While down south sunny days and unseasonal heatwaves have been occurring, up here we have been having a lot of rain, broken up by grey skies, strong winds and the occasional burst of hail.
Noting the potential arrival of a single sunny day, I reserved it for another food tour, and some research and a print-out later, I was in the seaside town of Troon.
I have only been to Troon a few times before, and never into the actual town. Instead I’ve gone to the harbour to Wee Hurrie, a great fish and chip shop that fries while you wait, and the neighbouring McCallum’s Oyster Bar, where I eschewed oysters in favour of some wonderful fish. I really must write about them sometime.
However though the town itself is small, it’s definitely worth a saunter round, followed by a bracing walk along the beach to burn off a few cake calories.
The first thing that struck me was the amazing amount of cute little knick-knack shops, interspersed with a surprising number of coffee shops. I pondered the matter as I continued the tour, but it was T who later suggested that the nearby golf courses might lead to some idle ladies in need of sustenance and interior decor items.
Start Point: Academy Street Car Park
Exit the car park onto Academy Street, and head south-west for a minute until you reach the intersection with Church Street. Turn right onto Church Street and cross the road.
Location: Thelma and Louise, 26 Church Street
I was struck with a sudden bout of shyness, and contented myself with peering in through the windows. It looked to be a well-stocked off-licence, and I’d be intrigued to know if there really is a Thelma or a Louise behind the place.
Exit the shop, and continue along Church Street (you may wish to pop over the road to the Oxfam Bookshop as you pass it!).
Location: Jan de Vries Health and Diet Centre, 6 Church Street
This is a very bijou shop with a surprising amount of stock on its shelves. Some interesting bits and bobs in the health food line, as well as various pills and curatives. Alas also a website that doesn’t want to be linked to without permission – you know what to do.
Carry along Church Street until you reach Portland Street, then turn left. Cross over the road.
Location: The Cookie Jar, 43a Portland Street
Category: Sweet Shop/Takeaway (cake)
I was very impressed at the range of confectionery for sale here. They even had a large variety of chocolate bars made by Montezuma’s, one of my favourite UK chocolatiers.
In addition to all the sweets there is a small range of baked goods available, including a number of different cupcakes. As pictured above, I brought an apple crumble cupcake home for sampling. The cinnamon was too intense for me, but H and T were very happy.
Cross back over to the other side of Portland Street, and continue down.
Location: Imrie Fruit and Veg, 26 Portland Street
When I was a kid, there was always a greengrocer in every town. Now I think of them as being quite scarce, with supermarket buying power and the rise of things like farm shops, delis, farmers markets and veg box delivery schemes having nibbled away much of their market. So it’s nice to see a traditional greengrocer again, complete with some Scottish produce, and to emember how things used to be.
Carry on down the street.
Location: Velvet Apple, 20 Portland Street
Category: Deli/Café/Takeaway (sweet treats)
Part deli but mainly café, there are some eye-poppingly delicious treats available here. I was instantly drawn to the large cakes on display, and the varieties went beyond the usual fare to include peaches and cream, and coconut.
You’ll probably be amazed to learn that I in fact bought a slice of coffee and walnut cake. Given my avowed dislike of coffee, I can see this would make little sense. However a week previous I had stolen a little bite of H’s coffee and walnut cupcake (bought from our favourite Ayr Daisy Cupcake Café), and been quite taken with it. Velvet Apple’s was equally impressive, with a mild sweet coffee taste that even I could get on board with. The cake was moist, the buttercream light, and I could have polished the whole thing off by myself.
They also have a small cookware shop a few doors down which is worth a look.
Continue on down Portland Street.
Location: Brownings the Bakers, 6 Portland Street
A small, traditional bakery crammed with Scottish favourites.
Carry on to the crossroads with Ayr Street. Cross over until you are on the diagonally opposite side of the road.
Location: Bradfords, 2 West Portland Street
I bought the above-pictured “… fancy” here. The ellipsis represents the part of the name I didn’t hear and was too shy to ask for again. It turned out to be a macaroon casing with coconut, buttercream and a chocolate button. Not really to my taste, but there are loads of other cakes and pies to sample as they have a very good selection. There are also lots of seats so you can eat in if you prefer.
Walk down West Portland Street a little and then cross over to the other side.
Location: T Connor Butcher and Delicatessen, 21 West Portland Street
A very light and spacious butchers, with a small selection of other things like cheese and delectable Patchwork Pâtés. As I wasn’t going home for a while I didn’t purchase any of the fresh meat, which I am still regretting as they had ham ribs. Yep, not pork ribs but ham ribs! How delicious would those be?! I think I need to make a return trip…
Head back up West Portland Street.
Location: Ice Cream Factory, 5 West Portland Street
Category: Takeaway (ice-cream)/Shop
Sadly this shop wasn’t open when I strolled eagerly up to the door. It looked like some work was going on, but I could only stare disconsolately at the sweets in the window and hope to come back some time.
Walk a few metres up to the junction with Ayr Street, and turn right, then cross over Ayr Street to the other side. Walk along Ayr Street a little way.
Location: Charles Duncan, 15 Ayr Street
The same company runs the deli (see below), they have a good range of meat and traditional breakfast puddings.
Carry on down Ayr Street.
Location: Coulter’s Candy, 33 Ayr Street
Category: Sweet Shop
This is a wonderful old-fashioned sweet shop, just like there used to be when I was a kid. A plethora of jars crammed with all kinds of delights, and they even sell Ice Cups and Anglo Bubbly. I could happily spend a small fortune here, but my teeth might not forgive me.
Go a door or two down.
Location: James Adams, 37 Ayr Street
A great little fish shop with some temptingly fresh-looking produce.
Go next door!
Location: The Deli, 39 Ayr Street
Small but crammed full of standard deli fare, with enough chutneys and jams to last you a hundred loaves.
Carry on along Ayr Street until the junction with Academy Street, then head up Academy Street until you reach the car park once more.