Even though you don’t often hear about foodies travelling to Scotland to local cuisine, Scotland has some very delicious (albeit very heavy) food. Indeed, I’ve had enough interesting meals here to fill an entire blog, so I’m thinking of starting semi-regular cuisine feature here at MarieontheMove.
And I can’t think of a better way to start a food feature than with Haggis.
Probably the most famous Scottish dish, Haggis is a bit mysterious; lots of locals don’t seem to exactly what’s in the stuff! However, thanks to a very knowledgeabletour guide, I know haggis is made from sheep’s offal (or all the bits that you wouldn’t normally eat- eg. Lungs), mixed with oats and spices.
The dish's cooking method is just as unusual as it's ingredients- haggis is boiled inside the sheep’s stomach for up to three hours. When finished, the meat is removed from the stomach and served over neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes), with a hearty dollop of gravy on top.
I’ll admit that I’ve tried a wee bite of haggis (it’s the only time I’ve eaten meat since becoming a vegetarian in 2009), and quite enjoyed it. It’s savory and a bit spicy- it reminded me pleasantly of my grandmother’s hamburger gravy, with a bit more pizzaz.
Since this experience, I’ve also sampled “vegetarian haggis,” served on panini bread in a charming little tea shop. This vegetarian version of the traditional dish includes veggies, beans, and lentils, in place of the offal. It's every bit as delicious as the real thing, and available at many pubs, café’s and restaurants throughout Edinburgh. Henderson's, the new town's popular vegetarian restaurant, even offers a recipe for veggie haggis on their website.