Happy cows


If you make it to the end of the rather blurry shot of this label in Mellis's cheese shop you'll see why the cows are happy. Actually the implication that these Isle of Mull cows are uniquely happy made me smile, because feeding cows with the spent grain from whisky distilleries is commonplace in Scotland. My father was a grain merchant, and I grew up with phone calls from farmers wanting this grain, or 'draff', for their cows, or my father trying to sell excess loads of draff to farmers, or giving haulage firms directions to remote farms deep in the hills in the days before satnav.

That apart, a visit to Mellis's shops in Victoria Street, just off the Royal Mile, or in Morningside or Stockbridge, is a treat. The shops are more like caves - cold, dampish caverns stacked with great wheels and pillars of artisan-made cheese.





The happy cows also made me smile as I remembered my student vacation job as a tour guide at Glenfiddich distillery. It was a disappointment if someone didn't come up with a 'happy cows' remark when hearing about how the spent barley was disposed of. The fact that there was no alcohol in the barley was beside the point.


Comments

  1. There is nothing better than a good strong cheddar! I can almost smell it.

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    1. My father once ate such a strong farmhouse cheddar that he had an allergic reaction to it. But far better a bit of kick than bland processed stuff.
      I'm not surprised you can almost smell the cheese from this post. It's a very pungent shop.

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  2. I rather miss the wondrous Mellis. Many's the time I stood at the windy bus stop at the bottom of Royal Circus Place, waiting for the bus up to town, with the ripe aromas of the Stockbridge branch wafting down the road to me.

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    1. I know that bus stop. It's at such a foodie corner.

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  3. I do like the thought of a happy cow.

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    1. I think cows deserve to be happy, given how much we depend on them.

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  4. I'm salivating at the thought of that great cheese!

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    1. Me too, actually, just replying to comments.

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  5. Oh boy, does that cheese sound tasty! I also find it brilliant that you were a tour guide at Glenfiddich, my dad loves Glenfiddich whiskey!

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    1. If your Dad ever ventures to Scotland, Karine, let me know and I'll arrange a tour for him.

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  6. When we are next in Edinburgh we shall visit Mellis's cheese shop. We don't know Edinburgh very well so it's nice to have a guide! Thank you for your interesting post.

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    1. I'm still discovering Edinburgh, Annie, even after 25 years. But yes, do visit Mellis's.

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  7. funny post ;) the cheese is certainly good but very expensive ... my daughter worked at the distillery last summer but she didn't report this anectocte :)

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    1. Your daughter obviously had superior class of tourist wit, Babzy!

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  8. I love cheese :) but I haven't been in a cheese shop yet where I haven't had a mighty, "Gor Blimey" to myself at the smell.

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    1. That's one way of putting it, Sandy!

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  9. I love the Isle of Mull and know how happy the cows that live there should be with or without draff.

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    1. Mull is certainly very beautiful. I hope the cows aren't bothered too much by the midges, tho.

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  10. How very interesting - about the "draff" and also to imagine you as a Glenfiddich guide!

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    1. Can you imagine me in my kilt, green lambswool sweater with the Glenfiddich crest, green quilted jacked with the Glenfiddich crest for rainy/cold days, Glenfiddich umbrella...? We were very well provided with uniform. Apart from that we had an absolute ball.

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  11. How I do love cheese!! This sounds like something I would love to try. good sharp one is especially good.

    My dad was Swedish and what a cheese eater he was! He used to eat limburger cheese and I swear that's the most gosh awful smelling cheese I was ever around. He knew how much I loved cheese and he was always trying to get me to "just taste it". Ugh

    I would like to visit that cheese shop though.

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    1. I don't know if they export cheese parcels, Darlene. Perhaps I should enquire and send you some!

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  12. Hi Linda,
    We went into one of those cheese shops when we came to Edinburgh. Amanda is a cheeseaholic, me, I am cheeseaphobic and had to get out. It's funny, I don't have the same issues with whisky! Thanks for the post, very entertaining.

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    1. It could well be overpowering to a cheeseaphobic, Gary. The distillery is obviously your natural habitat.

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  13. Love Mellis'. Only picky picky point is that apparently Iain is "a bit of a purist" so won't supply my favourite Gouda with cumin seeds. Staffordshire with wild garlic makes up for that omission.

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    1. Mmm, must try the wild garlic one, Mal. Thaks for the recommendation.

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  14. Over here the state of California claims it has the best milk because their cows are so happy. They show those commercials here in Iowa, which is strange. We have a local dairy near us south of town that sells milk and ice cream. They sell to health food stores and are called the Picket Fence Dairy.

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    1. Sounds like a very Californian sort of advert, Larry.

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  15. The cheese sounds fabulous! Now what pairing would be appropriate? Wine or whisky?

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    1. Wine for me! I don't think I could face cheese and whisky. Strange.

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  16. Hum... I'd like so much to eat a piece of it ;p

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    1. Quite an achievement to tempt a French reader to want some Scottish cheese!

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  17. Mmmmmmmmm.... cheesy goodness!

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