Scotland’s Food – Recipes and Foodie Scottish Travels – Home baking, comfort food, and dishes that remind us of home are having as a moment as we stay in, and eat! So, if you want to explore Scotland via your tummy, then this is what to try. And when it’s safe to travel once more, these are the places to go. *Contains affiliate links and covers many destinations and accommodation experienced through press trips.
This is a chunky, hearty fish soup featuring haddock (or finnan haddie), and created in the north east town of Cullen in Scotland. North East blogger, the Foodie Quine, has an excellent recipe here, for this warming and filing dish. There’s even an annual Cullen Skink competition, held every March to find the year’s best creation.
To visit, we stayed in the quirky Cullen Harbour Hostel, within its self-catering cottage. Cullen is also on the NE250 road trip, a manageable drive taking in the Banff and Buchan coastline and Royal Deeside.
These Aberdonian/Aberdeenshire gems have been described as a salty croissant, they’re absolutely gorgeous heated up, with a splodge of jam. Pick them up in bakeries and supermarkets across the north east of Scotland, or try at ‘Butteries & Jam’ flavoured ice cream at Mackies 192 in Marischal Square. Explore family friendly Aberdeen here. I’ve reviewed quality Aberdeen hotels here, and there are more hotel options here.
For steak-lovers there’s often one clear choice, Aberdeen-Angus. We were lucky enough to visit Cairnton Farm in Deeside to get close to their herd, and learn more about these handsome beasts. Another similar experience, with Highland Cattle, is also available in Banchory Aberdeenshire, where visitors learn about the animals, groom them, and learn how they’re looked after. Read more about the Highland Cow experience here.
The craft beer market is now worth a fortune. What started as a few guys home brewing, has become one of Scotland’s greatest success stories. A core example is Brewdog, whose first bar was in Aberdeen. To recreate a Brewdog home brew, the team has shared some of its recipes here. Other craft beer options in the Granite City include Fierce Bar, 6 Degrees North and CASC. Brewdog now even has a hotel in Aberdeen, or browse other options here.
Made from beremeal, this flat bread is a filling savoury. We visited Barony Mill in Orkney to see this rare cereal transformed into flour. This bread isn’t just tasty, but offers historic heritage. It’s even recognised by Slow Food Scotland’s Ark of Taste as it’s an endangered food, using rare traditional skills that are at risk of dying out.
Northlink Ferries has shared a recipe for Bere Bannocks here. Orkney was an excellent family escape, and I loved sharing what we got up to. We stayed at the Ayre Hotel, which offers family friendly accesible apartments, really close to Kirkwall Harbour, within a hotel setting (so you can eat in the restaurant if you don’t fancy cooking). Read the review here, and look up prices and availability here.
If I had to compare a Forfar Bridie to something, then it’s pretty close to a Cornish Pasty – shortcrust pastry, quality meat but, importantly, no potatoes. Pick them up in Forfar and towns nearby for a tasty savoury lunch.
If you like fruit cake then you’ll love Dundee Cake. And if you are in the city, then the new V&A is a stunning piece of architecture and worth making up your own mind about. I also had a fab girly weekend staying at the very reasonable Apex Hotel and Spa, for a relatively affordable weekend away, or browse further Dundee options here.
Silver darlings refer to the pelagic catch of herring – slithers of silver glimmering under the waves. These fish were once caught right up the east coast of Scotland and England, up into Shetland, they were the pride of the Scottish fishing industry for years.
Not medicinal in the slightest, this sweet crumbly treat leaves most other indulgences in the dust! Many Scottish hotels will serve an after dinner coffee with a wee cube of tablet, rather than a mint. Long may this continue. Scottish Scran shared a recipe here so you can recreate this indulgence at home – tablet is SOOOO good!
Scotland is renowned for its seafood, to the point that it’s often exported across Europe to countries such as Spain. Salmon can be caught in the rivers of Scotland, such as the Dee and the Spey, but much of the salmon we eat day to day is farmed in Shetland. Try this warming Tray Baked Shetland Salmon recipe here.
Shetland is also a fantastic holiday destination. Going on the hunt for Vikings and prehistoric man kept our tribe occupied, and the beaches were stunning. It was a real adventure, so discover more here and research accommodation here.
Scotland’s game is renowned at home and abroad. Venison is particularly popular and many restaurants will offer up a venison dish on their menu. Try this recipe for Venison and Chestnut Pie at home, from the Edinburgh New Town Cookery School.
Although cute as button, Scotch Lamb is a dish on many people’s favourite menus. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian then it’s worth exploring where your food comes from. We do try to explain this to our children (who both eat meat), and make them think about local produce, local provenance and how meat gets from field to fork.
A working farm that really delivered in terms of excellent accommodation, hands on activities and an insightful learning experience was Craigduckie Shepherds Huts in Fife. For a guide to lamb recipes from Quality Meat Scotland visit here.
Whisky is synonymous with Scotland, and you can find a distilleries in practically every region. I’m highlighting one of the few distilleries you can actually overnight in. Raasay, a tiny island just east of Skye, is a hidden gem, with its own whisky maturing, and stylish accommodation too. Read why Raasay is worth visiting here, and look into an overnight at Raasay Distillery here. The accommodation at Raasay Distillery is admittedly more suited to couples/adults rather than families, but Raasay House (with a host of outdoor activities on tap) is more suited to kids and adventures.
Loch Fyne is considered one of the best places to try oysters. A beautiful destination, whether you appreciate shellfish or not.
Shortbread is the biscuit of Scotland, and wee packages will often await you in hotel rooms and guest houses, and shortbread is always for sale in Scottish airports and supermarkets. A sweet and buttery nibble, try this recipe from Scottish Scran to create Shortbread Petticoat Tails.
Deep Fried Mars Bars
Bit of a comedy one here, but did you know the Deep Fried Mars Bar is said to have originated in Stonehaven. Whilst it’s not necessarily my cup of tea, I adore Stonehaven, and thoroughly recommend the walk from the harbour to the sublime Dunnottar Castle.
Scotland isn’t Italy, but our dairy farms produce quality milk and cream, which is transformed into delicious ice cream, a favourite with any tot. Some of the Scottish ice creams we’ve tried include Portsoy Ice Cream, Luca’s, and Cream O’ Galloway.
Cream O’ Galloway also has fantastic indoor and outdoor play areas, farm tours, and we tried their Ice Cream Tasting Experience. We tasted Portsoy ice cream when we were staying at the village’s luxury five-star hostel complete with a hot tub (read a review here, and book here), and Luca’s tempted Mr Tot when we toured East Lothian.
When in East Lothian, we also loved the lobster at North Berwick harbour’s Lobster Shack. What a delight.
These flat potato pancakes make or break a Scottish breakfast. The Spruce Eats has a recipe here to try at home, or pick potato scones up in Scottish supermarkets. Many Scottish hotels/B&Bs will dish them up with any self-respecting Full Scottish Breakfast.
Tunnocks Teacakes & Caramel Wafers
Love Scotland? Then try these sweet treats from a family business in Lanarkshire that dates back to 1890. Available in most shops, they’re a Scottish classic.
This fizzy drink is as synonymous with Scotland, as Coke is with the United States of America. Pick it up in most corner shops, or supermarkets, or experiment with this cool Pulled Pork and Irn Bru recipe from the Foodie Quine.
A traditional smoked fish, that’s linked back to Arbroath and the nearby village of Authmithie. Still created in the same way it was hundreds of years ago, smokies can be picked up on the harbour front from companies such as M&M Spink. Watch the smoker at work, and ask questions before you make a purchase. Or dine at the But N Ben in Authmithie, an informal restaurant with a range of excellent dishes featuring Arbroath Smokies.
My kids love haggis. It’s up there with burgers, pizza and sausage rolls. Where can you spot a haggis in the wild? Well, that’s the million dollar question. In the meantime, you don’t need to mess with this dish – haggis, neeps and tatties always delivers (although I can add a cheeky whisky sauce on the side).
Admittedly Scotland has such an extensive larder that I’ve inevitably missed some delights, so please comment with recipes to add value – Empire Biscuits, Orkney Fudge, Cockaleekee soup, flapjacks, the ultimate porridge recipe etc.
To conclude, I think we’ve all discovered that, if we can’t travel and explore Scotland right now, we can certainly eat and drink. My food consumption has increased, and to combine Scottish cuisine with research for future travels makes quarantine taste that little bit better.