Celebrating a unique spokesman …
This July, Scottish cyclist and adventurer, Mark Beaumont, takes on a unique challenge – to cycle 18,000 miles around the world in less than 80 days. Inspired by the 1873 classic novel ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ by Jules Verne, Mark is attempting to smash the existing Guinness World Record by … wait for it … 43 days.
Mark’s challenge got us thinking. Just what will he be eating on his travels? Incredibly, his 80 days of pedaling take him through just 14 countries including France, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Mongolia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, Portugal and Spain. We recognised almost all as food you can enjoy in Kirkcaldy – so we’ve created our own ‘around the world’ … not pedaling, but munching and enjoying some tempting treats as we track Mark’s progress and cheer him on his way …
Mark begins his challenge in Paris on Sunday 2nd July …
France? Baguette anyone? Check out Baguette Express on Whytescauseway.
Germany next: we all know that’s the original home of the hot dog – the word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt. Around 1870, German immigrant Charles Feltman is credited with first selling sausages in rolls on Coney Island in the States and so the hot dog was born. In Kirkcaldy, visit the Get Stuffed Cafe (243 High Street) who serve a mean dog. Did you know that Germany is also the home of the Muffin? BBs Coffee & Muffins (you’ll find them in the Mercat Centre) has a great selection.
Mark bypasses Belgium & Holland – but for Belgian and Dutch dining we’d recommend Babas Bistro and Robertson’s Coffee Shop. Babas Bistro – at 63 on the High Street – serve wonderful waffles. The waffle was introduced to the world by Maurice Vermersch of Brussels. Mo found that many of his customers didn’t know where Brussels was – so his Brussels Waffles became the Bel-Gem Waffle – spelled phonetically to aid his customers who didn’t know Belgium. Between the High Street and the Waterfront – on Tolbooth Street – is Robertson’s. Again, another discovery: they serve sensational home made scones – but who knew the ‘skone’ comes from Holland? Yes, we know some say it dates from the Stone of Destiny in Scone … but earlier records say that ‘skone’ comes from the Dutch word ‘schoonbrot’ … for beautiful bread.
Moving east, Mark pedals into Poland and then onto Russia. Kirkcaldy is home to many from Poland, the Baltic states and countries across Eastern Europe who have made the town their home. For Polish food & drinks, visit Baltic, Jezyk The Hedgehog, TK Deli and Touch of Poland. Baltic also sells all kinds of goodies from Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Russia.
South of Mark’s route, we take a detour – into Turkey and then the Lebanon. Kebabs are a classic favourite. They originated in Turkey when soldiers used to grill chunks of freshly hunted animals skewered onto their swords on open fires. The name dates back centuries – first published in 1377. There are quite a few outlets selling kebabs in town. We’re highlighting a trio – on the High Street: Comfort Food, Tony’s Kebab Shop and Efes Kebabs. For Lebanese food, try Fatma Restaurant & Grill House.
Mark’s powering through Russia – into Mongolia – and then China. For Chinese food, Kirkcaldy’s spoiled for choice: there’s Maxin Cantonese & Peking and the Asian Triangle overlooking the waterfront. For takeaways, try Sunlight and Number 1. South of the challenge route, there’s what many consider to be the Brits favourite cuisine: Indian. Again, we’ve a great selection – from the Amritsar Tandoori to the The Prince and Spice of Life. Influenced by the Himalayas that divide India and China, there’s Annapurna Gurkhas for Nepalese flavours. Asian Triangle is unique in town as it serves dishes not only from China but also Indian and Thai … and Thailand takes us onto Mark’s second stage …
Mark flies due south from China into Australia – heading over a chunk of South East Asia – without gaining any advantage on his west-to-east journey.
As he glances out from 30,000 feet, he may just spy Japan from the left hand side of the plane – the home of sushi. Back in Kirkcaldy, we visit Koku Sushi – celebrating their first year in the town. Over the right wing, Singapore disappears. The home of the Singapore Sling: why not take time out at the Tipsy Cow to sample some of their mixes … including the Raffles classic?
Oz is known for its BBQs and alfresco dining – and several places serve barbecued food through the summer. We’d like to flag a few businesses where you can get all you need for outdoor dining in the summer days ahead. Check out Trespass, B&M, Poundstretcher, Poundland & TK Maxx.
From Australia, Mark heads to New Zealand – from the south to the north island. For a taste of the Antipodean, we head to Café Continental – on Hill Place. They serve a perfect pavlova. The Pavlova dessert – named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova – was created in honour of the Russian dancer during her tour of New Zealand in the 1920s.
Mark heads back north – flying all the way to Anchorage in Alaska. His next few days will take him right across North America – in and out of Canada and the USA – all the way to Halifax on the Atlantic coast …
Few things can be more American than deep fried chicken – right? Well, kind of. Quick history lesson: Scots who emigrated to the Americas in the 18th century took with them their frying techniques. In the American South, they met with African slaves who introduced seasoning techniques. It was a culinary combo that blended different cultures from different parts of the world to create an American standard. If you have a taste for the deep south, check out Tony’s Fried Chicken on Whytescauseway.
And if the Scots influenced deep fried chicken – surely they can lay claim to Mac & Cheese? Not so. The story is the flip. US President, Thomas Jefferson, visited Italy. On returning home, he is credited with inventing ‘Mac & Cheese’ – again combining two nationalities ingredients. Scots who came back from the States in the to and fro are then acknowledged with introducing the Italian-American dish to these shores. Of course, we put it in a pie! If you love Mac & Cheese, La Speranza – the oldest cafe on Kirkcaldy’s High Street – makes it like Mamma. Over a half a century of experience!
Think of Canada and you might imagine the French-influence on their nation’s kitchen. Cajuns are the French colonists who settled the Canadian maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the 1600s. If you crave a taste of Canada spice, check out the Duchess of Kirkcaldy on Nichol Street to try their cajun chicken. There’s one ‘stand out’ ingredient enjoyed the world over that hails from Canada … Maple Syrup. It goes with so many things – pancakes, waffles, ice cream. There’s a place on the High Street that serves all of these – and more. Cupcake Coffee Box together with Gelato Box have won a reputation for delicious, freshly cooked pancakes and waffles. Close by is The Pancake Place – doing exactly what it says on the tin! You can choose to add a taste of Canada.
Although Mark is traveling across the north of the continent, we couldn’t move from the Americas without looking further south. Mexican cuisine is a huge favourite and you’ll find many an eatery in town serving chilli, tortilla, avocado and salsa. But their biggest food & drink export is Tequila. We have it on good authority that the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture reports 196 million litres of the stuff were exported to 98 countries last year. Distilled from spiky, blue agave plants, it has a unique taste. If you’re tempted to try a tipple of Tequila – try The Wynd.
We’re sticking with the drink – and heading around 3,000 miles off Mexico’s Caribbean coast to the island of Barbados. The wee island – with a population smaller than Fife’s – is believed to be the home of Rum. The first distillation of rum took place on sugarcane plantations in the 17th century. Plantation slaves discovered that molasses – a byproduct of the sugar refining process – could be fermented into alcohol. BOOM! Rum was born. If you love Rum, visit Society on Charlotte Street.
Mark’s on his last leg – the home run – from Portugal and through Spain before he’s back into France and pedaling to that record-breaking finish line …
Think of coffee and you might imagine countries where beans are grown and harvested. You might think of Italy – home of so many styles of coffee: from Latte and Cappuccino to Macchiato and the Espresso. You probably won’t think of Portugal or Spain. And yet both countries is where you’ll find the Cortado – a drink that is half espresso and half warm milk. If you’re on the High Street, call into Kendos Coffee where you’ll discover this little known Iberian delicacy.
Mark’s crossing the Pyrenees. His sights will be set on Paris. We take a detour – looking east and across another mountain range to Austria … and pastries. The type of pastry called viennoiserie in French was introduced into the country in the early 1800s when two Austrians – an army officer and an aristocrat, August Zang and Ernest Schwarzer, founded a Viennese bakery in Paris at 92 rue Richelieu. If you love pastries, visit The Cake Corner on the High Street where they pride themselves on making everything from scratch.
Bordering Austria? Italy – pasta, pizzas and many more classic dishes to make your mouth water. Kirkcaldy has more than a handful of eateries selling Italian food & drinks: for take away and delivery, check out Domino’s Pizza, Bar B Q King and Elevenses. For an eat-in experience (they also deliver), visit Pane e Vino. This restaurant provides modern and traditional Italian dishes – and families are very welcome.
We now start our journey home, but before we arrive back in Scotland – it would be rude not to make two final – and very different – refreshment stops. We’ll visit England: more precisely – Belvoir Castle near Leicester. It was here in 1840 that a Duchess, Anna Russell, got a bit peckish around 4pm. She asked for some tea, bread & butter to be served – and so the Afternoon Tea was born. In Kirkcaldy, Betty Nichols on the High Street serve afternoon teas 7 days a week. Eighty years before Anna was inventing a tea time revolution, the first barrels of a new drink were making waves in Ireland. Yes, Guinness began to flow – and we’ve been enjoying the black stuff ever since. When you’re in town, pop into O’Connells Bar & Diner and The Penny Farthing to make your eyes smile.
And home. We’ve not been able to include everyone: there are cracking cafes, brilliant bakers, takeaway outlets, fab fish & chip bars and pubs aplenty – serving scrumptious scran from breakfast through until the wee small hours. Much is Scottish. Much uses local produce and ingredients – and we salute them all. We share content from all through our social media channels, so keep an eye on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages where we’ll continue to promote the town’s food & drink offering.
Do you cycle?
We’ll be watching and hoping that Mark’s monumental attempt to smash the world record can be celebrated – be it with Guinness or any other drink of choice! If you ride a bike, perhaps Mark’s challenge will encourage you to take up a challenge of your own. If you don’t ride, maybe he’ll inspire you to start. We are proud to work with and support Greener Kirkcaldy, the community charity that works on a local scale to benefit people and our environment. They run regular bike health checks – a free 15 minute bike health check including air, tyres, brakes and any basic repairs or replacements. Their Dr Bike, David Seaman, is also on hand to answer questions and give you useful advice and tips on how to care for your bike. No need to book. All you have to do is remember to take your bike along. Sessions will last around 15 minutes each and will be on a first come first served basis. For more, follow this link.
As a final note, with all the businesses we have listed and linked, please contact them before visiting to check availability and any terms re their booking/order requirements.
Thanks for reading.
For more on Mark’s challenge, visit Artemis World Cycle. This includes links to information for use by schools to engage children in the project. Mark’s adventure is also raising funds for Orkidstudio, which works to benefit communities worldwide through innovative architecture and construction.
This is a short video showing Mark’s ride this Spring that took his passed Kirkcaldy as part of his round-Britain ‘training ride’!