Edinburgh loveliness! And holiday giving…

Posted on November 25, 2011

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Leading up to the festive season I had the privilege of going to Edinburgh for work.  What an amazing city it is!  We arrived to go and share dinner with colleagues at The Outsider restaurant.  It was the best food I’d had in six months – venison with south-east asian greens and sweet potato puree – just delicious. But equally good, if not better, was the tiny French restaurant on the Grassmarket called Petit Paris where we had lunch the next day.  We both had the most extraordinary crayfish and purple potato salad – the potatoes were unimaginably flavoursome – sweet and fragrant and only enhanced by the sweetness and saltiness of the crays. Honestly the best food I have had in a very very long time.  And Edinburgh itself is so engaging as a place to walk and to be.  It is so very different to anything found south of the Scottish border.  Eight storey honey-coloured sandstone terraces lining cobbled streets that seem to go up, down and around like an Esher drawing.  Last night we wandered down to see the Christmas lights being turned on.  The place was heaving with people enjoying german sausage and sauerkraut, mulled wine, gingerbread, warm cinnamon doughnuts and just the fabulously garish christmas spectacle of christmas lights children’s rides.

Visiting Edinburgh has been a wonderful opportunity to enjoy this grand yet quirky city, brimming full of friendly people, and proudly hosting more restaurants per person than any other city in the UK.  It is a testament to the city that its people can afford to patronise good restaurants, and make enough of a habit of eating out that the restaurant industry is so thriving.  This is a place I will definitely look forward to returning to.

And in distinct juxtaposition, I found today the perfect site on the internet for holiday giving.  This site pulls together a handy list of non-profits which have holiday gift programs to which you can give to over this festive season.  This definitely makes my task easy for working through Commitment Two in my Christmas list.

It is a contradiction to be talking in one breath about the fabulous food on offer in the UK’s northern jewel, and on the other, how you can give a gift to people who have so little that a regular meal in a local eatery is never likely to be a reality.  Yet it is precisely the sustainability of industries such as the food and restaurant industry that ensure that people’s hard-earned cash is being reinvested locally into businesses employing local people and hopefully using local produce.  So, if giving helps local communities set up a sure footing for sustainable local industry then this has to be a good thing. Reducing the gap between what we in the west can afford and what the poorest in the world can afford has to surely start with this basic principle.

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