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Issue 54 - Anot so auld

Whisky Magazine Issue 54
March 2006

 

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Anot so auld

Did our Mystery Visitor really call Speyside a catering desert? Martine Nouet reports on a restaurant

If he'd been told 10 years ago that he would be living in whiskyland where rain and dampness are welcomed as blessings by those who mature the golden nectar there, French chef Eric Obry would have burst into laughter.

That open, loud and cheery laughter that says: “Are you kidding? I am having a fab time here in sunny Port Camargue, by the Mediterranean. Why should I move to... what do you call the place? Dufftown? Never heard of it...” Dufftown may pride itself as being the ‘capital of whisky' on the signposts in Speyside, but it would rather have sounded like cloud cuckooland to a young headchef in a sunny resort luxury hotel.

But then Mandy came into his life. She was a young student from Bournemouth Catering College. She had been sent by her school to Port Camargue for summer work. The two soon made a pair and started thinking about opening a restaurant.

Another good luck sign came to Eric when he won a tidy little sum at horseracing. Enough to give a kick to a new business.Whisky being a regular tipple, Scotland quickly came to their mind.

“In fact, I came to Dufftown thanks to Glenfiddich,” Eric Obry explains. “It was the only single malt I knew. So I looked for its location. Mandy and I were attracted by Scotland for two things: nature and whisky.

So when we arrived in Speyside, it was obvious we would settle there.” In Dufftown. Just opposite the famous clocktower and close to the renowned Whisky Shop. No better place than a town built on seven stil...

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