Last year when a friend mentioned that Ed Sheeran was playing in Scotland this summer, I bought cheap pit tickets and figured I’d plan a trip around it. Paired with my love of Outlander, the plan was bulletproof.
And despite not planning anything else before arriving (except for said concert and the obvious plan to call every non-Scot a Sassenach), the week in Scotland was amazing. Here are some things I did and ate and saw.
Alright, if I’m being honest…I wasn’t expecting much from Scottish food. Which made it all the more exciting when most of the food I ate happened to be delicious! Sure, they have some off-putting national dishes (looking at you, black pudding and haggis), but they make up for it with ample fried halloumi and lentils and truffle potatoes!
While I didn’t dare try *actual* haggis, this vegetarian rendition – with potatoes, lentils, and gravy (and served with neeps & tatties) – was a game changer (I’ll be in the kitchen working on a recreation of it soon)!I also jumped at the chance to order a vegetarian Scottish breakfast wherever possible. The grilled portobellos were heavenly, and don’t get me started on the vegetarian Scotch eggs!
With green pastures galore, Scotland is also known for their milk and dairy. So it was obviously in the name of research that I had to try some award-winning Alandas gelato in Edinburgh.
And in the same vain, we had to try out all the scones and treats Scotland has to offer at a high tea in the historic Willow Tea Rooms of Glasgow.
Not every meal was a success. I was so excited at the idea of “vegan fish and chips” that I dragged our group to Bertie’s Proper Fish & Chips in Edinburgh for dinner. What I got was a slimy deep fried slice of eggplant that will decidedly not be hitting the blog anytime soon.
Where Scotland may lack in diversity of foods, they certainly don’t fall short in the whiskey department. The Scottish Whiskey Experience in Edinburgh walked us through the sensory aspects of each whiskey region in Scotland (and for two sensory scientists like us, we were in heaven).
We also dove deep into the Harry Potter lore of Edinburgh. With streets and buildings that inspired Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, a few “potions” at The Department Of Magic sealed the deal.
When I wasn’t hopping from restaurant to bar and back again, I was walking all over Edinburgh and Glasgow. A few highlights were:
Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano in Edinburgh that served both the purpose of giving us some gorgeous views of the city, while also working off the scones.
The Edinburgh Castle, an obvious to-do while in the city.
An Outlander Tour, which shamelessly brought us to many of the filming locations from the show, led by a kilted Scottish man, no less.
Wandering Old Town Edinburgh, led by free walking tours to show us hidden gems.
And that was a week in Scotland! I’m back in the kitchen now, listening to Scottish music while figuring out exactly how to make a vegan black pudding. Thanks for reading, Sassenachs!
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