Scottish Food and Drink Guide

Traditional Scottish Food and Drink

During a visit to Inverness and Loch Ness, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in our culture and traditions is to try our local delicacies. Scottish food and drink is extremely varied, so you’re bound to find something to tickle your taste buds. Here are a few of our favourites …

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

Haggis neeps and tatties with a whisky dram

We’ll start with haggis, the national dish of Scotland. This is our most iconic dish, but sometimes people are afraid to try it as they aren’t sure what’s in it. So, let us reassure you. Haggis is simply made from lamb and/or beef, onions, oats and spices. You can also get vegetarian haggis, which contains a mix of vegetables, pulses and seeds instead of meat. This delicious, spicy pudding goes best with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes). Although, you can serve it many different ways. We’ve seen everything from haggis scotch eggs to haggis lasagne!

Scotch Whisky

Two drams of whisky in square glasses with ice on a bartop

This is Scotland’s biggest export and arguably the thing we are most famous for. The earliest written mention of whisky distillation in Scotland dates from 1494, but its origins go back even further. To be called Scotch whisky, the alcoholic drink made from water and malted barley must be distilled in Scotland and wholly aged here for at least three years. A wee dram (small measure) of whisky is the perfect accompaniment to your haggis, neeps and tatties. It’s also a great drink for toasts or a warming nightcap.

Black Pudding

Fried and sliced blood sausage or black pudding

Similar to haggis, this is another Scottish meat pudding. It is made from pork blood, sausage meat and oatmeal.

Full Scottish Breakfast

Close up of a Scottish Breakfast with sausage, egg, black pudding, tomato, bacon

A full Scottish certainly sets you up for a day of exploring. Available at most hotels and B&Bs, this traditional cooked breakfast is made up of eggs, bacon, sausage, haggis, black pudding, tattie scones, baked beans, fried tomato and mushroom.

Scottish Porridge

Scottish oatmeal porridge in a white bowl

A hearty and nutritious breakfast. Porridge in Scotland is made with oats, traditionally grown here and part of the staple diet for centuries.

Scottish Sea Food

One piece of baked salmon grilled pepper lemon and salt on a brown plate with lettuce leaves. wood background

Much of the world’s sea food, such as salmon, langoustine and lobster, comes from the North Sea and the seas west of Scotland. So where better to sample it than right here in Scotland? It doesn’t get fresher than that!

Cullen Skink

A bowl of Cullen Skink Scottish soup from above

This is a thick, creamy soup made with smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. This is a warm and hearty meal, traditionally served with bread and butter. Classic Scottish comfort food!

Cock-a-leekie Soup

Scottish Cock-a-leekie soup in white bowls

Another popular Scottish soup, cock-a-leekie has a thinner consistency, with chunks of chicken and leek and sometimes rice or barley. Traditionally, prunes were also included, but they are often left out of modern recipes.

Tablet

Squares of Scottish tablet piled on a plate

Time for something sweet. Tablet is a bit like fudge, but with a more brittle and crumbly consistency. Great with a tea or coffee after dinner. Or a sugar hit at any time of the day.

Shortbread

Pile of Scottish shortbread on a white plate

This buttery, crumbly biscuit (cookie) is a popular treat in Scotland. Especially around the festive season!

Cranachan

Scottish dessert with cream, raspberries. oats and whisky

This traditional dessert was originally a celebration of harvest, made after the summer raspberry harvest. Cranachan is a bit like Eton Mess, but made with Scottish raspberries, cream, oats and whisky.

Scottish Cheese

Selection of cheeses on a board

There are many delicious Scottish cheeses to try, including several artisan and farmhouse varieties. Whether you like a fine smoked cheddar, a strong blue, or a soft brie, you’ll find it here. Many restaurants will offer a cheese board on their dessert menu, where you can sample a selection of fine Scottish cheeses, usually served with oatcakes.

Deep Fried Mars Bar

A neon sign saying Deep Fried Mars Bars

The tradition of deep frying Mars Bars (chocolate and caramel bars) is a fairly recent one, which started in Scottish chip shops in the 1990s. The chocolate bar is coated in batter and deep fried in very hot oil. It might not sound very appetising, but we say don’t knock it til you try it!

Irn Bru

Orange drink being poured into a glass with ice

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic Scottish drink, Irn Bru is for you! This fizzy soft drink has been around since 1901 and is extremely popular here in Scotland. It’s hard to put a finger on the exact flavour (it actually contains 32 flavours) but it is orange, sweet and fizzy. Don’t be confused if the locals call it juice – that’s just our word for fizzy drink.