What are traditional Scottish foods? In the past Scotland has had a reputation for food which is based on local produce and which is relatively cheap and sustaining. Porridge perhaps is a prime example, made with oatmeal, salt and water, it can keep a worker going throughout the day.
Nowadays local produce is still used by Scottish chefs and includes venison from the Scottish estates and fish from around the coast, with herring fried in oatmeal and Arbroath smokies being two traditional but well-known dishes.
In the past many in Scotland had to get by with very little and the 'jeelly’ piece, essentially white bread and jam, was a well-known feature of Glasgow tenement living. Other staple fare were stovies, a potato dish made with any leftover meat and gravy, mince and tatties and the ubiquitous scotch pie. The Scots were reputed to like their sugar too, a significant ingredient in still widely sold and yummy tablet, shortbread and the stunning Tunnocks tea cakes.
There has always been and still is a strong regional identity around food in Scotland. To name just a few such specialities there are Loch Fyne oysters and scallops, the aforementioned Arbroath smokies, Aberdeen Butteries, Selkirk Bannock and Isle of Mull Cheese. All of these can be washed down with a tasty dram of scotch whisky.
There is much that is unique around Scottish food and its traditions. A Scottish breakfast has its own twist and you’d struggle to find a piece of square sausage or even black pudding south of the Scottish/English border. Environment plays a part and for those used to swimming in the Scottish sea off the east coast, a ‘shivery bite’ might well be known. Having emerged from a bracing swim this is essentially a biscuit shoved between your teeth.
We must also mention Scotland's penchant for taking what you find in the ground and making something unusual. Here at the Scottish Bee Company we work with local farmers to create Shrubs and Vinegars in a range of different flavours using only the freshest fruits from across Aberdeenshire.
Of course we couldn’t go without highlighting haggis – possibly the Ben Nevis of all the Scottish foods. This tasty and often very spicey dish is most famously eaten on Burn’s Night, along with some other staple Scottish fare such as neeps and tatties, cock-a-leekie soup and cranachan.
Speaking of food for an occasion, the clootie dumpling can’t go unmentioned. For name alone it is my favourite. A traditional Scottish pudding associated with Christmas and Hogmanay, it is a spiced pudding, stuffed with dried fruits, wrapped in a cloth (cloot) and simmered in water.
All this and we haven’t even uttered the words Scottish.Heather.Honey! Remember that delicious super food we sometimes like to talk about here at the Scottish Bee Company? My Scottish mum remembers it being a big treat as a child, when my grandad would bring home a Scottish heather honey comb.
So I think it is fair to say that over many years Scotland has been a place for unique and tasty produce, perhaps with the exception of the infamous deep-fried Mars bar. Why not check out our gifts so you can share your love of Scotland with your friends and family!