French cookbook published to celebrate Scottish cuisine

But now French foodies can recreate Scottish cuisine at home after a pair of French women living in Edinburgh published a Scottish cookbook.

Scotlandwhich covers 60 recipes written in French, from Cranachan (“Raspberry verrine”) to Soupe Cock-a-leekie (“Chicken and prune broth”), is now sold throughout France after being published by a major house of French edition.

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Author Sarah Lachhab, from Alsace, and photographer Aurelie Bellaccico, from Paris, who have both lived in Scotland for six years, came up with the idea for the cookbook after becoming frustrated by some French people’s attitude towards Scottish cuisine.

Ecosse is available in bookstores throughout France.

Ms Bellaccico said: “I was annoyed that every day my family and friends made fun of me for living in Scotland, saying the food is disgusting. I said to them, ‘You’ve never been in Scotland” and that I “I ate really good food here. There were some amazing recipes I was trying in restaurants so I was a bit annoyed that Scottish food had such a bad reputation.”

Ms Lachhab, who works in tourism, said: “As a tour guide, I welcome French speakers to Scotland. They all come in saying, ‘Oh, we’re not here to eat, we know we’re going to have bad food. We’re just here for the scenery. Then during the trip they eat so many good things and then at the end they tell me they loved the desserts, the fresh fish, the vegetables – everything. They asked me how could they find out more about Scottish food and there was nothing in French that actually addressed that.

During the lockdown, the couple started a blog featuring Scottish dishes and found it to be popular. They put together a few recipes and sent them to publishers. The idea was quickly snapped up by La Martinière, the fourth French publisher. They have already had to launch another draw, after the first sold out in a few weeks.

“From the first weekend, the publisher told us that the stock was already going fast,” Ms. Lachhab said. “Hopefully we’ll have another reprint before Christmas as well.”

Sarah Lachhab and Aurelia Belaccico wanted to change the French perception of Scottish cuisine.

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While they couldn’t omit Scotland’s national dish, deciding how to teach French cooks how to create haggis was a hurdle – however, Ms Lachhab offered an alternative – a vegetarian version, titled ‘Lentil and Barley Terrine’.

She said: “We were very proud from the start to only include vegetarian haggis. Because it’s really hard to find meat and in Scotland, nobody really makes it at home, you go to the butcher. We really wanted to have recipes accessible to everyone.

As well as recipes, there are a number of articles with cultural information about Scotland, ranging from the story of Dolly the sheep to farming and an A-Z of the Highlands.

The pair have been inundated with photographs on their Instagram accounts of people in France who have tried their recipes.

“I’m very impressed with the care people take when taking the pictures – they often add something like a tartan blanket. It makes us so happy every time,” Ms Belaccico said.