Four years ago my plane landed in Scotland and I immediately noticed a few things about my new home; the weather is depressing. The constant rain can bring you down sometimes. The second thing I noticed is that men in kilts look amazing and they cheer up even the rainiest days. Nowadays, I still stand behind these very first observations although with time you get used to the weather, the constant rain and wind. However, four years is a long time and I have found out a lot about Scotland. Scottish people are probably the friendliest people I have ever met. There is the rare exception but the majority of people are genuinely helpful and welcoming. In regards to nature what can I say? Words do not do justice to the breath-taking scenery that the Scottish Highlands offer to the tourist. You simply have to go and see for yourself. Still, there is something that I can talk about and that is Scottish food. I am a great food lover so moving to Scotland I realized what a treasure the Scottish food is if you decide to be a little more open-minded and adventurous with your taste buds.
Scotland is a cold and a very wet place so the food here is warm and meaty, perfect for a rainy day. How can you not love it? Not surprisingly for four years I have grown in size but to be honest it is worth it. There is so much to the diversity of Scottish food that it is hard to describe everything in just one article but let us try and let us begin from the most important meal of the day: the breakfast.
Scottish breakfast is for people who are not afraid to eat and show an appetite. I was amazed the first time I saw it because back home we have nothing that resembles this challenge of a breakfast. As you can see, the Scots put everything in a breakfast. Eggs, toast, tomatoes, bean, bacon, sausages, you name it. It is indeed a breakfast for champions.
For those who are careful with their calories, the healthier breakfast choice lies in porridge. Oats are healthy, filling and can be cooked in a lot of ways, both sweet and savory. It is cheap and it is delicious. So there is a choice for those who look after their waist and for those who want to try it all.
Having sorted out breakfast, we can easily move to lunch and dinner. Not surprisingly, I have meat in my mind again. Scotland is famous for its beef, fish and game so there is plenty of choice making sure that everyone will feel at home when in Scotland. Whether it is a broth you are after or the simple and delicious mince and tatties (mince meat, potatoes and turnips), there is something for everyone on the Scottish menu. My personal favorite is the steak pie. Served with mash or fries, surrounded by mushy pees, this dish is warming and incredibly delicious. There are a number of pies in Scotland. One of the most popular is the sweet Christmas mince pie that makes Christmas even cozier and jollier.
When in Scotland, everyone simply must try the famous fish and chips. Deep fried fresh fish, again with mash or chips and some mushy pees can warm up a dreary evening. It is questionable whether or not it is healthy but it sure is delicious. British rather than Scottish, for me fish and chips will always be directly associated with Glasgow. A more Scottish food is the Scotch egg. Egg wrapped in sausage meat and then deep fried makes for a strange but real Scot meal
And let us not forget the one and only haggis. Sometimes put in breakfast, it is usually associated with Burns’ night. A celebration of the famous Scottish poet, this night also celebrates the Scottish meal by reciting and singing of odes to the one and only Scottish haggis. Haggis was the first thing I was introduced to when I started being curious about Scottish food. It is better to try it first and then wonder what exactly haggis is because the description puts off some people.. Haggis is a bite of heaven, made of the stomach and liver of a sheep mixed with some onions and oats. It sounds a wee bit dodgy but it is so delicious so be brave, people!
Now that we have been adventurous with the savory part of the meal, we can move and explore the desert heaven that is Scotland. The article cannot end before we have mentioned the sweets and drink that you are bound to try when in Scotland. The most patriotic dessert that I have discovered is not surprisingly called Scottish tablet. It is made from sugar, milk and butter and it is sometimes flavored. You can usually find it served alongside coffees in different restaurants and wee cafes.
Bigger than the Scottish tablet is the Scottish short bread. Again a fairly simple recipe creates a buttery sweet that used to be in the past very expensive and thus seen as a luxury for special occasions. Alongside these fairly simple desserts, the Scottish like making more exquisite sweets that often use whisky as an ingredient. Who would refuse something like that? Scottish Chocolate and Orange Mousse With Whisky and the Whisky Tablet Fudge are for those food lovers who prefer fancy desserts. There is something for everyone in the dessert department.
Having had a big breakfast, a hearty lunch and dinner, and something sweet for the soul we can now relax in the company of whisky. The creation of the scotch is art in itself and it is worth writing a whole article on it. So it is a must when visiting Scotland. Once again, there is a range of tastes to suit everyone.
This is not to say that the Scots have only a whisky to offer their guests. The famous Irn Bru is for those who desire an alternative to alcohol. A fuzzy, bubblegum drink it is often described as ‘Scotland’s other national drink.’ So it is worth tasting.
For anyone planning to visit Scotland in the future, make sure you taste the fantastic Scottish cuisine. For me, it is the hidden gem of the West that is slowly gaining a reputation, especially when people associate this cuisine with Scots chefs such as Gordon Ramsey, Tony Singh and Nick Nairn. Whether you are big eater or you just fancy a taste, make sure you enjoy your trip and make the most of Scotland. Also, do not forget that the best way to taste Scotland is in Scottish company with a malt whisky by your side. Sharing is caring, people. Enjoy!
Written byGalina Miteva
Galina is a recent graduate from Glasgow University with a double major in English Literature and Religion. A proper book junkie, when she is not buried in her books, she works, writes and spends time with her friends, her partner and their cat Chicken.