Mary’s Milk Bar may very well be the best gelato place in Edinburgh. There, I said it! Some might say that this is a bold statement, but I stand firmly behind it. There’s no turning back now!
When you go to Mary’s Milk Bar, you’ll find classic flavours like salted caramel, dark chocolate, and raspberry ripple. These flavours are lovely, elegant, timeless. But at the Milk Bar you’ll also find flavours that will punch you in the face because they’re so unique (loving that imagery by the way). Fried bananas in butter. White chocolate and thyme. Drunk prunes in amaretto. Fig and hazelnut. Intrigued yet?
The defining characteristic of Mary’s Milk Bar is that Mary is experimental. She’s willing to test the playing field, she doesn’t limit herself to conventional flavours, and above all, she knows how to make flavour combinations that work. Exhibit A: olive oil, toasted pine nut and chocolate chip gelato. Exhibit B: blue cheese and walnut butter. The girl does what she wants. And we, the ever-hungry fan base, totally benefit from this. No matter the flavour, the gelato is always smooth, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
For me, walking into the Milk Bar is like playing darts blindfolded. Since they change so regularly, I just don’t know what exotic flavours will be gracing the gelato counter. The range of flavours is actually so wide and varied that I haven’t even come close to trying all her flavours yet! However, for those which I have tried, I can safely say that each one tastes like the rich ingredients in the name. #winning
While the Milk Bar offers milkshakes, affogato, banana splits, hot chocolates, and coffee, the star is very clearly the gelato. I tend to have a not-so-secret love affair with Mary’s special seasonal flavours. October is a time for pumpkin pie gelato (my favourite!). December is a time for brandy, chestnut & chocolate chip gelato, stollen gelato or mince pie gelato. Spring is a time for hot cross bun spice gelato. As a side note, I was devastated – absolutely heartbroken – when I trekked to the Milk Bar for the hot cross bun spice gelato only to find that it had sold out. That flavour won’t evade me next Easter, I’ll make sure of it. *Update: I have since had the hot cross bun gelato multiple times and it’s fantastic!
Apart from gelato, the Milk Bar stocks a selection of Mary’s other handmade treats. Caramel sauce, chocolate-dipped candied oranges, and chocolate bars line the shelves of the quaint Milk Bar. Mary’s creativity extends to the chocolate bars with flavours like cinnamon milk chocolate with spicy Sriracha almonds or milk chocolate with sourdough bread. The chocolate bars tend to be made in small batches, so if you see a flavour you like, don’t think twice. Just take that chocolate and never look back.
As if this weren’t enough, Mary’s Milk Bar also concocts seasonal desserts that shed a new light on gelato. Some examples include…
- Valentine’s Bombs: Rose chocolate chip gelato encased in a white and dark chocolate shell.
- Hot cross bun sandwiches: Hot cross buns filled with a gelato of your choice.
- Easter eggs: Dark or milk chocolate eggs filled with salted caramel, mini eggs, and hazelnut praline acorns (all made by hand), and milk chocolate eggs flavoured with Sorrento orange, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Autumn: Toasted pumpkin bread, smeared with walnut butter, topped with gelato, and drizzled with pickled brambles.
- Christmas Pudding Bombs: chocolate Christmas pudding gelato flavoured with sherry, brandy, spices, wine, rum, treacle and fruit encased in a dark chocolate shell.
And there you have it. All the reasons why Mary’s Milk Bar is the best gelato establishment in town. Expect massive line ups over the summer, especially during festival season when visitors flood the Grassmarket for a taste of Mary’s innovative gelato. Luckily for us locals, we can get our Milk Bar fix the other 10 months of the year. And we definitely do.
- During the summer festival season (July-August), there are HUGE line ups so go early.
- Get more than one scoop.
- Try all the seasonal flavours!