We asked some of the Highland Experience team about their favourite Scottish Food… we hope you enjoy the variety and the memories shared and it makes you want to go out and try some of our Scottish delicacies.
Scottish Seafood – Fiona Davidson, Office Manager
Where do I start about Scottish seafood? The choices are endless!
Salmon Possibly my favourite. I could eat this every day of the week. Poached, fried, smoked. Any option is a good choice. I prefer salmon to be fresh and not frozen. Personally, I think the flavour is slightly lost once the fish is frozen and I would apply this to all seafood – the fresher the better.
Monkfish tails made into a pasta dish or a curry add a new dimension to the dish. The fish is firm and meaty and holds its shape perfectly for these types of dishes.
Mussels with white wine garlic sauce and crusty bread – mmmm. I love visiting places where they offer a pint of mussels that comes in a steaming bowl with wonderful crusty bread to dip into the sauce, so nothing is wasted. Mussels grown on ropes in the soft waters in the West of Scotland are plump and sweet and exported all over the world.
Langoustines a special treat. Oh, so messy to eat when served in their shells but my goodness are they worth the effort. My family will cut your hand off for the last one on the table.
Whelks When I was small there used to be a whelk man that came around the streets and you could buy a bag of cooked whelks which came with their own pin to ease the mollusc out of its shell. This was where my love of seafood originated. You can buy these in jars but to me that is very wrong. You can very rarely now find whelks available in your local fishmongers apart from the really top end ones in the major cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Lobster – caught in creels by local fisherman these are an indulgent luxury. Gently cooked and smothered in good Scottish butter is just one option. I recently enjoyed the most fabulous lobster ravioli in a local Italian restaurant with hand-made pasta. I was tempted to pretend I was Oliver Twist and ask for more.
Haggis, Neeps & Tatties – Clare Dolan – Sales & Marketing Manager
Haggis is surely the first thing that comes to mind when people think about Scottish food. Either in confusion, “is it really a 4-legged, lopsided creature that roams the highlands?” Or disgust, “it’s banned in the US due to the ingredient sheep’s lung, you know!” Or if you’re one of the Highland Experience team, “yum”. It was a very popular choice this year at our Christmas night out…
To be totally honest, my first experience with Haggis was at Burns Night event, as a young child, and I hated it! Much too peppery for a child that demanded a diet of margarita pizza and chicken nuggets. I think my parents kept the recipe a secret… Minced heart, liver and lungs are bulked out with oatmeal, onions, suet, seasoning and spices then encased in the animal’s stomach (now often synthetic cases are used). When I found that out it took me a few more years to try it again. But, eventually I did – first at the Clachaig Inn in Glen Coe – with neeps (turnip) and tatties (potato). Despite, original trepidation – I cleaned my plate. It it’s a perfect, hearty, warming dish – perfect on our 2-day tour in Winter to keep you going.
However, there was one thing missing – I didn’t realise yet but the thing that really makes a haggis dish for me now is a delicious whisky sauce. And what better place is there to get whisky sauce? – A distillery. My top two haggis and whisky sauce experiences have to be at Glenfiddich (their vegetarian haggis is incredible) and Ardbeg. Ardbeg have gone all out, serving theirs with a dram of whisky on the side (and a haggis spring roll!).
So, don’t be scared, try some haggis – I promise it’s delicious!
Porridge – Simone Robertson – Private Tour Manager
Porridge, porridge, porridge. Well what is there to say about porridge other than it’s boring and basic? Those of you who think that porridge is boring and basic are very wrong! Porridge is a truly underrated Scottish delicacy (although it is enjoyed all over the world not just Scotland). It is said that Scotland is definitely home to some of the best porridge and I do not disagree!
Scottish Porridge is said to be the only way to start your day as it is very hearty and keeps you going until lunch. In Scotland, the only way to make porridge is with oats which are full of nutrition. Traditionally it would have been made in a big pan, with water and a pinch of salt, stirred with a big stick and left to set.
I remember when I was younger, I always hated porridge as it was always a bowl of slop, not very appealing at all, and not much better sounding that the traditional dish! As you get older you develop your sense of taste and creativity, well this is definitely what's needed to make porridge exciting! Not every day is the same, have it with fresh Scottish berries, have it with chocolate, have it with nuts and dried fruit, make it sweet, make it salty, with milk or water, the possibilities are endless! It was once known as part of a staple diet for farmers, so why not make it part of yours?
Cullen Skink – Macarena Sierra – Sales Executive
When I first moved to Scotland from Spain, I had no doubt I would love it (it’s hard not to; Scotland is no stranger to incredible landscapes and friendly, welcoming people). What I didn’t know was how much I would like the food here.
Well… I must admit I was a bit skeptical at the beginning (don’t blame me, Britain doesn’t have the best culinary reputation…) but when you think about it, traditional British food is pretty tasty! Fish and chips are actually delicious!
If I had to pick one and only one Scottish food, I would choose Cullen Skink for sure. Rich, smokey and comfortingly creamy, one bowl of this chunky soup will guarantee a warm, cozy winter night.
Cullen skink is deliciously filled with haddock, onion, mashed potato, cream milk and butter. Topped with a piece of crusty bread, this has to be one of the most comforting meals in the world.
The original soup comes from Cullen, a coastal town in the North of Scotland (also home to the Finnan haddock, the traditional fish used for making the soup). It is often served on Burns night, an event that celebrates the life of Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland.
When you visit Scotland next, do make sure you try some!