Food, Scotland, Travel

Foodie’s guide to Scotland + Giveaway

July 9, 2015

Foodies guide to Scotland

2015 is Scotland’s Year of food and drink. Scotland has an incredible sselction of produce right on it’s door step and with this in mind I wanted to share my guide to some of the best food and drink in Scotland. Read right to the end for your chance to win tickets to the Foodies Festival this August in Edinburgh.

Firstly, this is by no means a complete list. Even though I have lived in Scotland my whole life I am still discovering this amazing country. If you have any things you would like to share please let me know in the comments.

Seafood

Without a doubt, the biggest food export in Scotland is its seafood. The most known of these is Scottish smoked salmon.

Unfortunately for us we don’t eat a lot of seafood, and when we do we won’t pay for quality Scottish produce and so a lot of our seafood is shipped down to France and Spain. Meaning often in our supermarkets the fish we are eating is imported and of poorer quality. Not in the restaurants however, ask what’s in season and you will be in for a treat.

Where to go:
For the best shellfish in Scotland head to a little village on the west coast called Applecross. It’s a bit of a drive to get there (although the scenery is stunning) but when you are there you will find the best prawns in Scotland at the Applecross Inn. Straight out of the water and on to your plate. They are delicious and sweet and a world away from the packaged supermarket prawns.

Loch Fyne is home to some great Scottish seafood including mussels and salmon. A restaurant by the same name is situated in Cairndow, a small village on the loch, and you can pick up some beautiful smoked salmon there. Speaking of mussels you will find these on a lot of menus, particularly in the west coast. Be sure to ask if they are Scottish if you see them on the menu and if so you are in for a real treat.

Over on the east coast, head to Ansthuther, a fishing village with one of the most famous fish and chips shops in Scotland. While fish and chips may now be associated with the end of a wild night out if you get it from a good establishment it tastes incredible. At the Anstruther Fish Bar you can choose what type of fish you like. It’s so fresh and the batter is beautifully flavoured. If you are lucky to avoid any rain, get it to takeaway and go sit outside at the harbour.

Sticking with the west cost, a must try is Arbroath Smokies. To be an authentic Arbroath Smokie it must be haddoack. The taste is incredible and the fish just flakes away. You can also find these guys at the Royal Highland Show.

Whisky

So if seafood is the biggest food export in Scotland it’s no surprise that whisky is our biggest export full stop. No matter where you are in the world you can find Scottish whisky on offer.

Where to go:
To sample a good selection head to The Scotch Malt Whisky Society to become a member. One of their venues The Dining Room in Edinburgh also has a delcious Scottish menu you can sample along with your whisky.

Even if you are not into the taste of whisky, and I don’t blame you, you should definitely try make it to a distillery. There are many over the country which you can have a tour of. I highly recommend the Edradour distillery just outside of Pitlochry. It’s the smallest distillery in Scotland and still uses a lot of the original techniques. As part of the tour you also get to sample some of the whisky as well as their own whisky liqueur, a lot more palatable in my opinion.

Gin

Now it’s no secret but we Scots like our alcohol so it’s no surprise to find another spirit on here. This time the trendy drink of late – gin. Again there are many gin manufactures all over Scotland, from very small independent manufactures to large scale industrial production (all of the gin and many other spirits by Diageo is actually bottled in Fife).

Where to go:
If you are in Edinburgh, head to 56 North where they have a selection of over 200 gins. The staff are very knowledgeable and will happily recommend something to you. If you also get a chance I would highly recommend their gin tasting testing masterclass. You can read about my experience here.

Also in Edinburgh, you can get a tour of the Edinburgh Gin distillery. There are various price ranges of the tours as the tour contains a sample. You can also go all the way and even make your own gin.

Haggis and black pudding

Obviously a post in Scottish food would not be complete without mentioning haggis and black pudding. Most people are now familiar with the famous Scottish delicacy of haggis and if you can try some when you are visiting Scotland I would highly recommend it, you will usually find it in some form in Scottish restaurants. So special is this dish that in 25 January, Robert Burns’ Night (a famous Scottish poet) we say a particular Scottish poem to toast the haggis.

Those of my European visitors may be familiar with black pudding as it there are many varieties all over Europe (my other favourite is from Ronda in Spain). However unlike some on the continent, the Scottish version is fresh. It has a lovely bitterness that pairs really well with scallops.

Where to go:
Most Scottish restaurants will have some form of haggis or black pudding on the menu. Some standout meals that I have had in Glasgow include the black pudding scotch egg at rel=”nofollow”The Gannet, the Eggs Hebridean at Cafe Gandolfi (a Scottish twist on Eggs Benedict, Seamus at Cafe Gandolfi has also wrote a book about this local delicacy) and haggis pizza at Republic Bier Halle.

If you are looking to buy haggis make it MacSween’s and for black pudding it has to be Stornoway (my favourite is Charles MacLeod).

Shop directory

If you are visiting Scotland, you should aim to make it to a farm shop to buy some local produce, either for yourself or as a gift.

What to buy:
Fudge and tablet are two forms of sugary deliciousness. Not so good for your teeth but oh so tasty. If you are in Edinburgh be sure to visit The Fudge Kitchen, or you can usually pick up some of this brand in larger stores.

Shortbread, while know available thought the world, pick some up in a cute little Scottish tin. Walker’s Shortbread has been going since 1898 and is still made in the village of Aberlour in the north east of Scotland.

Scotland has a great market of local, independent honey producers and we have some fine examples of Scottish Heather honey.

There is also a long, estabilish cheese industry. The most common of these is cheddar with some top brands such as Orkney and Mull of Kintyne. More recently, there have been an increase in small, independent cheese manufacters, you can even get Scottish brie.

Where to go:
House of Bruar, located just north of Pitlochry, there is a great farm shop here and although other items such as clothing and leather goods.

Loch Leven’s Larder, as well as having a delicious cafe, there is a great farm shop on site here too.

Food festivals

There are some great food festivals in Scotland, mostly over the summer months and if you can combine your stay with one of these I would definitely recommend it.

Foodies Festival – held annually in Edinburgh every August, be sure to check out the bottom post to find out how you can win tickets.

Crail Food Festival – a smaller scale festival but definitely worth visiting, check out my post on my trip this summer here.

Loch Lomond – taking place over September on the beautiful banks of Loch Lomond there is a great range of Scottish suppliers you can try at this festival, now in it’s tenth year.

Tarbert Seafood Festival – one for seafood lovers, this festival takes place in July on the home of some of the best seafood in Scotland.

Royal Highland Show – while not technically just a food festival, the Royal Highland Show always has a great attendance from both by and small Scottish producers.

Competition

I have two adult tickets to go to the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh. Tickets will be posted to you in advance of the festival and they are for any day. The festival takes place in Inverleith Park in Edinburgh on August 7-9 and includes cooking from top chefs, plently of food and drink, and the best part a Cake & Bake Theatre.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions: enter by filling in your email into the Rafflecopter above. You can either enter by following me on Twitter or by tweeting a tweet. Increase your chances by doing both and come back tomorrow to enter again! Winner will receive two adult tickets and these can be used on any date. Tickets have been provided by Lanyard Media and will be posted to the winner. The winner will be drawn at random and I will email the winner. Competition closes on 31 July.

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  • ananyah

    This is such a great post highlighting the best of scottish produce. I wish that we didn’t export as much as our shellfish/fish but that’s the economy for you!

    There is nothing better than fresh lobsters, scallops and monkfish caught locally!

  • http://www.figsandpigs.com Rebecca Goodman

    This is such an interesting post I would really love to get up to applecross some time soon. Also brilliant give away entered I think.