Despite an abundance of world-renowned local dishes and a bountiful larder to boot, there is one delicacy which has become famous for being eaten in Scotland. Yes Scotland has fantastic Michelin-starred dining and specialist food trails to tempt taste buds, however, we are also well-known for our love of somewhat bizarre culinary traditions and I am not talking haggis.
Ah yes, the deep-fried Mars bar. Having never eaten one before, and never having planned to, the decision only came about on a recent trip to dramatic Dunnottar Castle near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. On passing The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, the huge sign stating ‘birthplace of the world famous deep fried Mars bar’ was too hard to miss and it was concluded that we would check one off the bucket list.
Having now been in existence for over 20 years, the legend of this deep-fried confectionery supposedly began in this very fish shop, then named the Haven Chip Shop. It would seem that this all came about as the consequence of a school time dare, where two pupils of Mackie Academy challenged each other to eat various unusual items, which led on to the creation of a battered Mars bar.
So what is it like? It is a curious mix of sweet and savory, crispy and fluffy. One friend described it as a sumptuous, heated Tunnocks Teacake. The other said it was like gooey, overcooked chocolate. Overall, it was surprisingly nice, but after a bite or so, I had had enough and I don’t think I will ever feel the need to try another one!
If this sounds like something you would enjoy, or if the thought of it turns your stomach, be sure to make a trip to Stonehaven all the same. Just 5 minutes outside the town you will find Dunnottar Castle, a ruined fortress from the mid-14th century, set on a stunning cliff top with fantastic North Sea views. And if castles are what interest you, Aberdeenshire has more castles per acre than anywhere else in the UK, with 300 to choose from – no wonder it is known as Castle Country. You can find out more about Scotland’s Castle Trail here.