People don’t often associate good food with any of the countries that make up the United Kingdom. But on a recent trip to Scotland, we discovered that those are old preconceptions that need to end. We had some toothsome meals, all over Scotland and would encourage anyone to indulge in Scottish food when they are visiting. Here are six foods we believe everyone should try while in Scotland.
You would be hard pressed to come up with a food that is identified as Scottish more than haggis. Made with what is called sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs), together with onions, oatmeal, fat and spices, haggis is still sometimes made by encasing it in the animal’s stomach but more often it is made with an artificial casing. As unappetizing as it may sound to some it is similar to white pudding in taste and is delectable. It is often served with neeps and tatties (mashed yellow turnips and potatoes) or with clapshot (mashed potato, turnip and carrot), we were quite surprised at how much we actually enjoyed it.
One taste of tablet and I was transported back to my childhood in Quebec. Quebec’s sucre à la crème (equal parts brown sugar and heavy cream) is a type of fudge and is similar in taste. The Scottish tablet lists condensed milk as one of the main ingredients in recipes. If you’re a fudge fan, you will love this dense, buttery confection that is widely available all over Scotland.
TUNNOCK’S MILK CHOCOLATE TEA CAKES
Better known as Whippets in Quebec and Mallomars in New York, these are the original, more sophisticated marshmallow and biscuit confections covered in milk chocolate. Individually wrapped in silver foil, they come in a box of six and make a nice gift for cookie lovers back home.
FISH & CHIPS
Nothing beats fresh haddock in a crispy home made batter and what better place to enjoy it than a country that is almost completely surrounded by the sea? Scotland knows fish and chips and serves it up at chippies and restaurants all over. Make sure to ask for fresh fish and avoid the frozen version.
Clearly not a food, whisky, a distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash, is an important beverage in Scotland’s history and economy. There are distilleries all over the country, each making whisky with its own distinct taste, colour and characteristics. You can explore them on your own or by taking an organized whisky tour ranging from a few days to over a week.
Glasgow is the curry capital of Britain, so it’s no wonder you can get an authentic curry pretty much everywhere you turn. For an awesome experience, try Mister Singh’s India on Elderslie Street, this Scottish-Indian family knows the meaning of hospitality and great food. If you want a memorable culinary adventure sign up for their Pakora Master Class and dinner. Learn how to make tasty vegetable, chicken and even haggis pakora and then sit down to a wonderful Indian dinner.
These are only a handful of things we think you should try when you vacation in Scotland. There are plenty more, including oat cakes, Scotch pie and stovies but as we always say, no matter where you are, ask about and taste the local food specialties. You won’t like them all but you will certainly find some that you’ll love and want to incorporate in your own cooking.
Have you tried Scottish food? What was your favourite?
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