Food, glorious food

Our corner of the world is blessed when it comes to fish, game, meat and fresh produce, although we often ignore our Aberdeenshire harvest in favour of out of season food that’s stored in artificial atmospheres and flown halfway round the planet. Locally grown foods, with excellent provenance, eaten seasonally tastes better and is better for us. 

Here’s our pick of the best butchers, bakers, delis, farm shops and cheese makers in the city and shire…

Beautiful bakeries

Blackbird Bakery
Blackbird Bakery on Union Grove specialise in amazing birthday cakes made to order and yummy cupcakes. They have a choice of 40 designs and you also get to select your sponge and filling. Facebook: BlackbirdBakeryAberdeen

Almondine started off making macarons, but have since become the city’s premier patisserie, producing sophisticated French-inspired morsels. They have a lovely café on Chapel Street and package up their take home treats beautifully.

La Gourmandise 
This tiny bakery may be better known as the Patisserie Francaise on Thistle Street. As well as authentic baguettes which inevitably get torn into on the journey home, you’ll find a great selection of fruit tarts, croissants and continental breakfast goods.

The Bread Guy
The Bread Guy is actually a family run artisan bakery based in Torry. As well as the shop at Glenbervie Road, you’ll find their stall at farmers’ markets across the shire, in many farm shops and garden centres and they have an online shop for collection. They’ll even courier batches of butteries for you if you know an Aberdonian far from home.

The Bread Maker
The Bread Maker on Rosemount Viaduct produces an exceptional range of fresh breads of all types, from flaky croissants to dark ryes that make you never want to eat supermarket bread again.  You’ll find this social enterprise’s breads in many of our best restaurants with good reason.

You can even take a course in bread making or just pop into their coffee shop when in need of cakes and carbs.

Bandit Bakery 
Bandit may only have been open a few weeks, but it’s already become a bit of a phenomenon. The Rose Street shop was partly crowd funded and had queues round the block on the opening weekend. They specialise in sourdough using a mix of Scottish white and wholemeal flours with freshly milled spelt. The spelt and sunflower seeds loaf is a delight and the focaccia with vegan bacon dust is great for breakfast too. Facebook: BanditBakery

The Cupcake Stop
The Cupcake Stop in Cove make delightful birthday cakes as well as coffees and cupcakes to go. Their munchie box selections have ruined many a diet.

Brilliant butchers

Chattan Quality Meats
Located, as you might expect, on Chattan Place in the West End, this is a traditional butcher that specialised in Scottish meat and free-range poultry. Great freezer packs and plenty of ideas for summer barbecues.

Herds is a Rosemount institution. Much of the meat comes from their own farm and they have an excellent selection of organic veg, ready meals, bakery and deli products.

Meet the Meat 
Meet the Meat is a butchery and food hall based in Cove and Banchory High Street, specialising in locally sourced products. They also have online ordering, lots of gluten-free sauces and an in-house chef who whips up some great dine at home boxed menus. They deliver as far as Laurencekirk, Ballater and Inverurie.

Banchory is also home to Sheridan’s, who have a branch in Ballater too. They’re known for the quality and provenance of their meat, especially their Mey Select steaks, from the far north. They hold two royal warrants, supplying the Queen and Prince Charles.

John Davidsons 
Davidson’s of Inverurie take their meat seriously, especially when it comes to their Pitmaster BBQ range of briskets and steaks, unusual cuts and specialist meats like Japanese Wagyu or Galician Beef from Spain.

Aberdeenshire Larder 
As well as top quality meat, Ellon-based Aberdeenshire Larder are known for their game, especially their wild Scottish venison. They ship all over the UK, offer click and collect and have a superb deli section. 

A&M Butchers
A&M are tucked away on Justice Street, just off the Castlegate. They’re known for their home-cooked meats, haggis and great quality. It’s a reputation for great products and customer services that’s been built up over thirty years. They can deliver, but don’t have a website. 

Charles McHardy 
McHardy’s have been around since 1907 with branches in Stonehaven and Laurencekirk. They offer local delivery and online ordering and their steak, black pudding and peppercorn sauce and their home baked chocolate brownies are rather good.

Cheese please!

Cambus O’May
Cambus O’May are based near Ballater where the Reid family produces handcrafted cheeses made using unpasteurised milk from traditional recipes, so the cheese changes subtly depending on the season it was produced. Try the nutty Cambus O’May itself, the crumbly Lairig Ghru
and the epic smoked cheese Auld Reekie and Ardmore. They take orders by e-mail.

The Devenick Dairy
Down in the south of the shire, the Devenick Dairy has been run by the Groat family since 1959. The team makes a great selection of artisan cheeses that includes Crynoch Blue, Smoked Deesider and Fet Like. They also do hampers and some seriously good cheesecakes.

The Gourmet Cheese Co. 
This small shop on Rosemount Place has a fantastic selection of cheeses from all over Europe and the UK. Each is carefully labelled with the type of milk and whether they are suitable for vegetarians. They also stock artisan
sausages, breads and have a decent deli section.

Forest Farm Dairy
Kinellar’s Forest Farm Dairy is an award winning organic farm, that has some of the happiest cows around. They make organic milk, organic yogurt, handcrafted artisan gelato and sorbet and even have milk vending machines.

Delicious delis

JK Fine Foods
JK could easily come under the headings for butchers or fish shops, but it excels at prepared dishes and has once of the biggest deli sections in the city. The frozen breads, snacks, world foods and prepared dishes make entertaining a doddle, especially if you pick up some beer or wine at the same time. They have two branches, one on Chattan Place and a new store at Westhill.

Hammerton Store
Hammerton is a firm West End favourite, located on Great Western Road. It’s like an urban farm shop, with some delicious new discovery to be made on every visit. They are strong on organic produce and also stock some great cook books, art and ceramics.

Graingers is Stonehaven’s deli. You’ll find this wee gem on Evan Street, just up the hill from the Market Square. They have an excellent cheese counter, great local breads and a host of continental deli specialities alongside home baking, homemade soups and hummus and local veg from Fernieflatt.

Field fresh farm shops

Castleton Farm Shop
You’ll find Castleton just off the A90 at the Fordoun junction near Laurencekirk. As well as a superb café and the fruit farm itself, Castleton’s offers an amazing array of homemade baked goods, ready meals, preserves and deli treats. There’s also a gift shop.

Finzean Farm Shop
Part of the Finzean Estate, this farm shop stocks home-reared beef, seasonal game, fruit and veg, cheeses, fresh-baked bread, Finzean honey and niche brands. The tea room is superb and the walls are hung with art from local makers which can be purchased. You’ll also find toys, local crafts and lots of books.

Marshall’s Farm Shop
Marshall’s is on the A96, between Blackburn and Kintore. Lots of the fresh food on offer comes from their own farms, so you’ll find potatoes, local veg, free-range eggs and beef, bacon and venison to grace any BBQ alongside home bakes and other treats from local suppliers. There’s a new café/restaurant too.

Hattoncrook Farm Deli
Hattoncrook majors in their own Aberdeen Angus Beef, but also stocks locally-sourced game, cheeses and biscuits, eggs, wines and coffees plus a selection of preserves and chutneys. There’s a new batch of home baking every day and the award-winning steak pies and smoked beef are worth the trip to Whiterashes.

Thorneybank Farm Shop
Thorneybank is a family run farm shop on the B9001 Rothienorman road. It offers a large variety of fresh, locally sourced, home grown produce and delicious home bakes from Catherine Stephen. It started out as a vegetable cart back in the 1980s, but now you’ll find local delicacies from Rora Dairy, Presly & Co and Inverloch Cheeses.

Sweet treats

A visit to Humbug on Rosemount Place is very special, like stepping back in to a Victorian Confectioners. The walls are lined with glass jars filled with a tempting assortment of colourful treats. They’re great for gourmet chocolate bars, decadent truffles and stock wonderful ice creams made locally by Casa di Gelati. Great milkshakes and ice-cream cakes too. You’ll often find David behind the counter. He’s profoundly deaf, but just point to whatever you fancy, or jot a note down on the pad and you’ll soon be sorted out. They even offer a candy cart service for weddings.

Shakes and Cakes
Shakes and Cakes have three branches in the city. You’ll find them upstairs at Union Square, on Great Northern Road and in Old Aberdeen on The Spital – probably the city’s least appealing street name. Rather more appealing is their menu of fully loaded milkshakes, sundaes, hot cookie dough concoctions and pancake towers. 

Giulianotti’s has been an institution in Stonehaven for over a century. It’s a mix of retro treats weighted out and presented in beribboned cellophane bags, and ice cream treats, which are made in small batches in the shop. If you’re buying a gift, then owner Marjory or her team are always delighted to guide your choices. Facebook: giulianottis

Hey Sweetie
Ellon’s Hey Sweetie is almost like a deli crossed with a sweetshop, stocking everything that’s sugary or sticky from all over the world. You’ll find retro favourites that you thought were no longer made alongside American candy bars, vegan treats and gluten-free offerings. They even have Cremola Foam.

Crolla’s Gelateria
Crolla’s sits at the crossroads of Rosemount Place and South Mount Street. The team make their fabulous ice-creams in the shop each day. The staff are great and they do the best strawberry ice cream in Scotland. Many of the chocolate based flavours are incredibly good too. Spoil yourself with
a waffle or coldstone creation.

Next time we’ll be rounding up the best fishmongers, world flavours and food halls.


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