What did I also discover during my trip to Scotland? All that highlands & islands walking across hills and ancient sites is not only helped by a hearty Scottish breakfast in the morning but by satisfying my appetite in the evenings tucking into locally caught fish, meat pies, Scotch eggs, haggis rolls or a steaming bowl of hearty Cullen Skink, all washed down with a few pints of draft lager. Yes, I enjoyed a culinary trip as well!
Speaking of dinner, fish & chips are king in Scotland with meat pies coming in a close second. My husband and I enjoyed an incredible dinner at the Kilmartin Hotel in Argyle, recommended to us by the innkeepers at the Olde Manse B&B, on our first night in mainland Scotland. This plate of fresh-caught Scottish haddock was batter dipped, fried to perfection and served with crispy steak-cut fries.
My husband opted for one of the many varieties meat pie found around the countryside. This one was rich stewed beef sandwiched between two layers of fluffy puff pastry and served with his favorite – mushy peas, a UK tradition. And, of course, we enjoyed a sticky toffee pudding for dessert.
Throughout the trip, I sampled other Scottish favorites including fish cakes at the Hotel Hebrides in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris. Don’t think those frozen ones mom used to heat up for a quick dinner on busy nights. These fish cakes were delectable, lightly bread-crumbed delights made in-house from fresh haddock, cod or salmon and fresh mashed potatoes. Haggis pizza was also a treat found here.
Another stomach-warming traditional dish on cold April evenings, was Cullen Skink, a creamy soup made from locally smoked haddock, butter, cream and mashed potatoes, served with crusty bread or rolls. This tasty bowl was enjoyed at the Kilchoman Farm Distillery, one of only 3 modern distilleries on Islay and the 1st built in over 124 years which is revitalizing the making of single-malt whiskey in the traditional way: growing the barley, malting & peat-smoking it in-house then distilling, aging (in American oak bourbon barrels) & bottling at the distillery.
Scotland, a land of magnificent desolate islands, 120 single-malt distilleries, prehistoric ruins, majestic snow-capped mountains, lochs, ancient castles and local hearty fare should be on your bucket list. I’m glad it was on mine.