When we did Don’t Guac (our first annual guacamole competition) at the Spoon U chapter of the University of St Andrews back in Feb 2016, there were rumors flying around that some competitors were getting fresh avocados flown in from California for the occasion.
Is this true? Honestly, I never bothered to find out. I wouldn’t be surprised, because avocados in Tesco have a great way of sucking. But just because avocados in Scotland are terrible doesn’t mean all Scottish food is.
Actually, Scotland’s more like a place foodies want to stay and linger, but maybe not for the reasons that you’d think. Here’s my 78 reasons why.
1. Scotland has St Andrews
Scotland has St Andrews. St Andrews has SPOON St Andrews. Spoon St Andrews is awesome (and all about food + foodies). Science.
2. Wild Scottish strawberries
They’re suuuuuper seasonal, but show up in Scotland at the right time and you’ll find farmers markets anywhere from Edinburgh to tiny villages in the Hebrides stocked up with them. Tiny and only grown in the wilderness of the Scottish woodlands, they’re the some of the sweetest berries I’ve ever tasted.
Take some of those strawberries and make ’em into this no-bake strawberry cheesecake (uh, yum!).
3. Plus Scotland’s other deliciously fresh produce
There are farmer’s markets errrrrrywhere.
4. Scottish seafood
Don’t argue with me on this. Scotland has Anstruther Fish Bar, one of Britain’s finest fish and chip establishments. Also, have you seen Scotland’s coast line? That’s some of the world’s best fishing, and some of the world’s best tasting fish. Scotland wins.
Those deep lochs (see: Loch Ness) and cold surrounding oceans (see: the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea) provide Scotland with all the goods necessary for some delicious and fresh fish. Salmon, haddock, trout, and mackerel are just a few readily available fish, and you can also sample Scotland’s fresh shellfish, including crab, lobster, prawns, scallops, and mussels among others. Two of Scotland’s famous Michelin restaurants located on the Isle of Skye serve some of the best seafood around, so check them out.
5. Highland cow is top quality meat
If you, like me, consider a thick slab of steak one of the best meals you could possibly ingest, you would find Scotland a wonderful place indeed (and here’s why eating meat is rad). The Highland cow, though much furrier and cuter than it’s warm weather, short-haired cousins, is known for it’s premium meat. Seriously, the meat is regarded as one of the world’s highest quality and is much lower in cholesterol than other varieties of beef, meaning in the long run, you’ll be slightly healthier for it, too.
6. Also, their milk is dank too
With a really high butterfat content, it’s supposedly one of the more delicious varieties of cow milk. Probably really good with some fresh pancakes in the morning.
7. Also, we have the great pablo
Although it’s only located in the lil’ seaside town of St Andrews. In case you needed more persuasion to visit Scotland (you really didn’t).
8. Scottish fudge is on a level of it’s own
You’d literally be the most oblivious person ever if you couldn’t figure out within ten minutes of wandering around Edinburgh’s Royal Mile that Scotland is hugely known for its fudge. I’ve gotta say, it’s a pretty delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth. But if you can’t make it to Edinburgh, here’s an easy way to make homemade chocolate fudge.
9. Glasgow is the home of the deep fried Mars bar
‘Nuff said. Here’s more delicious deep fried foods, tho.
10. Shortbread originates from Scotland
And has a better tasting cookie ever existed? Not on this planet.
11. There’s 50 million ways to eat potato, and the Scots know all of them
Did you think the Irish ate a lot of potato? Oh, just wait and see how much the Scots eat. Potatoes, otherwise known as “tatties,” are definitely cooked in every way imaginable. Save some room for the tattie scone, which will blow your mind (at least in my opinion). Scottish breakfast may be slightly horrid in 99 other ways, but the tattle scone is that proverbial bright light in the otherwise dark room.
12. Where else can you try haggis?
While I have yet to meet anybody who likes eating haggis on the regular, you have to give the Scots credit. It’s a pretty unique food. And one that proves you’re a pretty bad ass foodie, if you have the guts to try it #foodchallenge.
13. Scotland has 14 Michelin Star restaurants
For a restaurant, getting awarded a Michelin Star is basically like getting a Grammy. Like you made it. Scotland has 14 restaurants with Michelin Stars, which isn’t bad at all for such a small country.
14. It’s also the home of whisky
Whether you’re more a old fashioned kinda fan or you fancy yourself a Jack & Coke, that wouldn’t be possible without Scottish influence. According to this article, more Millennials prefer whisky over vodka. So if you don’t, you should probably get with the times.
15. Just look at this whisky marmalade
16. And have you heard about pizza crunch?
AKA deep fried pizza. Pretty freaky, pretty greasy, and not surprising at all that the Scots invented it. I mean, it’s totally the type of thing you’d want to check off your foodie bucket list, right?
17. There’s a lot of questionable food names and being able to say you’ve eaten them will make you a total #badass
Ever thought about trying festy cock or rumbledethumps? No? What about strippit baws? And we’re not joking…
18. Plus, Irn-Bru, amirite?
I literally just read an Amazon review of Irn-Bru stating that it tastes like “bottled happiness.” Now, having tried it myself before, I can’t really say I agree, but each to their own. Worth a shot, right?
19. Also, Scottish cheese is the shit
Did you know the Scottish climate is really great for making cheese? Seriously. Today, there’s over two dozen gourmet cheesemakers in Scotland. Scottish cheddar is the most popular, although there’s quite a few types unique to Scotland: including Bonnet, a pressed goat’s milk cheese from a dairy in Ayrshire, Brodick Blue, a type of ewes milk cheese from Brodick, and Peatland, a white molded soft cheese made in small quantities among others.
20. But there’s also plenty of international food too
Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen are just a few of Scotland’s cities that provide incredible international fare, whether you’re feeling some Italian, Indian, Chinese, Kurdish, Lebanese, American, and more. Just check out some of Edinburgh’s best cultural eats.
21. It’s also a great place to cure your hangover after a big night out
22. We also have Tunnock’s caramel wafer
Their caramel wafers are a mainstay in Scotland since they were created in 1890 by Thomas Tunnock. They’re so good, St Andrews even has a Tunnock wafer appreciation society.
23. Tunnock also have the world’s most famous teacake.
24. Scottish ales are pretty insane
Some top rated beers from Scotland include the locally produced Dark Island Reserve, Black Douglas Ale, and Blackfriar. You gotta try them. I mean, Scotland loves beer so much it even has a Great Scottish Beer Celebration.
25. AND Scottish gin…
According to The Scotsman, Scotland is undergoing a gin revival. And rightly so, with incredible distilleries producing incredible gins. Try some locally produced brans like NB Gin, Edinburgh Gin, Pickering’s Gin, and more.
26. Plus, the incredible Scottish tablet
It’s not fudge. But it is delicious.
27. Scotland’s so foodie, it even has a Foodie Festival
With loads of gourmet samples for you to taste, the ticket is well worth it. In fact, Edinburgh’s Foodie Festival is so big, it’s the biggest food festival in the United Kingdom. There’s everything from tea tastings to a chili eating competition, so basically everything to keep foodies occupied (and full) all day. And it’s the perfect thing to do in the summer.
28. Scottish crisps > English crisps
Local Mackie’s of Scotland Crisps have the craziest flavors. Like Scotch Bonnet Chili Pepper, Whisky & Haggis, and Butterscotch. How Scottish.
29. And whoa, Scottish lobsters…
Fun fact: Scottish lobsters are used exclusively in 20+ Michelin starred restaurants in Tokyo. They’re that good.
30. 40 bottles of Scottish whisky are shipped overseas PER SECOND.
Just kinda let that soak in for a bit.
31. Cranachan is some kinda wonderful
Cream, honey, whisky-soaked oats, and raspberries. Yes, please.
32. Ever heard of haggis hurling?
Did you know that the Scottish compete in a sport called “haggis hurling?” Yup, they compete in how far they can throw a helping of sheep’s lung. The current world record holder, Lorne Coltart, threw a 1.5 lb haggis 217 feet back in 2011. Legend.
33. Legend has it Marmalade originated from Dundee
Maybe the only great thing ever produced there. (Biased, sorry, St Andrews rivalry and all that.)
34. Legend also has it Tikki Marsala was born in Glasgow
According to the son of Ali Ahmed Aslam, who owns Glasgow’s Shish Mahal restaurant, they apparently created Tikki Marsala first. And since it’s such a huge hit ’round the world, MP Mohammad Sarwar actually put forward a motion in the House of Commons in 2009 that Tikki Marsala should be given EU protected geographical status. Unfortunately, the motion wasn’t taken any further, but #whatever ’bout it now, ’cause #Brexit.
35. If you’re a bird fan, you should try the Scottish Grouse
On 12 August, a.k.a. “the Glorious 12th,” hunters take to the woods to hunt the famous Scottish Grouse. If you’re no hunter, please see your local Scottish restaurant for some delicious cut of this famous bird.
36. Porridge is #lyfe
One of the University of St Andrews’s best traditions is Raisin, and while it’s real complex to explain it to non-St Andrews people (and honestly, I’ve got so many reasons to go I’m not going to bother, other than give you this link if you wanna know more), it’s deeply connected to porridge. And raisins (and wine, which is kinda like a raisin, right?). But porridge, yo.
37. The Scottish also drink more vodka than anyone else
Thanks, LadBible, for this glowing endorsement. Scottish people apparently consume an average of 41 bottles of vodka per year. Considering my activities (and my credit card bills) going into Sinners Wednesday’s, I kinda agree with that assessment.
Also, ever try to out drink a Scot? You can’t.
38. Robert Burns also wrote an “Ode to Haggis”
Full ode, and translation, in the link above. Scotland’s most famous poet actually loved it that much. You’re welcome.
So it must be true.
40. If you’re some kind of savage, you can even experiment with the Arbroath Smokies
A smoky haddock that is dried overnight, and only produced within a 5-mile radius of the Scottish fishing village of Arbroath, it truly is a Scottish specialty. Although not as terrifying as the dried sharks of Iceland (honestly, gross), it’s still for the adventurous. Kinda seems like a jerky fish to me, so if you’re into that, kudos.
41. Ice cream
No, really? If you thought the Italians or Ben and Jerry’s had cornered this market, you have thought wrong. Check out Nardini’s in Largs, an over 200-seat cafe, which has served ice cream since 1930. There’s even a 12-scoop Clyde Coast Extravaganza.
42. Farm shops
The abundance of sheep filled hills not only brings your heart wonder but it also should make you wonder how many farms there are in Scotland. The answer? Many. But never too many. Because those many farms also have farm shops, stocking the most delicious home grown delicacies that Scotland can offer. For a comprehensive list, click here, but if you’re in St Andrews and looking for the local farm shop, I can assure you it doesn’t get any better than Balgove Larder.
Don’t get this confused with scurvy. I might have.
But this Scottish porridge is actually a savory porridge that is eaten with oats and onions in beef dripping. Kind of like stir fry, Scottish style. It’s actually quite good and easily made, and you can even check out a recipe here.
44. Mac and cheese pie
Say whaaaaaaaat? Yeah, those came from NORTH of the English border. #Shade.
45. Also, Scotland just keeps consuming more and more alcohol, year after year.
Remember when I said you can’t out drink a Scot? Here’s proof.
46. Burns Night is just another Thanksgiving to celebrate
It’s like having your favorite top go 2 for 1 sale. For all the Americans out there, beware that they’ll try to serve you haggis on Burns Night. But still, it’s like having a second Thanksgiving, and the haggis is totally avoidable. Just stick to the mashed potatoes and you’re solid.
You can’t complete your ultimate cheeseboard without ’em. Alternatively, I’ve discovered they’re wonderful hangover cures.
48. The Great British Toastie
They’re not just limited to Scotland, but rather the entirety of the British Isles, but I love them so much I couldn’t help but include them. Srsly, I’m obsessed.
49. And you can play this “how many have you tried?” challenge for Scottish food, and who doesn’t want to do that?
50. The bridie
I like to call it the Scottish apple turnover of meat, but I’ve gotten hate for it.
51. And scotch pancakes
So good. But unfortunately, scotch not included.
52. The Scottish food blog industry is alive and well
Blog your little hearts out.
53. And this legendary quote
54. Tipsy Laird
No, not a drunk Scottish aristocrat (although God knows that St Andrews has plenty of those). It’s actually a seriously delicious dessert typically served during Burns Night supper as dessert. It’s made with Scottish whisky and raspberries… Yum.
55. We have more scone flavors than you
56. Filo pastries
They were great creations until somebody decided to put goat cheese on them and bring them to St Andrews halls dinners. Then they got butchered.
57. Gingerbread men
Yes, they originate from Scotland. Betcha didn’t know that!
58. Scotch Wehay!
A delicious liquor made from whiskey. Probably something you haven’t been able to afford on a student budget… Probably.
59. You can also live out your Man v. Food dreams here
Scotland isn’t very big, so there’s a good chance you’ll get the opportunity to try all these crazy food challenges.
60. Munchy box
Native to Glasgow, the munchy box is a genius Scottish creation that is a fusion of all the world’s most ultimate drunk foods. Often containing pizza, french fries, fried chicken, pakoras, garlic sauce, salad, and doner kebab, it’s estimated to contain more than 3000 calories. Mind blown.
It just tastes better over the border… Trust me, try Thistly Cross, which is locally produced here in Scotland.
62. Also, fun fact: drunk driving is at an all time low!
According to this article… Which is a good thing, because now you can leave the club and not be afraid of getting run over by your fellow club patrons.
63. PS, for all the Americans wondering, our drinking age is 18
Sooooo much better than 21. And if you’re 16, you can legally drink cider, beer, and wine as long as you’re also ordering food.
64. Also a bar at Scotland does this:
65. Deep fried butter balls coated in Irn Bru
Move aside, American country fairs. There’s a new country in town.
66. Scottish sausage rolls
Just like Mom’s… If your mom knew how to make Scottish foods.
67. Moray Cup
Who even knows what goes on the Highlands? They probably play the bagpipes a lot, plot the downfall of England, and drink Moray Cup. Idk mate. I’m just running out of stuff to add.
68. Haggis pakora
I mean like WTF. Much respect for those who dare to eat it.
I’m just surprised to have made it this far. I could make some jokes now but I won’t. Also, can I just take a moment to say #Hillary2016? Because a Trump presidency is just too frightening to contemplate.
70. But seriously… Scottish crofting is very cool
The Scottish Crofting Federation is committed to protecting small scale farming, which isn’t something that can be said for the US. #Monsanto, am I right ladies?
71. And the Isle of Skye is leading worldwide innovation in salt creating technique
A combination of poly tunnels and humidity control have enabled the Isle of Skye Salt Company to be the world’s first creator of salt completely from seawater – meaning no artificial power is used to create it. Which is a really good thing for Mother Nature.
73. More Scotch whisky is sold in a month in France than cognac in a year
Let that digest for a bit.
74. Scotland boasts an incredible amount of the world’s top chefs
According to Forbes, and we know that’s LEGIT.
75. Take some time and go on these food trails
The 21st century pilgrimage. So necessary.
76. Even Scotland’s most Northerly restaurant has won a food award
5 star dining inside the Arctic Circle.
77. 1 in 3 Americans believe that haggis is a real animal
It might be.
78. Basically, Scottish food is better than you’d expect
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. *Drops mic.*