I bought a haggis!
My Plaid Heart is so happy right now.
Before you say ‘eww’, what I bought isn’t actually authentic haggis. You can’t get it in the U.S. because the FDA has strict rules about consuming lungs (gross you say?). What I purchased is made with lamb breast and beef liver. And of course, the traditional oatmeal, onion, and spices that make haggis such a distinctive Scottish food. In days of old, haggis was encased in the lining of a sheep’s stomach (also a little gross – I admit), but that has also been modernized, with most haggis today presented in either an artificial casing or a casing similar to sausage. Regardless, I’m pretty excited. (And just for the record, if given the opportunitiy, yes…I would eat haggis made the traditional way.)
So where did I find this haggis, you ask. Yesterday I had a fun little excursion thanks to an advertisement I found in my “Scottish Life” magazine. Turns out, there is a wonderful Scottish food company called Scottish Gourmet USA that is based out of Greensboro, NC. What?? That’s just a stone’s throw away. I HAD to go!
Founded in 2005 by Anne Robinson (who is married to a Scottish chef and hotelier from Inverness), Scottish Gourmet USA has grown into a very profitable mail order company specializing in fine Scottish foods. In fact, they are now the biggest seller of haggis in the U.S. And according to the reviews I read, it’s easy to see why.
Because Scottish Gourmet USA is primarily catalogue based, you won’t find a fancy storefront. In fact, the business is located off the road, out of sight, in a very nondescript brick office building. One small sign (which I almost missed) points the way to the entrance. If you visit, I’d recommend navigating your way there with your GPS. They do have a small retail space so yesterday I decided to journey over. Anne herself and her sweet dog Flora were there to welcome me and after I finished looking out front, Anne kindly offered to lead me back to the stock room to peruse the shelves and coolers which were teeming with additional Scottish delights.
Here is a peek at all of the yummies that found their way into my basket.
I am very excited about my new ceramic thistle-imprinted shortbread pan. Now I can bake in real style.
I was also delighted to learn that they sell Scottish style bacon (trust me, you haven’t had bacon until you have eaten bacon made from the loin) as well as Finnan Haddie. Which means I won’t have to go all the way to Florida every time I want to make Cullen skink – haha!
What a terrific find and a fun experience. A taste of Scotland so close to home. Who knew?
Till next time, friends.