From single malt whisky to traditional delicacies, taste something unique
You have to eat sometime, right? So you know what to sink your teeth into, and where and when, we’ve included some helpful tips here below.
With miles of coastline and abundant freshwater lochs, Scotland is one of the largest seafood producers in Europe. In fact, two thirds of the world’s langoustines are sourced in Scottish waters. Lobster, wild trout, salmon and oyster are of particularly high quality here.
For something beefier, try an Aberdeen Angus steak. Or if your tastes are on the wilder side, you’ll enjoy feasting on game from both the highlands and lowlands, including deer (venison), pheasant, grouse, partridge, pigeon, hare and more.
More traditional delicacies include Scotland’s national dish, haggis, a savoury “pudding” made of sheep’s intestines and encased in a sheep stomach. Another traditional food is black pudding, which isn’t really a pudding but more like a sausage…which happens to have pig blood as a main ingredient.
For something a bit more run-of-the-mill, an extremely popular dish among the locals is “fish and chips”, deep-fried battered fish and deep-fried potato wedges.
England shares many of Scotland’s culinary traits, with a few notable exceptions. Below are a few classic English specialities to try:
Puddings: When the English speak of puddings, they don’t mean gooey gelatine desserts. An English pudding covers all manner of things but are most often solid, savoury meals comprised of meat. You can also get sweet puddings, such as sticky toffee pudding, figgy pudding (also known as Christmas pudding) and – everyone’s favourite – Spotted Dick, an old English classic.
Afternoon tea: Historically, afternoon tea was a mostly upper class activity including good quality tea, cucumber sandwiches and confectionaries called petite fours. Betty‘s Tearoom in Harrogate, Yorkshire (featured in the Highlights section) is famous in the UK for its afternoon tea. Whatever you do, don’t confuse afternoon tea with high tea, which in the old days was associated with the working classes.
SCOTTISH WHISKY & DRINKS
Whisky is produced in over a hundred distilleries around Scotland in five distinct whisky regions: Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Islay and Campeltown. Each one has its own unique characteristics and history. Scotland takes whisky seriously, so the production and labelling is tightly controlled; by law, whisky cannot be called Scotch unless it has been barrel aged for at least three years. Why not take a guided tour of a distillery and sample a wee dram?
Scotland also has a good variety of craft beers and specialty breweries. As for non-alcoholic drinks, “Irn-Bru,” an orange carbonated soft drink, is the number one selling soft-drink in Scotland.
TRY THESE SCOTTISH SPECIALTIES
“Scottish breakfast”: Eggs, bacon, sausage links, buttered toast, baked beans and tea or coffee, often with a side of black pudding and tattie (potato) scones and maybe smoked haddock or kippers. This is the go-to dish for mornings after whisky tastings or pub nights.
Scones: Mini-cakes/quick-breads made of wheat, barley or oatmeal. Unlike the sweeter American scones, Scottish scones are meant to be eaten with cream.
Shortbread: Traditional Scottish baked goods or biscuits (cookies) with a relatively simple recipe that consists of three basic ingredients: flour, butter, and sugar.
Oatcakes: These date back to the 14th century when Scottish soldiers would carry a sack of oatmeal that they would moisten and heat on a metal plate over a fire when they were hungry.
Cheeses: There is a good variety to sample, but Scottish Cheddar is the most popular.
Tatties: Mashed potatoes. They go with everything.