The Buttery and the Crowdie

spinach-filled buttery, crowdie

The “buttery” (or at least part of it) containing “Crowdie” served at the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.                                     Photo by Laura Groch



Jack in the Box’s recent ads for their new “buttery” burger reminded me that I haven’t written anything about our Scottish adventure, and the tale of “The Buttery and the Crowdie.”

We took a wonderful trip to Scotland last September: Edinburgh, Inverness and Orkney, the last of which is very far north and off the mainland (Orkney encompasses several islands full of WWII history and ancient monoliths). The scenery and history were magnificent; the people were so friendly; and the food, contrary to what many have written, was different, enticing and delicious. (Yes, even the haggis.)

My husband’s Scottish co-worker recommended trying a “buttery” if we should encounter one while in Scotland. In Edinburgh, at the Scottish National Gallery, we did indeed find butteries listed on the menu at the gallery’s Scottish Cafe and Restaurant, and decided to order one.

They seemed to be similar to quiches, but without the eggs. We chose one that contained blue cheese, spinach, walnuts and “Crowdie,” which we’d never heard of. The international “smartphone” we had taken along was acting more like a “dumbphone,” so we couldn’t readily look up what “Crowdie” was.

We asked our waitress, a young emigree whose English was a bit spotty, what crowdie was. She didn’t know, either. All right, no matter. Part of travel is trying new things, so “we’ll have the Crowdie,” we told her.

Evidently we were a little too specific, though. After a long wait, she produced a small plate with a knob of pepper-coated white cheese, artfully drizzled with raspberry sauce. Oh, no! We didn’t want JUST the Crowdie — which turned out to be a creamy, cow’s-milk soft cheese — but the buttery containing Crowdie.

This threw the waitress completely. “I have to think about this,” she said, and disappeared. Hmm. When she reappeared several minutes later, still flustered, we told her we were happy to keep the Crowdie to eat as a starter course, and we still wanted the buttery. She was relieved. So were we.

The buttery finally appeared: a puff-type pastry, about 6 inches in diameter, filled with Crowdie (cheese) and spinach. Very tasty. Quite a long way to get there, though. ;<)

Online I found it described as “a saltier, flatter and greasier croissant.”

Ours was definitely not flat, nor was it greasy — just buttery.

Here’s a link to a friendly website that explains all about butteries and has a recipe for those of you who wish to try your hand: It’s also got lots of other Scottish recipe links. (None for Crowdie, though.) Enjoy!

(c) Copyright 2015 by Laura Groch


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