Scotland has a long history of delicious food and not just those infamous fried mars bars, Irn Bru, or Buckfast that readily spring to mind. Scotland has a huge variety of delicious meals and yummy treats that will satisfy any taste bud. One thing that most of us don’t realise, is that modern Scottish cuisine has had a hefty influence from the French – who knew?!?
Without sounding like the start of a grand fairytale story, it all happened many hundreds of years ago when Mary Queen of Scots returned from France to Edinburgh, where her love of French grub (and entourage) followed suit. This in itself, led to an influx of French cuisine and dishes that make up some Scottish meals we know and love today.
Anyway, without rambling on, take a look at some of the very best foods you should try when in Scotland.
1.) Ashet of caboc cheese and oatcakes
A perfect example of French influence in Scottish cuisine is with an ashet of caboc cheese and oatcakes. An ashet loosely translates to assiette in French, meaning a platter. Caboc is the oldest cheese in Scotland. A very creamy cheese, it’s often dolloped onto some oatcakes for a delicious snack.
2.) A Plate of howtowdie
Again, influenced by France, howtowdie is a delicious Scottish dish made up from a small chicken/foul that’s served with spinach and runny poached eggs. This dish has been a favourite in Scotland for hundreds of years.
3.) Burns night supper (haggis)
Every year, on the 25th January, Scotland celebrates the life of Robert Burns (born in the 1800’s). You might know his poems from the likes of Auld Lang Syne, which is sung at Hogmanay and New years eve? A Burns supper consists of the Scottish favourite, haggis (or vegetarian haggis), all washed down with lashings of Scotch Whiskey.
4.) Scottish tablet
Authentic Scottish, with no French influence in sight, a tablet is one yummy treat that is well worth a try. Filled with mountains of sugar, milk, butter and condensed milk, it is heated to create a crumbly, fudge-like tablet that tastes so amazing! A perfect treat if you have a sweet tooth!
5.) Gigot of lamb
Gigot (spelt, and inspired by Scotland’s French influence) is a chop/leg of mutton (lamb) that is often served with potatoes, parsnips and other seasonal vegetables that was available in Scotland.
6).) Whiskey mac & hot toddy
Technically not food, but certainly a delicious treat, a Whiskey Mac is a combination of Scotch whiskey and ginger wine. If you’re looking for a hot alternative, make sure you try a ‘hot toddy’ that is Scotch whiskey mixed with piping hot water, cinnamon, honey and other spices. It’s a great way to warm your cockles!
Traditionally, a workers meal, stovies are often a mismatch of seasonal vegetables, potatoes and minced meat that makes a hearty Scottish meal, especially on a cold winters day.
8.) A bag of soor ploom
Apparently, soor plooms were first crafted in Scotland in the 1300’s, from sour plums. Nowadays, they are typically hard, sharp and sour flavoured boiled sweets that can be bought from many traditional sweet stores in Scotland.