When we talk about food in Scotland the first thing that most people will think of is haggis and of course whisky. However, Scotland has so many more flavours and tastes to try with dishes as diverse as it’s landscape.
Let’s take a culinary journey through this beautiful land and discover 5 tantalising treats along the way.
The first thing that many people think of when mention is made of Scottish food is haggis. Haggis is traditionally served with neeps and tatties. Neeps are made from swede, a hard orange winter vegetable that is slightly sweet. Tatties are potatoes and are usually served mashed when served alongside haggis. This combination can be a little dry so often there is a creamy whisky sauce served as well.
It is probably best not to think about what haggis is actually made from when eating it. The inner organs of a sheep are minced and it is cooked inside a sheep’s stomach. A blend of spices and oatmeal give haggis a peppery taste and a slightly nutty texture. It really is delicious.
However, there are also plenty of other ways to eat haggis. Haggis balls are a popular small dish served as a starter, and some Spanish themed restaurants have also served haggis tapas. Haggis can be served deep fried with chips from the fish and chip shop too, for a Scottish twist on this traditional take away.
A more recent innovation is haggis pizza with haggis as the pizza topping. This is now available from supermarkets as well as pizza restaurants.
For really adventurous diners there is also haggis ice cream – perhaps the perfect desert to a haggis themed meal?
Chowders are well known as a type of creamy soup – perhaps you have heard of or tried Clam Chowder? Scotland has it’s own chowder, created on the coast of North East Scotland.
It’s made with smoked fish, giving it a delicious taste which combines wonderfully with potatoes, cream and a few vegetables into a hearty and filling soup.
The unusual name comes from the village that created it – Cullen. It can be found widely across Scotland. It’s the perfect soup for a lunchtime meal or after a day exploring, especially when served with a big portion of wonderful fresh bread.
Red, Black, White and Fruit Puddings
Black pudding can be tricky to describe. It’s like a very thick sausage, around 1.5 inches thick. The pudding is cooked in a casing and it is served sliced. Black pudding is similar to haggis, in that it is delicious, although you may want to focus on the taste rather than the ingredients. Made from blood and oatmeal, with spices, flavourings and fats black pudding is a common sight on breakfast plates as well as being served on it’s own in breakfast roll.
Whilst many people have heard of black pudding they may not be familiar with other members of the Scottish pudding family!
Red pudding is a mix of beef, bacon, pork alongwith spices, fats and colourings. You can often find it as one of the choices at the fish and chip shop with locals ordering a red pudding supper, which means a red pudding with chips.
White pudding is actually very similar to black pudding. However, it doesn’t include blood hence the different colour, although it may contain liver instead.
Fruit pudding contains the oatmeal, suet and fats of the other puddings, alongwith cinnamon, spices and fruit such as currants or raisins.
Why not try all four puddings when you visit Scotland?
Deep Fried Delights
The Scottish are known for their love of something deep fried and this extends to sweet and savoury flavours too.
Many will be familiar with pizza already but have you tried deep fried pizza? It’s a common option in fish and chip shops across Scotland. A pizza, generally frozen, is cooked in the fat the same way chips are allowing the pizza dough to soak up lots of that deep fried goodness!
For the more ambitious diner there is often something described as ‘pizza crunch’. This is where the pizza is battered, as the fish would normally be, and then the whole thing is deep fried.
For those that prefer a sweet taste to their deep fried delights there are several options.
Chocolate is often deep fried, with chocolate bars such as Snickers being battered and deep fried resulting in a hot and gooey dish at the end.
When Cadbury Crème Eggs make their annual appearance on the shelves of shops they also make their way into the fryers of fish and chip shops too. They are coated in batter first, then deep fried, resulting in a crispy outer, a melting chocolate inner with that lovely warm fondant filling in the centre.
However, it’s not just chocolate that gets deep fried. Ice cream is also a popular fried treat.
Ice cream makes a delicious combination when battered and fried quickly – the hot and crispy texture of the batter complimenting the cold, smooth interior of ice cream perfectly.
Mention IrnBru in Scotland and you will be greeted with warm smiles as people remember growing up with this beloved fizzy drink.
Interestingly, Scotland is one of the few places in the world where the most popular fizzy drink is not cola. IrnBru is beloved by everyone, young or old. It also serves as a mixer for alcoholic drinks such as vodka.
The ingredients of IrnBru are somewhat mysterious. It claims to be made from ‘girders’ – that proud product of the Scottish steel industry. It is those same girders that give IrnBru it’s bright orange colour apparently.
The taste is very difficult to describe because it doesn’t taste like anything else. It tastes like IrnBru.
There are also IrnBru flavoured sweets and ice cream for those that want to try different versions of the flavour.
Scotland has plenty more tastes and flavours to explore with wonderful fresh produce and local dishes from top to bottom and coast to coast of this varied country, alongwith these popular top 5 tastes and treats.
Melanie has spent over 25 years taking group tours all over the world. She now helps travellers to see more of the world for less, by sharing money saving guides and resources. She also works with hotels and holiday companies as a coach holiday consultant to help them improve their customer experience.