Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Made in Angus: 100-year-old family fudge recipe and castle pantry inspired Kinnaird Kitchen

Moving into a 600-year-old castle outside Brechin led Scott Bell and Stephanie Friend to start making fudge.

Scott and Stephanie holding bags of Kinnaird Kitchen fudge outside the caste.
Kinnaird Kitchen owners Scott Bell and Stephanie Friend. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

In the original pantry of Kinnaird Castle, Stephanie Friend and Scott Bell make fudge and tablet based on a 100-year-old family recipe.

The couple moved into their castle flat in January 2020, meaning they soon had lots of time to spend exploring the grounds.

Inspired by the picturesque castle and their kitchen, which sits in the 600-year-old castle’s original pantry, they had an idea.

Based on a recipe passed down from his great-great-grandmother, Scott brought up the idea of making fudge a side hustle.

Bags of fudge in front of Kinnaird Castle outside Brechin.
Kinnaird Castle was the inspiration behind Scott and Stephanie’s tablet and fudge venture. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

After mulling it over, Stephanie decided that if they are doing it, they have to do it right. So, she quit her job as a sales manager to fully commit to Kinnaird Kitchen.

“Obviously we had irons in the fire before I left. Since February 2021 we’d been tweaking the recipe, designing and doing market research,” says the 41-year-old.

“Then we decided to go for it around July. That’s when we got our first order, and it was amazing.”

Kinnaird Kitchen fudge flavours

At the front of Kinnaird Castle sits Stephanie and Scott’s flat where they make all their fudge. The castle is owned by the 4th Duke of Fife David Carnegie, and has been in the Carnegie family for over 600 years.

Their historic kitchen is large, which is a necessity since the fudge comes out around five foot wide.

Scott and Stephanie making fudge.
The original castle pantry now houses Scott and Stephanie’s fudge. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

As well as their original fudge, Kinnaird Kitchen makes tablet and flavoured fudge. Each flavour comes from another Scottish producer, like Tayport Distillery or Maison Dieu Coffee Roasters.

So far, the couple have made fudge with Scots pine gin, blackcurrant liqueur, Glen Grant whisky, Bom Jesus coffee and Innis & Gunn beer.

“We’re always on the hunt for new collaborators, be it in the Angus area or wider into Scotland,” says Stephanie.

“But we don’t want to flood the market with loads of flavours, so I like to release them in stages.

“For our next flavour, we are working with The Gin Bothy. I think it’ll have a nice Christmassy feel to it.”

‘Heavens forbid I use the microwave’

In the spirit of their historic home, the fudge is made using traditional methods and natural ingredients. Sugar, milk, butter and condensed milk goes in a heavy base pan to reach the perfect temperature.

After boiling, the fudge is beat to make sure the texture is right and that it will set correctly.

From the making of the fudge to tying ribbons on finished bags, everything is done by hand.

Scott says: “We’ll be tying ribbons while watching TV.”

Stephanie continues: “It takes time to do it properly, authentically and traditionally, so it’s definitely a labour of love.

Bags of Kinnaird Kitchen fudge and tablet.
The tablet is also based on Scott’s 100-year-old family recipe. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

“But I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. Heavens forbid I use the microwave.

“When people say ‘I make fudge in the microwave’, I’m like, that’s sacrilege.”

The couple’s hard work was rewarded greatly when this year’s Great Taste Awards were announced – their original tablet picked up two stars.

The tablet is also based on the 100-year-old fudge recipe, but adjusted slightly and cooked for longer at a higher temperature.

Using the feedback from the Great Taste judges, Stephanie and Scott plan to improve their treats in the hopes of picking up more stars next year.

“We’ll try to get more flavours in and hopefully get more awards,” says Scott.

“On the development front, we’ve got a new marble slab coming to do traditional cooling.”

Kinnaird Kitchen ‘certainly’ has story

After two years in business, Kinnaird Kitchen is growing quickly. As 37-year-old Scott works full-time at SSE, Stephanie has one staff member helping her with production.

On weekends, the couple attend markets together. This is a chance to chat to customers and get inspiration for new ideas.

In addition to markets, their fudge and tablet is sold in delis, farm shops and tourist attractions across Scotland. Kinnaird Kitchen also supplies a royal castle and luxury five-star hotel.

Stephanie says: “We’ve kept things mainly to the North East of Scotland, because I think people tend to recognise you a bit more closer to home.

A table full of tablet.
Kinnaird Kitchen uses local products to flavour its fudge. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

“Because of Kinnaird Caste, we seem to do well in Aberdeenshire as the Duke of Fife’s family were big landowners in the Ballater and Braemar area.

“It’s a nice connection to that area, and people like a product with a little bit of a story. It certainly has that.”

Closer to home, the Duchess of Fife picks up the couple’s fudge to put in holiday lettings on the estate. This is one step on the way to Kinnaird Kitchen taking up more space in the castle.

Care and affection top priority

The castle kitchen is big, but as the business grows bigger Stephanie and Scott need more room.

As they’ve based their brand around the castle, they want to stick around. Within the next year, they hope to turn a building in the courtyard into an industrial kitchen.

“As all small businesses do, it starts encroaching on other rooms in your house,” says Stephanie.

Stephanie making fudge.
Stephanie is starting to run out of room in the kitchen. Image: Kim Cessford/DC Thomson

“We’ve asked for a building within the castle and have one earmarked, so that’ll give us room to expand.”

With more room, they hope to look into exporting to North America and supply more Scottish hotels. But supermarkets will never be on their list of goals.

Keeping Kinnaird Kitchen’s fudge and tablet handmade, no matter how big it grows, is Stephanie and Scott’s priority.

“I want to make my life easier producing it, but I don’t want to lose the feel that it’s still made by hand,” says Stephanie.

“I don’t want to be mass produced, because then you can almost taste in the product that it’s not made with care and affection.

“I want to keep that, because that’s the whole reason why we did it.”