I love a hidden gem and the Inshriach Nursery and The Potting Shed is one such jewel. The Potting Shed made it onto Dan Lepard’s list of Britain’s Best Cake Shops, published in The Observer, and it turns out that Dan is a master baker, so he obviously knows a good sponge when he sees one. As a lover of a fine tearoom and not being adverse to a mouth-watering confection of cakes, it was something I had to check out.
Finding cake heaven proved a bit tricky, as there isn’t an address as such and is listed as “Aviemore” but in reality it is some 10 minutes or so outside the town. The drive is scenic but after a while you are tempted to think you are on a wild cake chase, but persevere, it’s a place you will return to again and again, which was quite apparent by the number of visitors. And if there is an award for “best-view-from-a-tearoom” surely this must be a contender? Where else can you sit with a huge slab of cake and watch over a Scottish Highland forest? This giant open air aviary with its array of constantly darting and swooping chaffinches, blue tits, great tits, and siskins who fed on giant swinging bird feeders was an ornithologist’s dream. But it’s not just for bird-watchers, the effect was mesmerising and relaxing. A quick cuppa can easily turn into two hours. Red squirrels are rare in certain parts of Scotland, but you can see them in some areas around the Highlands and some appeared and gnawed eagerly on the nut feeders. Undoubtedly, this is an amazing view for a sweet treat, but what of the actual cakes? Yes, they lived up to the hype. Thick and generous, light and fluffy, sweet and tasty. There’s also a large and unusual selection, with everything from lemon custard and raspberry, plum and apple to strawberry and redcurrant to chocolate cake with blueberry. On the menu also is an extensive list of wheat free cakes.
Apart from The Potting Shed tearoom, the Inshriach Nursery is a delight to potter around. Wander about the beautiful gardens, admire the quaint features, sit on a bench and watch the chickens as they strut and coo.