Whilst 25th January is known in Scotland and around the world as “Burn’s Night”, in celebration of the national bard, Robbie Burns, where haggis is eaten, whisky is drunk and poetry is recited. For the celebrated Canadian actor, Donald Sutherland, his early memory of Scotland is of a different type of supper – a fish supper! “The best fish and chips come from Arbroath,” he said. “The best fish and chips I’ve ever tasted.” With his first acting job being at Perth Repertory, he got to know Scotland before he became famous.
As the grandson of a Scots church minister, his arrival in Scotland was a sort of homecoming. He stayed in Perth for nine months and touring took him to places like Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy and Arbroath. After leaving the Perth Theatre, he moved to London and worked in Hammer Horror films, before hitting the big time with films like “Kelly’s Heroes” and “The Dirty Dozen”. His career has now spanned over 40 years and he has starred in more than 150 film and television roles. The film “Eye of the needle” took him back to Scotland, where the remote island scenes were shot over eight weeks on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. He is now being seen as President Snow in “Hunger Games” which has brought Donald Sutherland to the attention of a new generation of fans, to add to his fans in Arbroath.
Arbroath is traditionally known for its “Arborath Smokies”, rather than fish suppers, but being on the coast, fishing is in the blood. The haddock are prepared using traditional methods dating back to the late 1800s. The fish are first salted overnight, then left to dry and then smoked. When the fish are hung over the fire, the top of the barrel is covered with a lid and sealed around the edges with wet jute sacks. All of this serves to create a very hot, humid and smoky fire, which is essential if the fish are to be cooked, and to have the strong smoky taste and smell people expect from Arbroath smokies. Typically in less than an hour of smoking, the fish are ready to eat. Once eaten, never forgotten.
For self-catering holidays in large houses and castles in Scotland, contact Scotts Castle Holidays.