It was reported recently that two cities – London and Aberdeen – have seen house prices more than double in the past decade. The latter's rise has been driven by the North Sea oil industry and has changed the fortunes of Scotland's third city. But for the visitor to Aberdeen, there are more tangible benefits, not least the increasing number of gourmet treats on offer in the area.
Between 1 and 3 November, the city stakes its culinary claim by kicking off the Aberdeen Winter Festival (winterfestivalaberdeen.com) with an International Street Market on Union Terrace (bit.ly/AbIntFood) with 70 stalls featuring produce from around the UK and Europe.
At the Nick Nairn Cook School, 15 Back Wynd (01877 389900; nicknairncookschool.com), charismatic celebrity chef Nick Nairn combines gourmet anecdotes with clear instructions and a healthy dose of kitchen chemistry for his regular one-day New Scottish Cookery classes. The £249 price includes six hours of demonstrations and hands-on cooking, morning coffee, lunch, drinks and a recipe pack.
Further afield in Aberdeenshire, get acquainted with Aberdeen Angus beef as part of the butchery masterclass at The Store farm shop and restaurant, Newburgh, Ellon (01358 788083; thestorecompany.co.uk); the half-day course costs £50 and includes breakfast, a tour of the Booth family farm, butchery demonstration and lunch.
The restaurant at the Scottish Baronial-style Meldrum House Hotel, Oldmeldrum (01651 872294; meldrumhouse.com), makes an idyllic setting to sample local produce such as herb-crumbed loin of Aberdeenshire lamb with sweet potato purée and Scottish black crowdie cream cheese.
Work up an appetite with a stroll around the trout lake in the beautiful wooded Haddo Estate, then stop off for lunch at stylish Formartine's Food Hall in the village of Tarves (01651 851 123, formartines.com).
Find out what goes on behind the kitchen doors of one of Scotland's top restaurants with the Chef for a Day package at Eat on the Green in Udney Green (01651 842337; eatonthegreen.co.uk); the price of £200 includes a tour of the restaurant, one-to-one tuition with Craig Wilson, assisting the kitchen team with prep and dinner service, followed by a four-course dinner.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, whisky lovers can take part in the Connoisseurs' Experience at Glendronach, Forgue By Huntly (01466 730 202; glendronachdistillery.com); the price of £25pp, for a minimum of four people, includes a guided tour of the distillery, followed by a tasting of some rare whiskies.