Scotland as a whole takes food and drink very seriously — so seriously, in fact, that this year marks a government initiative called the Year of Food and Drink Scotland. The goal is to spotlight and promote the country’s larder and produce through events all over the country, from a food and drink festival in Paisley to a cake festival in Edinburgh. But the yearlong initiative is only highlighting the unique cuisine that’s always available to visitors of Scotland.
Scottish producers grow 22,000 tons of strawberries annually, so visitors should be sure to sample locally grown fruit while there. Various beef breeds, like Highland and Galloway, originated in Scotland. The country is also one of Europe’s largest seafood producers. In Tokyo, Scottish lobsters are served in over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants, but visitors to Scotland have the opportunity try the delicacy before it has traveled overseas. And when it comes to drink, upwards of 109 whisky distilleries across Scotland account for 80 percent of the country’s food and drink exports — touring a whisky distillery is a prime activity for tourists to check off their bucket list.
Traditional Scottish cuisine is often considered hearty and delicious. Take the full Scottish breakfast, for example: link sausage, eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, buttered toast, baked beans, potato scones, and black pudding. Other breakfast favorites include porridge and kippers, or cold smoked herring. One warm dish popular in the winter is stovies, a stew made with meat, onions, and potatoes. As for delicious desserts that are a must for anyone visiting Scotland, there’s cranachan, made with toasted oats, honey, fresh raspberries, and whipped cream; and tablet, a sweet similar to fudge but harder, grainier, and often flavored with vanilla.