As a vegetarian, I was slightly concerned about traveling in the country known for haggis and salmon. I soon learned that I needn’t have been.
Breakfast was consistent in every inn: start with fruit, then toast (and cold cereal, if you like), porridge appears next, followed by a plate of eggs, beans, sautéed mushrooms and tomatoes along with potato scones (which are somewhere in between hash browns and a pancake). Had we been meat-eaters, there would have also been sausage, bacon and a small piece of meat pie. I loved it when our hostess at the farm in Largs kept looking at us with a wistfully sorry look when we couldn’t finish everything. She just didn’t seem to think we’d had enough.
Lunches varied as we traveled, but there was no lack of vegetarian food. We had lunch one day at the Culloden Battlefield (Drunmossie Moor). The menu listed Macaroni and Cheese with Seasonal Leaves. I thought they were meaning some kind of herbs in the casserole. The Mac and Cheese was superb! Full and creamy and the cheese was tangy and tasted incredibly good. This did not come from a blue box! The “leaves” were a wonderful mix of lettuces, most of which I have never seen before, lightly dressed in an herb (pronounce the”h”, please) French dressing. A year later, I would make a special point to return and was so pleased to find that they were still serving the Mac and Cheese! (It was a lovely woman at the café there who suggested that I ask for steamed milk for my decaf. Nescafe is the best they seem to be able to do over there for decaf coffee, and the steamed milk makes it almost palatable!)
Our dinners were at tea time, and we had all sorts of wonderful combinations of fresh veggies and cheeses always served with flair. One of my favorites was a huge fig filled with mascarpone cheese and grilled. Laird Kyle is also a vegetarian, but on my second trip over, my friend, who is not a vegetarian, started eating what I had after the first day because she saw that what I was getting was better than the meat dishes.
We loved the camembert and goat cheese rolled in herbs and bread crumbs and pan fried, served with a cranberry and port wine sauce. We found this in different cheese and sauce combinations at various places, all of them delicious. Veggies grilled, sautéed baked and broiled.
At one inn, we chose to have the vegetarian haggis. Now if you know what haggis is, you’ll wonder how it could be created for a vegetarian. It’s a self-cancelling phrase. If you don’t know what haggis is, I won’t explain it here…you probably don’t want to know anyway. Haggis, we were told, is always served with Tatties and neeps and usually has a “wee dram o Whisky” poured over it. I had to admit that I had never liked the taste of whisky, but when in Rome…
It was marvelous! The haggis was basically ground herbs (still got the “h” going?) and grains, much like a dressing at Thanksgiving. Tatties are mashed potatoes and neeps are what called turnips in the UK but are are known as rutabagas in the US. It came with string beans, carrots, boiled new potatoes roasted in herbs and almonds (yes, more potatoes). They also brought out a plate of chips (French fries) just so make certain we had enough to eat.