26 August 2019

Edinburgh's Must-Do Secret Food Tour

Have you ever wondered what traditional Scottish cuisine is like? That's exactly why I love joining food tours. It's such a fantastic way to discover a new city or place and learn all about what the best local food is.

I joined a Secret Food Tour last year in Berlin and absolutely loved it, so when I saw they did one in Edinburgh too, I just had to sign up!

Secret Food Tours are an award-winning company that run foodie tours all over the world. They share a love and passion for food and show you the best locally-owned and off the beaten path foodie spots.

I love that in three hours, your small group not only learns about what and where to eat, you also get a great walking tour of the city highlights, packed full of history and interesting facts. It really is the perfect introduction to a city.

A Scottish Foodie Experience

The tour meeting point at St Giles Cathedral is very easy to find, with clear instructions in the email you get sent upon booking. The guide carries an orange umbrella which is easy to spot. 

Our lovely tour guide was Emma who introduced herself and told us what to expect from our upcoming tour. We headed off on a short walk to our first foodie stop of the day, which happened to be on my favourite street in Edinburgh - Victoria Street (see header photo).

Stop #1

We stepped inside an inviting, cosy restaurant and had a table waiting for us. Here we tried a dish I had never heard of before, Cullen Skink. It's a traditional thick Scottish fish soup made of smoked haddock, potatoes and onions. It was absolutely delicious and perfectly paired with the most amazing bread.

It's light and creamy with a subtle smoked fish taste and I enjoyed it so much I kept an eye out for it on menus while continuing my travels throughout Scotland. 

Stop #2

Next up, we headed to a popular restaurant a few minutes walk away. This place was well-known for haggis, which was exactly what we were about to have. This was a Scottish dish I had actually heard of and I was a bit nervous trying it, but, when in Scotland!

It was beautifully presented in layers with the haggis on the bottom and neeps (turnip) and tatties (potatoes) on top. Haggis, for those that don't know, is a traditional Scottish dish containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal and different spices.

I ate about a third of it but the flavour was a bit strong for me. I really liked the mashed veggie layers with the gravy though! If you're a bit hesitant in trying it they also offer a vegetarian version which is said to be delicious.

After two sit-down dishes, we were off for a welcome walk throughout the Old Town. We heard some fascinating historical stories, one even in a graveyard, walked through Grassmarket, passed the oldest pub in town and headed up towards Edinburgh Castle with a stunning view. We walked down the famous Royal Mile a bit before arriving at our next stop.

Stop #3

I was happily surprised to found out we were going to be sampling Scotch Whisky - quintessentially Scottish! We tried an award-winning 12-year old Lowland single malt and were shown how to sample it correctly and how we can add single drops of water to change it to our taste. 

Emma also pulled out a box of Scottish tablet which is original 'fudge' before America made their own version of it. It was sweet and melt-in-the-mouth and great paired with the strong whisky. It was a fun and sociable stop!

We then headed to the bottom-end of the Royal Mile for a sweet sampling.

Stop #4

Fudge, glorious fudge. We visited the UK’s top luxury, artisan fudge retailer where they've been using traditional methods to create their original special recipe fudge for over 35 years.

We were allowed to go crazy and try as many different flavours of their hand-made fudge as we liked. I tried a few and they were all indulgent and delicious. I loved the chilli-chocolate fudge so much I had to buy a piece, and we were given a special foodie tour discount.

Stop #5

Close by, we entered another lively and popular spot and had a seat. We were presented with a stunning cheeseboard platter of four different types of cheese, oatcakes, grapes and chutney.

They were all local Scottish cheese and we had a Clava Brie, Applewood smoked cheddar, Isle of Mull extra mature cheddar and a Strathdon Blue.

I highly enjoyed each different type - even the blue cheese which I normally detest, and I absolutely loved the brie - it's the best brie I've ever had (sorry, France).

It was so good I even went back a second time during my time in Edinburgh and ordered another platter for myself!

Stop #6

Our final stop of the day was at a lovely little cafe where we had some very British tea and scones. The scones weren't amazing or anything but by then I was so full I didn't really mind. The tea was nice and it was a good way to finish up the tour.

Everyone was highly satisfied after a fantastic three hours of trying so many highlights of Edinburgh's top cuisine.

Emma gave us a lot of great restaurant recommendations and sightseeing tips as well which were very welcome. 

The Details

Tour: Secret Food Tours Edinburgh

Reviews: 5/5 stars from 147 reviews on Trip Advisor

Price: £59 per adult (US$72)

Times: Daily at 12 PM and 4:30 PM

Final Thoughts

I highly enjoyed eating my way through the streets of Old Town Edinburgh and was impressed by the range of cuisine we tried. I loved being shown so many popular foodie spots from a local and everything we tried was fresh and full of flavour.

The tour was perfectly balanced, with a decent amount of walking and seeing many city highlights as we went along.

Our guide Emma was very friendly and informative, we all learnt a lot about the history of each dish as well as some great facts and historical stories about Edinburgh throughout the tour.

The generous portions make this tour excellent value for money, you certainly don't need to eat breakfast or eat much for dinner on the same day!

I highly recommend this Secret Food Tour if you are visiting Edinburgh, it was a fantastic foodie experience and a top highlight of my recent time there.

Pin it! :)

Do check out their other tours offered all over the world too!

Happy Travels,

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