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Formartine's, Aberdeenshire

Recently I blogged about Aberdeen finally opening its first ever 100% vegan café. If it took the city itself until 2017 to offer consumers this options, can you imagine what the surrounding countryside must be like - given that cities tend to be better than tiny villages for vegan choices.

Weirdly, it's not that bad. I've blogged before about the Chinese restaurant/take-away Tiger Lily in Oldmeldrum (where I went for my 24th birthday meal) and on my most recent trip home I found another gem: Formartine's, a restaurant and health food store in a seemingly random location (aka, a country road).

Situated on the the junction of the B999 and B9170, and one mile from its nearest town (Tarves), this isn't exactly where you would normally expect to find a food store that specialises in natural and organic food. When my mum first suggested going there to meet a family friend for lunch, I was especially sceptical - but she reassured me that she had been there before and everything would be fine.

Technically there isn't a vegan option on the menu, but my mum (being a lot more brazen than me) asked if there was anything that could be made vegan - turns out they do regularly prepare a Mediterranean platter board for vegans (I wasn't the only vegan there that day, clearly word has spread about this unofficial menu option). Now, I know what experienced vegans must be thinking: a Mediterranean platter with bread, olives and sun-dried tomatoes - isn't this the kind of option we're sick to death of? Well, kind of. But please take my word for it that this is an exceptionally high quality platter with an assortment of doughy breads, rich olive oil for dipping and tasty nuts perfect for sprinkling on top (which left me feeling satisfied and full).

Aside from the restaurant, there is an attached food store that sells plenty of goodies marked as vegan, from both well-known retailers and local producers. The products on the shelves range from tea, to local craft alcohol, to vegan chocolate. There also a pet section and a deli counter.

Just like Bonobo Café I wouldn't say Formartine's is reason enough for all the vegans of Scotland to rush up to the North-East. I would personally much rather support a café that embraces modern-day diets and lifestyles with official menu choices rather than somewhere that forces me to be that awkward vegan. Maybe if Formartine's added the platter to their menu permanently and added another wee option I'd be more inclined to recommend it for a day trip.

For me, the shop was the highlight of my visit and I definitely see myself making a visit when I'm back up the road again to give it a little bit of support (my mum sometimes even pops by for some local brands instead of heading into the city).

Countryside living isn't always the easiest for someone with dietary requirements of any kind, so it's really positive to see Formartine's setting up shop on what is literally a country road with no surrounding businesses or houses. If you live in the Tarves/Oldmeldrum/Methlick area of Aberdeenshire I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Have you been to Formartine's yet? What did you think of it? 

Morag x
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