When you think of fine dining, Scottish cuisine may not immediately come to mind. Countries such as France and Italy have their own instantly recognisable dishes, and we feel that Scotland’s contribution to the culinary world is sorely overlooked. In the spirit of the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival, here are some fantastic traditional dishes that you can expect to find on your travels to Scotland.
Tablet: This is a kind of confectionery similar to fudge. It is normally made from sugar, condensed milk, and butter which are boiled together and allowed to crystallize. Tablet is slightly harder than fudge, and has a grittier texture, but it’s just as sweet! Like fudge it can be flavoured in countless different ways, such as with vanilla or whisky, or with pieces of nuts.
Oatcakes: An oatcake is a type of flatbread or biscuit. It is made primarily using oatmeal and can be described as an oat-based cracker. The history of this Scottish snack goes all the way back to the Romans, as far as the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43!
Haggis: Haggis is one of the most iconic of all Scottish dishes. It is a savoury dish containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, which are minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and stock. It is then traditionally encased in the sheep’s stomach or in a sausage casing. Now I’ll admit, it doesn’t sound very appealing, but haggis is immensely popular in this country and is still eaten at transitional celebrations such as Burns Night. Funnily enough, although it is one of the most instantly recognisable Scottish dishes, there isn’t any historical evidence that it actually has origins in Scotland. In fact, the first known written mention of it comes from a recipe dating back to around 1430 in Lancashire, North West England.
Cullen skink: This is a thick soup made from smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. It is a local speciality from the town of Cullen in Moray, and it is still a popular starter to traditional meals to this day.
Cranachan: Cranachan is a Scottish dessert made from a mixture of whipped cream, honey and raspberries, with toasted oatmeal soaked overnight in a little whisky. Its sweet and mildly alcoholic flavour is a beautiful end to a Scottish feast!