Scotland is home to some famous food items such as (the very divisive) Haggis & Salmon. It is also home to a number of hard-working farmers / butchers / fishmongers / food artisans who bring some world-class produce to the local communities. Through this post, we want to introduce 9 such speciality food items that we have picked up across our fairly extensive Scotland travels and loved to cook with or consume directly.
Note: This list is not a compilation of recipes or restaurants, we’ll try to compile the latter separately, our Edinburgh favourites are listed in this blogpost. Also, this post is not suitable for the enjoyment of vegetarians / vegans.
Map & list (no particular order)
- Hammond Charcuterie products – Edinburgh Farmers market
- MacLeod & MacLeod Black pudding – Stornoway
- Smoked cheese – Highland charcuterie Sutherland
- Loch Harport Oysters – Carbost, Isle of Skye
- Orkney lamb – E Flett butchers, Stromness Orkney
- Laphroaig jam – Islay
- Smoked & fresh fish – Andy Race Fish Merchants, Mallaig
- Haggis – Isle of Arran butchers, Blackwaterfoot, Arran
- Tunnocks (dark chocolate) teacakes – Glasgow
Hammond charcuterie – Edinburgh Farmers market
Category: Smoked meats
Let’s kick off the list with an easily accessible set of products. We met Rachel (the butcher & top-notch foodie) on one of our trips to the Saturday farmers market at Castle Terrace, Edinburgh. She is happy to hand out samples and talk about the taste profile of the different cuts she brings along. The Gigot Mutton is one of our favourite cured meats of all time! If you’re an Edinburgher, give it a shot.
Black pudding – MacLeod & MacLeod butchers, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
Category: Blood sausage
For the uninitiated, a blood sausage is exactly what it sounds like but don’t be put off if you haven’t tried it before. We normally don’t like the taste of Black Pudding but the Stornoway variety (described as the best in the UK) blew our socks off with its flavour. The butcher we visited (Macleod & Macleod, near the ferry terminal) explained us how to make it properly which really helped. Bonus: there is a fish smokery just north of the ferry terminal that make delicious smoked salmon, another must-visit Stornoway foodie stop.
Smoked cheese – Highland charcuterie, Sutherland
Category: Smoked cheese
As can be gleaned from a pick above, we gravitate towards smoked meats which Highland Charcuterie does a decent job (we tried the venison). However their cheese (bought during the Inverness Highland Games 2016) is one of the best things we’ve ever eaten in our lives. Each bite was an orgasm in our mouth, it’s complexity compared well to a good whisky. Speaking of which, it pairs really well with Ardbeg Corryvreckan. Great to have with pasta as well, it is a shame they’re based so far from us in the very north of Scotland.
Loch Harport Oysters – Carbost, Isle of Skye
Category: Seafood & shellfish
We love eating oysters, we’ve tried them across the US & Europe. Loch Harport oysters are as magical as the Isle of Skye they’re from. They’re meaty and have a slight sweet, creamy taste that make it memorable. No better place to enjoy them than at the source, a wee shop called The Oyster Shed in Carbost, Skye (close to Talisker). Don’t expect ambience, go there for the oysters, lots of them.
Orkney lamb – E Flett butchers, Orkney
Living in Scotland meant we had access to some of the best meat we’ve ever used in our cooking, specially lamb & beef. So our bar for these 2 meats is pretty high. The lamb curry cooked with the meat bought from the local Stromness, Orkney butcher physically melted in the mouth, even the non-fatty parts! The best lamb Dalek has ever eaten, was wolfed down by 3 people in record time. The beef bought from the store was really good too.
Laphroaig jam – M A MacKinnons Marmalade, Islay
A brilliant product made by a local speciality shop but sold on site at the Laphroaig distillery shop (among other places on Islay). If you love this very unique whisky, you will love the jam made with it. Goes very well on toast and the distinctive Laphroaig taste comes through a lot.
Smoked & fresh fish – Andy Race Fish merchants, Mallaig
Website: http://www.andyrace.co.uk/ (not on Facebook)
Category: Seafood & shellfish
We stumbled upon this gem of a store in the free time we had between the Skye ferry & a Glasgow train and we’re so glad we did. As they specialize in mail-order fish, they were more than happy to vacuum pack a bunch of fresh fish for us along with an ice pack so we could take it on the train. Their smoked fish is really good too. And the best part are the prices, numbers far lower than any fishmonger in the Burgh. Now every trip to Mallaig includes popping into the store 😉
Haggis – Arran Butchers, Blackwaterfoot, Isle of Arran
Every butcher in Scotland strives to make the best haggis in the country. The winners in this arms race are lovers of the dish who buy haggis from different butchers to find their favourites. Our personal favourite is the award-winning Arran Butcher based on the lovely Isle of Arran, they have the spice mix pretty spot on. Plus, they run a mobile butcher shop from a van that goes around the island once or twice a week, how cute is that?
(Dark chocolate) Teacakes – Tunnock’s, Glasgow
Category: Sweet treats
Last but not least is a staple tea-time treat found across the UK which is produced in the Glasgow suburb of Uddingston (with an attached tearoom). A teacake is a crispy base with a dome of marsmallow on it fully covered by chocolate. The dark chocolate variant of Tunnock’s teacakes is not as freely available (try the big Tesco & Asda stores in Scotland, available on Amazon US & Amazon UK) as the milk chocolate one but buy many packs if you do see it, they’re absolutely delicious and addictive.
Food in Scotland is world class & diverse especially all things smoked. What did we not mention which we must try? (Arbroath smokies is on our list)
Request: Please share this post as many of the merchants mentioned above are small-business owners making some world quality produce, let’s show them some love!
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