Is it ever too cold for ice cream? Apply this mantra in Scotland, and you might never get a taste of the sweet stuff. On our January visit to Dumfries and Galloway as guests of Visit Scotland, we’re lucky enough to get a sneaky off-season tour of the Cream O’Galloway farm and visitor centre. It’s about ten minutes from Castle Douglas, and is a firm favourite with families. It soon became a favourite of ours too!
The farm sits in the heart of Galloway countryside, and the barn is the first stop of our visit. We watch as the dairy cows live the life of Riley, lolling about on sawdust and lunching on silage. The Finlays call their approach a ‘farming revolution’, meaning that chemical use is slashed by 90%, the beasts live older and happier lives and there’s a higher rate of food production on the estate.
The milk from these animals is used to produce Finlay’s Farmhouse Cheese and the Cream O’Galloway ice cream. We sample three varieties of cheese, including a new creation which is a semi-soft offering, similar to a creamier and crumblier Tomme de Savoie. Alongside this, Wilma Finlay gives us some Braes O’Gowrie sparkling drinks — elderflower and elderberry — which really sets off the flavours of the cheese.
Our next stop is the freezer. This is what I’ve been waiting for! Helen — the marketing manager — explains that their sweet stuff is made without any additives, and is far creamier than mass-produced varieties. We’re given a selection of tasters: vanilla, raspberry, sticky toffee pudding, raspberry cranachan and whisky. Although Helen tells us the sticky toffee pudding is one of their bestsellers, the florally sweetness of the whisky, oatmeal and honey ice cream is by far the stand-out flavour.
As the January winds rush around the outhouses and open spaces of the farm, we pile back onto the bus with very happy tummies. Roll on summertime, holidays and road trips down the motorway for more ice cream.
The Cream O’Galloway visitor centre & shop is open from March until November. Visit their website for more details and directions.