I Heart Haggis
Charnah travels to Scotland to taste her roots
I’ve always had an affinity with Scotland as a large portion of my heritage is rooted there. Growing up in Zimbabwe and hearing of my ‘exotic’ Scottish forefathers made me interested in what Scotland — a country filled with rich culture and a deep sense of self — has to offer. I was excited to try the foods of my ancestors, prepared according to centuries-long traditions passed on from generation to generation.
Before journeying up to Scotland, I’d heard lots about its modern and traditional delicacies: deep-fried battered Mars bars, flavoursome haggis and tasty neeps and tatties, none of which I’d tasted before.
On my arrival in Edinburgh, I was in awe of the variety of food options. As a multicultural city, I was able to dig in to various dishes from all across the globe, from Italian to Japanese, Indian to classic South American plates, but I had a mission: to sample the food Scotland is most famous for.
I ventured into a local restaurant, determined to try something authentically Scottish. I ordered my first full Scottish breakfast and my plate arrived piled with two sausages, rashers of bacon, fried tomato, black pudding, egg, toast and the Scottish delicacies I had been most impatient for: haggis and a tattie scone.
It was great! I would absolutely have haggis and tattie scones again. Haggis is lamb, beef, oats and spices minced together to make a tasty dish that reminded me of stuffing. The tattie scones were a great accompaniment, softening the rich flavours of the various meats and adding a new balancing texture to the dish.
I was also impressed by the the vegetarian option that too was generously packed with the great unique Scottish flavours. It was an amalgamation of various healthy fresh veg, mushrooms, pulses, oats, onions, spices and seeds. A twist on a traditional dish that can be enjoyed by all.
Over the course of the next few days I stuffed my face with various Scottish treats like macaroni pie, a variety of Scottish tablet and even tasted my fair share of whisky and local beer such as Paolozzi and Benromach, but nothing (even though everything was delicious in their own right) rivalled that first revelatory experience that Scottish breakfast gave me.
Spending time there was exciting and a great personal experience. The Scots know how to tell a story, and some of their best national stories are told through their unique, rich, generous and unforgettable food.