Presumably, traditional Scots were too busy to worry about tasty fare: their fish, game, vegetables and dairy products all enjoyed a simplicity derived from a lack of imported spices.
By no means are we saying that food in Edinburgh is bland and unpalatable; quite the contrary!
The lack of foreign spices and flavours is merely due to those imports costing too much.
The wealth of food choices and abundance of wild game made Scots' larders overflow with good things to cook and eat.
Furthermore, the country's long coastline provided ample fishing and other seafood, which is a staple of the Scottish diet still today.
All of this suited the early Scots well. They were nomadic, wandering from the coast to inland, depending on the season, and their land's bounty provided them well.
Even when agriculture was introduced, sometime in the second century of this current era, and oats became a part of the staple diet, clever Scots quickly figured how to make porridge and cakes from the bit of oats they carried with them as they wandered.
One school of thought proclaims that the Scots' signature dish, haggis, originated in this manner.
Low quality meat portions and other ingredients, conveniently wrapped in the animal's stomach, made for easy carrying and were ready to make a meal at a moment's notice once the day's migration was done.
As resistant as we are today at the idea of eating so-called offal, haggis is nevertheless immensely popular, even reaching distant shores in a new export initiative.
Why don't we find out where in Edinburgh we can learn to make it?
Edinburgh New Town Cookery School
Whether you aspire to become a professional chef in a fine commercial kitchen, or you just want to become a great chef in your own home, this cooking school has a course for you.
You would have your choice of evening classes, day-long events; week-long or an entire professional curriculum, learning everything from knife skills to pastry making, with food hygiene and wine matching thrown in for good measure.
Besides their assortment of cooking courses targeted to the avid foodie, they also host kids' cooking classes and provide team building activities for corporate groups, all within their 5-storey facility.
Select your cooking demonstration according to your taste!
You can choose between Mediterranean cuisine – flavours from Spain, Indian curry and other Asian favourites: Japanese, Thai or Vietnamese food.
Because of strong cultural ties between Scotland and France, the Auld Alliance as it is called, aspects of French cuisine feature prominently on the Scottish food landscape.
In that spirit, you might select French cooking as your desired course, or maybe making pâtisserie – delicate cakes.
Should you worry that everything is about food with these cooking instructors, no need for fear!
Have you been introduced to the wonders of the Aga cooker? Might you have one in your kitchen, and wish you could make full use of it?
You can learn everything you would ever want to know about your Aga, as well as learning how to use a knife properly – and which knife to select for which kitchen chore, and culinary skills that revolve around building and maintaining a healthy diet.
How could you go wrong with New Town Cookery School?
Yes, they can even teach you how to make a satisfying haggis!
For any aspiring chefs wanting to get busy in the kitchen, home cooks to gourmet houses, there is no end to the outlets where you can learn everything from baking bread to the art of food presentation in and around Edinburgh!
Search for "cooking classes near me" to find more schools and private tutors to learn to cook savoury Scottish dishes!
Edinburgh School of Food and Wine
Just a few miles outside of the city's limits, in an old coach house, you will find this facility on the grounds of Newliston House.
There, you can learn how to cook for your next dinner party, or for a diploma.
Edinburgh School of Food and Wine, or ESFW, as they are known, offer amateur chefs day courses, or intensive courses for anyone desiring a career in the food and hospitality industry.
During the summer, your child(ren) may discover the delight of combining ingredients.
Other times of the year, during the day, or on the weekend, you may take your place in the kitchen to learn how to prepare:
- Thai food
- French food
- Mexican food
- Italian food
- British food
- Mediterranean food
Besides those distinctive cuisines, they offer a class for men only, as well as how to plan and prepare food for a dinner party, and how to barbecue.
NOTE: the barbecue course is not limited to men only!
Besides these, you can try your hand at preparing Scottish seasonal food, or pick up some adventurous and time saving slow cooker recipes.
Should you wish to try out their cuisine before committing to any course, you might participate in their five-course food and wine matching dinner, where you can sample a set menu in a convivial environment of an evening.
Note: they also host corporate and team building events, which include a dinner and a Cocktail Masterclass.
Who doesn't like a good cocktail before dinner? What a great addition to your hosting repertoire!
You can find their contact information on this page, which lists cooking schools throughout the UK and Scotland.
Anyone pressured with today's living most likely treats cooking at home as an occasion. Dining out could also be a feast, if you know where to go.
Fine Dining in Edinburgh
What food strikes your fancy on any given day or night? Would you rather feast on fish and seafood, or would more hearty selections suit you?
Do you feel like only special circumstances warrant a meal out at some fabulous eatery? An anniversary, a promotion or a visit from out of town relatives?
Where would you take them, on this special night: your neighbourhood pub, or some place that serves other than authentic Scottish fare?
While it is easy to get caught up in all of the glitzy, touristy places that seem perpetually crowded, for a unique dining experience in Edinburgh, it is exactly the places that visitors to the city know nothing about that appeal the most.
So, if your out of town relatives recommend a place they found on Trip Advisor, you have the clout to dissuade them, suggesting instead:
The Grain Store
Meat and fish are integral to Scottish cuisine. Therefore, in any experience of fine dining, you would expect nothing but the best beef, lamb or venison... right?
You would certainly find it here, along with complementary side dishes of locally sourced produce, all exquisitely prepared.
Everything, from the bread to the pasta, and the sumptuous desserts, is made in-house.
Food preparation and presentation go hand in hand with atmosphere.
That means that this fine dining experience is made all the more special by the fact that the candlelit room with bare brick walls overlooks Victoria Street, a stone's throw from the castle.
What if you are in a touristy area and feel hungry for haggis?
Wedgewood the Restaurant
Situated on the Royal Mile, you would think that those chefs' take on cooking would be satisfy the masses with cheap cookery, and let that tourist money roll in!
In fact, this award winner restaurateur continuously raises the bar on wholesome and quality food production and service.
Perhaps one of the most beguiling aspects of their fare is the foraged ingredients.
Salad leaves, berries and herbs routinely make their appearance on diners' plates, generally to much acclaim.
Another interesting feature of this dining experience is the allotted Deciding Time, to look over the expansive menu, while nibbling on the provided canapés and sipping a complimentary champagne.
What if cordon bleu, haute cuisine and canapes aren't your scene?
If you are a pizza enthusiast looking for a night out, you could hardly go wrong here!
Voted the best pizza restaurant in the UK, Vittoria Group has several establishments open around Edinburgh, but La Favorita – The Favourite takes our vote!
Trendy with its black tables and bright lights, nevertheless it bakes its pies in a wood fired oven, to give their ultra-thin crusts a special flavour.
Topped with just the right amount of cheese, under which your preferred meats and veg lie, you may be tempted to ask Chef Tony to teach you how to make them!
An entertaining and memorable experience – for your family or your visitors, can involve anything from dining on delicious foods in any of Edinburgh's fine houses, or getting hands on and doing the cooking yourself.
Whichever avenue you choose will show you to have a passion for Scottish food, as only can be had in Edinburgh.
And, if you learn how to cook those signature dishes, your guests will surely heap praise on your efforts!
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