Haggis and Beyond: The Best of Scottish Cuisine
Scotland is famous for being a golf destination, and you’re probably planning your trip based around playing courses like The Old Course at St. Andrews, Carnoustie Golf Links, and Royal Dornoch. But you’ve got to eat when you’re there, too. Scotland has a more varied cuisine than you might expect, and with a bit of knowledge about local specialties, you can eat like royalty.
We’ve already told you our favorite restaurant selections at St. Andrews. Now we’d like to tell you what food you should order once you’re there, especially the traditional recipes
While it may not sound appetizing and it’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, you’ve got to try haggis at least once while you’re in Scotland. Haggis is a savory pudding traditionally made from sheep’s “pluck” (heart, liver, and lungs), mixed with oatmeal, onions, and spices, and then boiled in the animal’s stomach or an artificial casing. It’s also the national dish of Scotland, and as such, it has been perfected since its inception in the 15th century. You can find it on almost any traditional meal menu, served alongside neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).
Because it’s situated in the North Atlantic, Scotland has excellent seafood options. In fact, you can even follow the Seafood Trail for a culinary adventure through Scotland. Particularly famous are their Shetland salmon, haddock, lobster, mussels, and oysters. The salmon is particularly famous, because Scotland’s waters are a prime breeding ground for the pink fish, and its texture and taste are celebrated throughout the world. You can find seafood served in many creative ways, such as cullen skink, a rich soup made with haddock and potatoes, or crab rolls served with mayonnaise. And, of course, no trip to the British Isles would be complete without at least one meal of fish and chips.
Meat and Wild Game
You’ve certainly seen photos of the famous Highland cattle, the furry cows with long horns and long red coats. They are adorable to see in the Scottish countryside, but they’re typically raised for their meat. They’re so popular that Queen Elizabeth II ordered they be kept at her summer home Balmoral Castle in 1954, where they’ve been ever since. Scotland is also home to various types of wild game, and you can enjoy wild boar or venison at many local restaurants prepared in inventive and delicious ways.
If you’re looking for something to help prevent a hangover before a night of drinking Scotch whisky, look no further than crowdie, a traditional Scottish cheese made from cow’s milk. It tastes like cottage cheese, and is often served with scones or oatcakes. You can also fold it into quiche, fry it like mozzarella, or make it into a panna cotta. It’s a very versatile cheese and is a great addition to any meal.
Ready for dessert? It’s worth saving yourself for a bit of cranachan, a traditional dessert that was originally served in the summer after the raspberry harvest in June. It’s relatively simple and resembles a parfait, made with whipped cream, Scotch whisky, honey, raspberries, and oatmeal. Some traditional recipes use crowdie instead of whipped cream, which gives it a different texture and flavor, but is still delicious. Many chefs will invent their own take on this easy dessert, incorporating chocolate, whisky-soaked raisins, shortbread, or orange.
Scotch whisky (that’s right, drop the “e”) is the perfect complement to any Scottish meal. Its production is governed by law, and in order to be considered a Scotch whisky, the alcohol must be aged in oak casks for a minimum of three years, although many brands age their Scotch much longer. It must also contain malted barley, although it can contain other grains as well. Most Scotch is known for its smoky flavor, which comes from peat, but there are as many types of Scotch whisky as there are regions in Scotland. We recommend sampling whisky from around Scotland until you find your favorite. Even if you don’t drink it, you’ll probably be served some form of it incorporated into a sauce, from a gravy for your haggis to a caramel in your dessert.
Is your mouth watering yet? We’d love to help you set up a trip where you can sample these dishes between rounds at your bucket list Scottish golf courses. Get in touch today for a free quote on a customized itinerary!