month to access previous monthly News pages]
I have found a hidden doorway,
I know not where it goes, It's been blocked up for quite a while,
A secret no one knows, There are sure to be big spiders,
And bugs with beady eyes,
So if I take these bricks away how big will be the surprise?
Perhaps I'll find some treasure,
Or even gloopy gore, And now that I think on it,
I'm not interested any more.
FAVOURITE SOUP RECIPES WANTED