An Introduction to Food in Scotland

By Mark Wiens 10 Comments
Smoking Arbroath smokies
Smoking Arbroath smokies (photo by chatiryworld)

Forget deep fried mars bars, haggis and black pudding, Scotland is brimming with unusual and unique delicious delicacies.

Here is a snapshot of some of the best Scottish dishes well worth the trip!

1. Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath Smokies, speciality of the town of Arbroath in Angus, are made from smoked haddock. Local stories recall that one night, many years ago, a store caught fire causing haddock that was preserved in barrels in salt to become smoked. Afterwards, locals tried the fish that they thought had been destroyed and found it to be really tasty.

Nowadays, the Smokies have been awarded Protected Geographical Indication, meaning that the only place that can produce Arbroath Smokies is Arbroath itself.

Clootie dumpling
Clootie dumpling (photo by riggott)

2. Clootie Dumpling

Clootie Dumpling’s are a traditional dessert pudding in Scotland, made with flour, sultanas, currants, suet, sugar and milk and sometimes with the addition of golden syrup.

They are made by combining the ingredients into a dough, then wrapping it up in a floured cloth and putting it in a large pan of boiling water for a couple of hours, then baked in the oven. Once cooked, clootie dumplings are great served hot slathered with jam and accompanied by steaming custard. Great to warm you up on a cold winter’s day!

3. Caboc

Caboc is Scotland’s oldest cheese, originating from the Scottish Highlands. Previously known as a cheese for the wealthy, this double cream cheese is favoured for its very buttery taste and smooth texture and is rolled into a log shape and rolled in oatmeal.

It is delicious served with oatcakes and alongside other cheeses. Rumoured to be the Queen’s favourite cheese, you are sure to be in good company!

Cranachan (photo by saskiavandenieuwenhof)

4. Cranachan

This is quite simply the king of desserts! Cranachan is made from combining whipped cream, whisky, raspberries, toasted oatmeal and honey.

This traditional Scottish dessert is great sharing food as its usually assembled individually at the table so you can get exactly the mixture that you fancy, a little more honey and fruit, a little less oatmeal, it’s your dessert to enjoy!

5. Potted Heid

Potted heid is a terrine made with the meat from the head of a calf or pig, flavoured with onions, herbs and salt and enjoyed cold in slices.

Although it sounds very unappealing, as it contains what would usually be discarded parts of meet, potted heid is really delicious served just by itself or on oatcakes, bread or toast.

Has this whet your appetite for a trip to Scotland?

About the Author: Charlotte enjoys travelling across the UK, walking in the countryside and enjoying local food.

Disclosure: This post was made possible by Sykes Cottages. Sykes Cottages have self-catering holiday accommodation in Scotland from which to enjoy these Scottish treats.

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  • Graeme Rough

    3 years ago

    So good ot see Scotland represented but surely some of the following could be mentioned too
    Haggis, oysters, langoustine, scotch beef and lamb!

  • Lindsay

    6 years ago

    I’ll have to seek out some of these foods when we head to Scotland next year!

  • Gayla

    11 years ago

    One of the joys of traveling is the opportunity to sample regional/traditional foods; finding new ingredients and tastes, and discovering those that are familiar in some way to foods in other regions. The ‘potted heid’ as described, though I’ve not tried it, sounds like the ‘hog’s head cheese’ I grew up eating in SW Louisiana, an area with Acadian French ancestry. I hope to make it back to Scotland someday to try the foods I missed the first time!

    • Mark Wiens

      11 years ago

      I agree Gayla, one of the joys of travel is tasting different food. Hope you have a chance to visit Scotland to try these dishes sometime soon!

  • Ayngelina

    12 years ago

    I have to say that must be the foulest group of food I have ever heard of. It does not tempt me at all to go there.

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Haha, yes, there are some foul smelling dishes on this list. I think the most tempting one for me would be the Arbroath Smokies.

  • Brock – Backpack With Brock

    12 years ago

    Some of these sound pretty good!

    • Mark Wiens

      12 years ago

      Yah, I agree Brock, and some are quite interesting as well!

  • sully86

    12 years ago

    mark: arrrrrhhhhhh!!! me hungry for sum food!!!! * pirate voice*