Category Archives: foreign

Hotel Montefiore

תֵּל אָבִיב-יָפוֹ‎, that’s Hebrew for Tel Aviv and  تل أَبيب-يافا‎‎, that’s Arabic for the same thing but what else does Tel Aviv have other than two languages that are completely indecipherable to most of us? Well it’s famous for lots of things e.g. this is where Jonah set sail from before he was eventually swallowed by a fish and, rather interestingly, the city was established in 1909, by dividing up sea shells on a sand dune in a kind of lottery. One hundred and twenty shells were collected from the beach … sixty white and sixty grey. People’s names were written on the white shells and plot numbers were written on the grey shells. A boy drew names from one box of shells and a girl drew plot numbers from the second box … brilliant! Now, however, besides having a population of almost half a million people, it transpires, according to our Middle East correspondent, that Tel Aviv now has scones … surely a measure of how far and how civilised it has come in a relatively short time. The Hotel Montefiore is the place in question. Internal view of the Hotel Montefiore, Tel AvivOur correspondent sets the scene:

“A sanctuary of peace in the centre of Tel Aviv? No seller’s cries? No TVs. No politicians arguing? No gunshots? No, none of that … just the occasional customer’s chuckle. The cafe was a real surprise….ochre interiors with subtle illumination and dark furnishings, palm trees and in the background I think I detected Paul Desmond’s sax. Nubile waitresses attired in elegant black summer dresses waving menus elaborated in the King’s English served the scones and poured the jasmine tea. We cannot deny that our appetites had already been whetted by reading those weekly experiences of our scone mentors in Scotland. A scone at the Hotel Montefiore, Tel AvivThe objects of our desire were delicious. Crunchy on the outside and softish inside with a few raisins. Squarish instead of roundish but the taste and consistency were just perfect. Even my Granny in Dublin would have enthused”.

Given such a wonderfully detailed and enthusiastic report as well as an endorsement from a Dublin granny, we feel we have no option but to award the Montefiore a topscone … or at least a topscone for a foreign scone! We also notice on the hotel’s website, for all you really keen sconeys already booking your flights to Tel Aviv, (hopefully not with Ryanair), that: “Hotel Montefiore invites guests to unwind and enjoy a happy hour of expertly crafted cocktails along with complimentary scones, coffee and tea” … go get ’em! Many thanks to all our correspondents for expanding our horizons so deliciously.

66 88 3 Israel    tel: +972 3 5646100   Hotel Montefiore

A white K6 in Hull
White K6, tweeted by Petroc Trelawny
K1 telephone box at Tintinhull
repro K1 in Sumerset

As a response to our question in our previous post “what colour is a red telephone box?” perhaps it was only to be expected that ‘the Pedant’ would forwarded a picture of an albino K6 located in Hull … what ever next? If anyone can spot a K1 we would be delighted to hear from you … photographic evidence please.

The Shakespeare Hotel

This is a departure from our normal protocols because we think it is worthwhile giving you the full story of how scones were introduced to Lithuania. You will remember our Tyrolean correspondents sent us details of the first scones ever produced in Austria, well this is another truly inspirational story of another successful colonisation. Just over a year ago our ever adventurous Trossachs correspondents visited Lithuania on holiday and searched high and low for scones. They sent a picture of the nearest thing they could get at café Kmyninė in Vilnius but it was only a mere approximation to any scone that you or I would recognise. This year, with a young apprentice in tow, they were back … as part of the Tartan Army supporting Scotland in their World Cup qualifier against Lithuania. In their own words “the Shakespeare Hotel is a classy establishment where we enjoyed a couple of visits last year. At that time, during some banter with the staff, we bemoaned the lack of Lithuanian scones. Afternoon tea menu at the Shakespeare Hotel in VilniusThis time, to our utter disbelief, the current notice board displayed a flyer for Afternoon Tea with among other delicacies FRUIT AND PLAIN SCONES with clotted cream and raspberry and mint jam. To our initial disappointment, we were asked if we had booked because they needed an hours notice. However, the kilts and a little bit of good old Scottish charm led to a quick consultation with the kitchen and the excellent news that the scones would only take half an hour”. Unfortunately they had to fill in time by sampling some of the local brews … oh dear! A scone at the Shakespeare Hotel in VilniusThe scones when they arrived were beautifully presented, on the small side and shaped more like marshmallows than scones but they were delicious – warm, crisp on the outside, incredibly light and the cream and jam worked to perfection. There was even an egg timer set to ensure the correct time for the tea to infuse”. Now this is indeed momentous stuff … not only have our correspondents persuaded this establishment to serve scones but by all accounts The Shakespeare Hotel has done it extremely well. Because of this, and because of our correspondent’s growing expertise, and because the likelihood of us ever getting to Vilnius is extremely slim, we have decided that this should be the first topscone not judged by ourselves. Well done and congratulations to all concerned!

A K6 telephone box at the Portobello Bar in VilniusTo top things off they later went to the Portobello Irish pub where, lo and behold, sitting proudly in the entrance … a K6. Quite how these things find their way into all the neuks and crannies of the world is quite bewildering. Of course, the icing on the cake was a 3-0 win for Scotland … oh, and news that the Rough Guides readers have voted Scotland as the most beautiful country in the world .. but we all knew that! Back to our correspondents … “no doubt, Lithuania is changing which may in part be due to the number of young Lithuanians able to come to Scotland and share our culture. As we enjoyed Lithuanian company, culture and friendship, the UK Government were again making fools of themselves in Brussels”. The Lithuanians definitely find Brexit hard to understand but then again, why wouldn’t they? We’re sure the vast majority of people in the UK find it equally hard.A Brexit sign at the Portobello Bar in Vilnius

Vilnius 01124     tel: +370 5 266 5885      Shakespeare Hotel

Scones of America

US sconesHooray,  our North American correspondents have been in touch … a photo of some American scones. Now we have to admit that we thought scones were a measure of a civilized, cultured society … so what on earth were they doing in America? The photo concentrates on Wegmans products (based in Rochester NY) which seems to be the Greggs of the US. You would imagine that American scones would be slightly vulgar … at least three times the size of a good scone but these ones look fairly normal … though it’s quite hard to tell. If they haven’t gone ‘large’ then Wegmans, in typical American, ‘land of plenty’ style, certainly make up for it in variety – maple walnut scones; organic cranberry scones; cinnamon scones; caramel toffee scones; chocolate chip scones; pumpkin scones; lemon poppy scones; coconut mac choc dip scones; orange cranberry scones; vanilla bean scones .. to name but a few … phew! At this point we would have liked to have launched into a diatribe about what a mess the US is in  and what a mess it makes of the world, but we find the moral high ground at the moment, on this side of the pond, is not as nearly as high as it used to be. The UK cannot exactly stand up as a shining example of anything at the moment .. scones excepted. We have just got a new prime minister who absolutely nobody voted for and she has just announced her cabinet … “what could possible go right?” This morning we hear that Nice, where a large and much loved part of our family live, is in trouble. Unbelievably, that confection called the Hotel Negresco, where we once spent a wonderful night of pampered luxury, has been converted into a makeshift hospital to cater for the numerous casualties of a terrorist atrocity. Can this be laid at the door of the US? We don’t know but the long awaited, detailed and forensic Chilcot Report, has exposed the US, with the able assistance of the UK, as the bully boys of the world, so perhaps it can. When the US describes itself as the ‘land of plenty’, it’s just a pity it’s usually somebody else’s plenty. Many thanks to R&K for the photo, keep up the good work.

NY 14603-0844      Wegmans Food Market

Trakai Island Castle

What are our Trossachs correspondents like?? A couple of weeks ago it was Gibraltar … then Stronachlachar and now, Vilnius, (we are prepared to bet that that is the first time these three places have ever been mentioned in a single sentence). We thought our own scone efforts were pretty good but this is definitely above and beyond. It all depends on the scones of course. Lithuania 05Well, .. in spite of their best endeavours, scouring Vilnius from top to bottom, not a single scone was found … zilch. At one point they excitedly crossed the street because they had seen these in a café window but they turned out to be some sort of crème brûlée thingys … easy mistake to make. Lithuania 04They did however come across signs of support for our own Nicola Sturgeon. Did they give up .. not a bit of it. Undaunted, and taking inspiration from our Aussie correspondents who recently reported from Eilean Donan Castle, they elected to try and find an equivalent .. and they did, about 20km west of Vilnius.  Trakai Island Castle on Lake Galvė, like Eilean Donan, is situated on an island and joined to the mainland by a bridge. It dates from the 14th century and after falling into serious disrepair underwent a major reconstruction program which was only completed in the 1960s. Unfortunately, yet again there were no scones. There were, however, reminders of home.Lithuania 02b The Lithuanians have a haggis equivalent, vedarai, and seem happy to compare it to the genuine article. What of Lithuania itself and its people? We can do no better than quote directly from our correspondents report: “the very clear message here (Lithuania) is that all generations cannot understand how or why the UK voted for Brexit. They also know quite clearly that Scotland voted to Remain. This is a small country of just under 3 million, reveling in it’s independence and EU membership. Is everything perfect.? – NO – many of their young people are working in Scotland and sending money home. However, they are confident about their future, have an education system where children are educated in Lithuanian and English and are generally very positive about being members of the enlarged European family. Lithuania 03We have experienced none of the xenophobic rhetoric of Farage, Gove and Co. We note that Gove has got his just deserts and that the UK will now have a woman as Prime Minister. Lithuania already has one and of course we have Nicola. Let’s hope that the UK does not repeat the last occasion we had a female Prime Minister – a model of whom we saw in a street market in Trakai today“. Once again we are indebted to our Trossachs correspondents in spite of the dearth of scones. It seems that Lithuania has much in common with Scotland – a high degree of national pride and a philosophy that foreigners are welcome and considered an asset. Of course Scotland has a vast array of riches compared with Lithuania, not just scones! Unbelievably though, Scotland, still has all it’s major decisions made by another country with very different interests?? You can almost see the open-mouthed incredulous look on Lithuanian faces … they must think we are mad … or stupid!

Lithuania       tel: +370 528 53946      Trakai Island Castle

BREAKING NEWS: Our correspondents, still in Lithuania, have decided that they are not going to find any Lithuanian scones comparable to our own. Lithuania 12However, they have managed to find a sort of scone equivalent in a café called Kmyninė just east of Vilnius city centre. Lithuania 10They were served by a lovely man and woman who have had the café for just over a year and made them feel very welcome. Once again quoting directly, “it is one of many great initiatives, we have experienced, where hard working young people are making a real fist of it in challenging circumstances. It is hard for us to comprehend how the poisonous narrative of the Brexit campaign managed to persuade the UK electorate that these fine young Europeans are a threat to our society and values. At least they know that they are welcome in Scotland”. Lithuania 11But what about the Lithuanian scones? Lithuania 08“There was no jam,cream or butter but these offerings were delicious. crisp on the outside, soft and tasty inside with a lovely nutty flavour. A bit like Ma Broon’s rock cakes”. So there you have it, another first for … if in Vilnius and crave a scone, your best bet is to head to Kmyninė.

Vilnius        tel: +370 640 49042          Kmyninė Food & Groceries FB


Aragon Bar – Gibraltar

Every now and again, particularly if our flow of scone posts slows down a bit, we get a communiqué from one of our foreign correspondents. In this case the ‘foreign’ may be something of a misnomer since they are better know to all as our ‘Trossachs correspondents’. Needless to say, all our correspondents have a roving brief and here we find them straying far far away from Loch Ard, visiting one of the last vestiges of the Great British Empire … Gibraltar. This is their story. Gibralter 04As most of you probably know, this ape covered Rock on the southernmost tip of Spain is more British than Britain, so after circumventing the Winston Churchill car park, passing by Morrisons, M&S and Costa Coffee, enveloped in the all pervading smell of ‘English’ fish & chips … then … as if to complete the picture, our intrepid travelers came on this startling sign. It pointed them up a steep hill to the Aragon, a ‘typical’ English pub … and we all know that no self respecting English pub would be without it’s scones.  Gibralter 01After their uphill travails they were very much looking forward to some refreshment however the picture of Catherine of Aragon on the menu should have been a warning … unbeknown to them she had already had a scone. If we can quote directly from the report “poor old Catherine’s face says it all!! Losing her first husband and then marrying his wee brother who chucked her for Anne Boleyn she now has, as a testament,Gibralter 800x800 an establishment that sells hot doughy scones with synthetic cream and a carton of rather insipid jam.” … nuff said. The scone disappointment did not deter our reporters from digging into the background of Gibraltar and it’s weird British outpost status. Apparently it is the 3rd richest territory on the planet with a per capita income of €53,000 and an unemployment rate of less than 2%. In contrast, the neighbouring province of Cadiz has a per capita income of less than €7,000 and unemployment of 40%. A third of the Rock’s income comes from tobacco sales and a further 25% from on-line gaming. Gibraltar is also an important financial centre with over 70,000 registered companies. What are the chances of most of them being registered there for reasons of tax avoidance … answers on a post card. We now fully understand why eurosceptic, Liam Fox, was stressing the importance of Britain maintaining sovereignty over Gibraltar in the event of his desired Brexit.

is that Bojo?
is that Bojo?

So there you have it … will the sun ever set on this last bastion of the Empire … and just when you thought Catherine had more than enough problems, she will now, forever, be associated with awful scones as well. Many thanks to our reporters … where next?

GX11 1AA        tel: 35020078855        The Aragon Bar TA

The Duke Restaurante

Now here’s a wee change; no it’s not Portobello, or Bournemouth,  it’s the view from the Duke restaurant in Palmanova, Majorca .. not that we have been there, mind you. Friends of ours were however and they Spain 02decided to keep us up to date with the Spanish scone situation which, according to them is nothing to write home about .. but they thought they would anyway! The scone was okay, the cream was not up to much but just eating a scone in 35 degrees of heat was something of a heroic feat in itself .. they did it for us Spain 01and the enlightenment of our readers .. such sacrifice! Spain 04All peace and tranquility here, lying on the beach quaffing beer, but in the far north of the country the Catalan people have recently been trying to persuade the Madrid governement that they should have some say in running their own affairs (can you think of any similarities closer to home) and have been subjected to exactly the same extremely intense propaganda war that Scotland suffered during the referendum. However, no sooner had Catalan president Artur Mas guided his nationalist coalition to victory at Catalonia’s elections last Sunday night than a court in Madrid announced that Mas would face formal charges relating to civil disobedience and the ‘usurpation’ of Spanish constitutional powers .. so it’s not just the UK government that’s a bit slow on the uptake! Anyway many thanks to C&D for making this post more exotic than usual .. looking forward to the next holiday scone report!

07181 Palmanova       tel: 971108205      The Duke Restaurante TA