Scotland’s foodie revolution couldn’t have been better timed and brings in a whole host of very welcome changes to the culinary scene. As well as changing the image of Scottish restaurants, it is boldly re-setting expectations and entrenched thinking about what Scotland is really all about.
Challenging the stereotypes
When a lot of people think of Scottish food, three things come to mind: haggis, porridge and deep-fried Mars bars! It’s an unfair stereotype but like the French love of garlic and the German love of sausage, it’s one that came about before anyone remembers and has sadly stuck fast. The thing is that Scottish seafood is amongst the most respected worldwide, the restaurants now are phenomenally good and the list of food with protected status just keeps on growing….
Anyone in Edinburgh who knows what’s good for them will be familiar with “The Kitchin”, so spelt not to convey a sense of a Scottish brogue but as a play on the head chef’s name: Tom Kitchin. This Michelin-starred restaurant now has over a decade of experience under its belt and continues to serve up the best that Scotland has to offer, all prepared using time-honoured French methods. Oysters prepared three ways, Venison Tartare and Pig’s Head & Langoustine are typical products of the Kitchin’s kitchen as they all illustrate that combination of invention on the one hand and reverence for tradition on the other.
Then of course there’s The Balmoral hotel with its attached restaurant aptly named Number One. The exquisite menu here includes such treats as cured goose foie gras, French rabbit with white asparagus and ginger pannacotta. In fact it’s only really rivalled by the rooms and suites which are sumptuous beyond measure. In fact this is the sort of hotel it’s best not to stay in unless you want to feel compelled to renovate your own abode when you return; this place is always bound to inspire you to get onto a tasteful supplier like Bedstar and have a luxurious revamp!
Foods with protected status
In addition to the fine dining, there are now a total of fourteen Protected Food names registered in Scotland. There are the classics such as Scotch Beef and Scottish Farmed Salmon, which sell particularly well across Scotland, Britain and further afield and then there are the most cherished items: probably Scottish Wild Salmon, or perhaps Arbroath Smokie, the speciality smoked haddock of Arbroath. Less well-known are the wonderfully rich Stornoway Black Pudding and the four cheeses: Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop Cheese, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, Teviotdale Cheese and Bonchester Cheese.
All in all there’s so much going on with Scottish cuisine at the moment that it’s actually quite hard to keep track of. What’s certain though is that the future is looking very bright and that the awkward stereotypes will no doubt soon be consigned to history.