Scotland is fast becoming a foodie destination. The truth is out – there is lots of wonderful fresh seafood and many places doing great things with local produce. It also has a proud food heritage, here is our top five local or traditional Scottish foods to try during your visit:
- Squat lobsters: these little fellas seem to only be served on the west coast. We certainly haven’t seen them anywhere else. They are more of a fat prawn than a lobster we think, but in fact are more closely related to crabs. Read some science stuff here. Many of the local pubs serve them and you can buy them from Dry Island who have stalls at the local markets and at Gairloch harbour in summer. Lovely dipped in a bit of mayo.
- Cullen skink: a lovely creamy soup using smoked fish – much nicer than the name suggests! Cullen is a town in Moray and skink may refer to a thin beer or German for ham which goes in a soup. You could make your own and there is a great discussion of the best way to do so in The Guardian here where Felicity Cloake calls it “one of the world’s finest seafood soups”. We agree.
- Cloutie Dumpling: named after the cloth it is cooked in – the “clout” – this is warming, hearty steamed pud with dried fruit. Scottish chef Nick Nairn’s recipe calls for a side of cream and a drop of whisky – of course!
- Cranachan: oats, cream, whisky and raspberries – what’s not to like? Again, Felicity Cloake has a great selection of recipes and discusses the oat question – rolled or coarse? Much nicer than Eton Mess we think.
- Venison: deer seem to be everywhere in the Highlands with the result that you see venison on many menus. We like it because it is very low in fat so is a healthy choice but mostly because it tastes wonderful. You see a lot of imported venison in the supermarkets now, but here in the Highlands you will find locally sourced meat. Check out Kenneth Morrison butchers in Strath, Gairloch if you want to cook your own.
What are your favourite Scottish treats? Where have you eaten your best meal? Let us know.