We would like to invite you to our guide to inspiring, independent, Edinburgh-based businesses that we love. Today we are travelling to Mary's Milk Bar in the Grassmarket - a true temple of Gelato & chocolate. We've asked Mary a few Christmas related questions so you can read her answers below. We hope you love them as much as we do!
1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS & THE ETHOS BEHIND YOUR BRAND
I wanted to create a nice place for me to work and hence a nice place for people to come to. I wanted to keep it very personal and small - most of the customers know me and can suggest flavours they think might work. Business doesn't have to be big and all about growth - it can be about making each day interesting and different, just like the ice cream flavours. My days are varied and fun - making ice cream and chocolate every morning and scooping for tourists, locals and students in the afternoon (and of course sampling all the new seasonal flavours as I go along!)
2. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO IN EDINBURGH DURING CHRISTMAS?
Edinburgh is the perfect setting for Christmas delights. One of my favourite things to do is to go for a walk after dark and gaze at the enormous Christmas trees in the grand Edinburgh tenement bay windows and wonder at their owners. I do love partaking in my yearly devouring of numerous Ecclefechan Tarts from my local grocer's and wandering around Edinburgh's amazing independent boutiques.
3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING DURING CHRISTMAS?
I've always worked up to Christmas Day and always enjoyed it. I love decorating the shop with mistletoe and fairy lights and serving festive flavours like Stollen, Mince Pie, and Sage Stuffing gelati. Our most loyal customers keep us going in the cold winter months - they're truly ice cream aficionados, licking their cones during snow, wind and rain. I take a break during January so we run a few competitions, secret offers and code words to unlock free scoops for our regular customers in December - it's always a delight to rewards the friendly faces that come all year round.
4. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS FOOD?
Bread Sauce. I love this condiment and I only get to have it on Christmas Day (maybe Boxing Day, if I'm lucky enough to tuck into a Bread Sauce Sandwich). It's a creamy, spiced with clove and bay, bread sauce which it so thick it's spreadable - if you've not had it, try it!
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONG?
'Christmas in Jail' by The Youngsters 1956. A sobering tale of spending Christmas in jail with only bread and water after having one too many - all Christmas songs would be both melancholy and hilarious - this one gets in my head, I wake up singing it every December morning. I really enjoy compiling the Milk Bar's playlists and the Christmas one is no exception.
You can listen to the song here.