Well what a surprise!
Recently I travelled north into Scotland to join some friends from previous adventures (including the Vancouver based founder of Hot Sauces) who were walking the West Highland Way. After a leisurely first day (with the mandatory whisky tasting stop) we found ourselves at the Winnock Hotel at Drymen studying their menu.
Before committing to one of their three offerings (Steak and Ale, Haggis with Peppercorn Sauce, Venison with Red Wine) I enquired that the pies were indeed made and cooked on the premises – Affirmative! Ok – So Im in Scotland so it had to be the Haggis Pie!
Now I’ll be honest, Haggis is not something I think I have ever tried before or have thought I have desperately missed – I wasn’t even sure what it was (actually it is made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs minced with oatmeal, onion, suet and spices), an interesting combination, so Haggis Pie it was then.
I ordered it without the mash or vegetables (thinking there may be room for more tastings later!) and my initial reactions when it arrived were all positive. This was a large deep pie, made of a buttery thick puff pastry that didn’t flake and crumble when cut. It was cooked to a perfect golden brown with no ‘soggy bottom’. The top was split slightly to allow the ample filling to ooze out. This certainly wasn’t a case of all pastry and no filling, it was well and truly a fully stuffed pie!
And so to my first ever taste of Haggis. Well, what a surprise (to me)! I’m not really sure what I was expecting but it was really nice. – It reminded me of the old Guinness advert – “I don’t like, because I haven’t tried it”. This pie was excellent, filled with perfectly formed minced Haggis with just the right amount of seasoning and spices that gave it a lovely peppery bite. Each mouthful was consistent, and the size of the pie meant there were many.
It was served with a peppercorn sauce that absolutely complimented the Haggis. Although the pie wasn’t dry and could have been eaten on its own, the sauce gave it an extra dimension and extra complementing flavours. So much so that when we pondered our next course, another round of Haggis Pies was right up there.
I would definately consider heading back to Drymen on the West Highland Way just to sample this pie again, it was excellent (as evidenced by my empty plate), and I recommend everyone try a good offering of Haggis (preferably in a pie)at least once in their lifetime.
A surprised and delighted 9.1
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