Top Ten Foods to Try When in Scotland
You’ll never be stuck for hearty food in Scotland. Thanks to our unique climate and terrain, Scotland is home to some of the finest produce available to eat anywhere in the world. From the rugged mountains, lakes, sea lochs and fertile moorlands our home-reared meat, fish and dairy products are not only intrinsically linked to the landscapes, but also to Scotland’s heritage and folklore.
Sure, Irn-Bru and deep-fried Mars bars also have a place in Scotland’s food scene but for some real culinary clout you’ll want to add these to your must-try list.
Surely no trip to Scotland is complete without sampling the much-celebrated national dish? Firmly put on the map by Robert Burns in his poem, Address to A Haggis, the traditional combination of minced sheep heart, liver and lung meat bulked out with oatmeal, onions, suet, seasoning and spices might not sound like a dish for the faint-hearted. Keep an open mind though as Haggis is popular for good reason. Served with neeps and tatties (swede and potatoes) and a creamy whisky sauce there are few dishes that deliver more comfort.
Haggis is shrouded in myth – so much so that many believe that the haggis is an actual animal. The truth is that there’s no such thing.
Scottish seafood is amongst the best in the world, renowned by acclaimed chefs globally, but best appreciated in Scotland. Scottish salmon swims from the North Atlantic into Scotland’s rivers and thrives in water that is as fresh as can be. Recognisable by its eye-catching rosy colour and firm, smooth texture it needs no elaborate cooking – serve simply.
A creamy and delicious Scottish soup, Cullen Skink combines smoked salmon, onions and potatoes. It’s a veritable warm hug in a bowl.
Clootie gets its name from the cloth it is boiled in – cloot being Scottish for cloth – and this is giant steamed spiced pudding follows a traditional recipe that’s been unchanged in almost 300 years. Best served warm with custard, the fruit-spice laden suet pudding is a firm favourite at Hogmanay or a Burn’s night supper.
Described as the king of Scottish desserts, cranachan is a magical mixture of cream, tart raspberries, oats and a wee splash of whisky – and topped with honey. It’s often served in a tall glass and presented in a similar way to an Eton Mess – with the meringue substituted for oats.
Once a treat reserved only for special occasions, this buttery beauty is now a Scottish staple and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. Shortbread has been attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots, but it’s thought that the origins of the humble biscuit may go back beyond the 12th century. The custom of eating shortbread at Hogmanay, as a gift presented at ‘first footing’ still continues today.
Porridge oats are one of the Scots best-loved ingredients finding their way into many of the nation’s favourites dishes. Eat porridge for breakfast for a healthy start to the day and you’ll have enough energy to climb a few mountains or skirt a loch before lunchtime!
Full Scottish Breakfast
If porridge isn’t your thing, a full Scottish breakfast will give you a hearty, if not such a heart-healthy, start to your day. Much like a full English breakfast, a full Scottish comprises eggs, bacon, lorne sausage, black pudding, a fried tomato and tattie scones – and will leave you feeling gloriously satisfied. If you’re a little squeamish then black pudding (blood – usually pork – mixed with fat and oatmeal, then fried or grilled) may not be for you – but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
The tattie scone – or potato scone – is a beloved part of any full Scottish fry-up combining just mashed potatoes, butter and flour. For maximum comfort factor, serve it grilled or fried with lashings of butter or dunk it in your poached egg.
Thought to date back to the 1700s, Scottish tablet has been keeping dentists in business for centuries! A heavenly mix of sugar, condensed milk and butter (and sometimes a wee bit of whisky) cooked together until crystallised, tablet is fudge’s better-looking older brother –naughty but ever so nice!
If you’re still working your way through this list then you have an enjoyable journey ahead of you! The Dalhousie Dungeon and Orangery restaurants are open daily serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Please contact us to reserve your table.