Scotland has a reputation for enjoying anything deep-fried. While I saw ample evidence of this while there, there are a number of delicious foods that aren’t deep-fried available there as well.
The first of these foods that I fell in love with was Scottish shortbread. A simple snack, it totally entranced me and I had to stop myself from chomping down more. Delicate in taste and texture, incredibly buttery, it was a wonderful snack while I was sitting in the back of the car. I’ve since found a couple of recipes for it on allrecipes.com. It’s going to take a a bit of playing around to get it right and I’m eager to try the recipe with spices (I made the plain one with just eggs, flour, and sugar for Christmas). Shortbread is one of my favourite kind of cookies, in case you hadn’t noticed.
At the same place we bought shortbread, Adam also picked up some lemon cheese. If you haven’t heard of it before, don’t worry, most haven’t. Lemon butter might be a more accurate term, at least in my mind. It has a consistency somewhere between apple butter (nice and spreadable) and honey (not as sticky, but thicker than apple butter). And wow is it ever lemony! Great on toast. Well, as long as you like lemon.
My favourite food item bought from this little tourist stop along Loch Lomond, however, was Scottish tablet. It’s a sugar bar, essentially, with milk, all boiled down perfectly. Check out the recipe on A Wee Bit of Cooking. I want to try making it but am waiting until I have a large block of time to devote to it. Anyway, it melts on your tongue (even more melty than shortbread) and tastes like a perfect piece of well-made candy – sweet, but not sickeningly so. It has a vanilla taste to it due to, well, vanilla.
Lastly, one cannot visit Scotland and avoid haggis. Everyone makes a big deal about what’s in it, but after reading Fast Food Nation, I’m always leery of beef in the states. At least when you’re eating innards you know they’re going to get thoroughly cleaned because everyone knows where they’ve been. Once it’s in your mouth it doesn’t taste any different than any other meat. Haggis always seems to be serves as haggis, neeps, and tatties, with neeps being turnips and tatties being potatoes. It’s pretty chilly up here even in the summer, so root vegetables making up 2/3 of the most famous dish of the region makes sense. I love turnips anyway, so it was a special treat. And a treat it was. I had the dish twice, once in a fancy restaurant (pictured here, the dish, not the restaurant) with oat crackers and a scotch sauce and once at a local pub with just the basic three ingredients and little pepper. Really fills you up well.
While these may not have been the healthiest dishes one can eat, they were like eating lettuce and celery compared to the darker side of Scottish foods: the deep-frying.