Destinations UK

Eight Tastes of Scotland

When you think of Scotland and its culinary offerings, haggis, porridge or deep-fried Mars bars might well spring to mind.

However, Scotland has a far more diverse range of goodies to offer locals and visitors alike. Premier Inn has taken a closer look at Scottish food and drink and discovered some interesting facts about some delicious ‘delicacies’ that should be tried when north of the border.


Many traditional dishes from around the world have been assigned strange names and Rumbledethumps is no exception. The dish is similar to English bubble and squeak and is made from Sunday roast leftovers with the main ingredients being potato, cabbage and onion.

The history of the name is strangely unknown but it is thought to have originated from the old-fashioned culinary term to ‘rumble’ which means to scramble, mash or pound together vegetables. It is only referred to as Rumbledethumps in the Scottish borders and is known as Kailkenny in Aberdeenshire.

Heather Ale


Leann Fraoch (meaning Heather Ale) is an original craft beer which, reportedly, has been brewed in Scotland since 2000BC using an ancient Gaelic recipe. Williams Brothers Brewing Company has been guardians of the method (which is inspired by a 17th-century recipe) since 1988 and is the only brewery to produce and distribute this unique style of beer worldwide.

Leann Fraoch relies heavily on the seasons for harvesting heather and the original brew was made in Taynuilt in Argyll and Bute. It is described as a light amber ale which has a floral, yet peaty, aroma with a full malt character and a spicy herbal finish.

Tunnock’s Bakery

Born in Uddinston, Thomas Tunnock (of Tunnock’s Bakers) remains one of Scotland’s best-loved bakers. He built his reputation by delivering warm rolls around the village and being the go-to man for local wedding catering. In 1906 he branched out and opened Tunnock’s Tearoom which you can still visit today.

However, it was his son Archie who developed and created the world famous Tunnock’s caramel wafer biscuit in 1952, shortly followed by the Tunnock’s Teacake in 1956. Should you wish to see the magic in the making, a factory tour is available but these are highly sought-after and are currently fully booked until 2017!

Haggis and Burns


Famous Scottish poet Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland and is so loved and admired in his home country, and further afield, that a supper is held for him annually to celebrate his life and work. These occasions can range from formal, low-key gatherings to uproarious rave-ups, but they all have three things in common – eating haggis, reading Burns and drinking good Scottish whisky.

For those who cannot stomach eating Haggis (offal, oatmeal and onions wrapped in a lambs stomach), the meal can be made vegan and veggie so no one need miss out.

Irn Bru

Cans of Irn Bru

Produced in North Lanarkshire, Iru Bru, the non-alcoholic, fizzing, luminous orange drink, has been the number one best-seller in Scotland for generations. It even out-sells Coca-Cola and is considered Scotland’s national drink after whisky. Launched in 1901 it continues to be made to a secret recipe which boasts 32 flavours.

This is only ever known by three people in the world at any one time, including the board director whose identity remains confidential to protect the secret.

Ayrshire Dunlop

With so many varieties of cow grazing the lush hills of Scotland, is it any wonder the cheese they produce is so very well-regarded? Traditional Ayrshire Dunlop is one of eight cheeses produced by the Dunlop Dairy and named after the nearby village of Dunlop. Similar to cheddar it is hard-pressed but exhibits a little more moisture.

As a young cheese it has a mild nutty flavour with a smooth, close texture but when mature the flavour develops and delivers a good strength with a slight sharpness. The making of Dunlop cheeses dates back to the 1700s when Barbara Gilmour, a farmer’s wife started making it at the Hill Farm Dunlop. Her secret was to use whole fat milk where previously skimmed milk was used.

Arbroath Smokies

Arbroath kippers being smoked in the traditional way

Smoked salmon may be a famous Scottish export but to experience something a little more rustic one should look no further than an Arbroath smoked herring, known to all as Arbroath Smokies. These are a real local delicacy made within a five-mile radius of the east coast town of Arbroath although they are enjoyed far further afield.

Folklore says that the original Smokie was created when herring, hanging out to dry, were caught in a house fire which unintentionally smoked the fish as it burned to the ground. On sifting through the debris the newly created Smokies were found, and then eaten.

Dundee Cake

Dundee Cake

The famous Scottish fruitcake was created in the late 1700s under the roof of Janet Keiller and then mass-produced in the 1900’s by her company Keiller’s. It is said that Mary Queen of Scots disliked glacé cherries in her cake so the Dundee cake was made replacing cherries with blanched almonds – just for her.

It’s become so synonymous with Dundee that the Scottish government recently tried to grant the famous cake a Protected Geographical Indicator (PGI) which would mean that only bakers following the agreed recipe and baking and decorating it within the area could use the name.

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