I had managed to arrange a visit before Christmas to our wonderful shortbread lady Chrystal. Unfortunately the day before our visit a massive dump of snow landed over the exact area of Scotland we needed to be. The Fiat 500 I had booked from Glasgow airport suddenly seemed woefully inadequate, but the lovely lady at Europcar came to the rescue. She clearly felt sorry for two stupid southerners who despite the weather warnings had turned up at her desk wearing inappropriate clothing. So to our amazement she upgraded us to a four wheel drive Jaguar with heated seats and a heated steering wheel for a nominal amount. I was in heaven as we set off, particularly when I discovered my seat was also able to give me a massage!
We finally arrived to see Chrystal and Rory who make our fabulous shortbread. They are the most delightful couple and it was so lovely to see they had survived another Dukeshill Christmas, working from 3am until 6pm in the weeks before. I am forever indebted not only to wonderful suppliers like Chrystal and Rory, but also to all our Dukeshill staff whose gargantuan workload in the months before Christmas makes everything possible. Chrystal with her team of three helpers, including her brother makes all her shortbread by hand in small batches. It’s her Mother’s original recipe which has remained unchanged. Why would you when it’s the best we have ever tasted! The smell as we walked into the kitchen was divine. It’s probably the nicest working environment anywhere in the food industry, although at 3am in the morning, before the ovens have warmed everything up Chrystal might disagree!
Chrystal’s brother Mark Wylie also runs the most hilarious “Drakes of Hazard” sheepdog and duck display team when he’s not making shortbread. He appears at shows all over the UK so do look out for him. You can see him in action on Youtube using children as the obstacles on an obstacle course, which had me in stitches.