A Taste of Shetland

You are probably wondering why it’s taken so long for me to write about the food of Shetland. I’ve been so engaged with the eating and exploring of the food culture here that I’ve been a bit remiss in writing of my observations, not to mention sharing some of the photos of what we’ve been eating. Let it suffice to say that Shetland is a haven for fish lovers, as well as for those with a palate for exquisitely raised food.  Fish and lamb are the specialties, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dave Parham, arguably the most respected fish expert on the island, and Ronnie Eunson, who farms near the village of Scalloway on Shetland’s West Coast. Ronnie focuses on the art of raising native lamb and beef using organic practices. Perfection is the word that comes to mind for both the smoked salmon cured by Dave and the lamb and beef raised and butchered by Ronnie.  Pure bliss.

The smoked salmon sits on the tongue with the most exquisite and delicate smoked flavors and then dissolves slowly. This salmon is best enjoyed when savoring on it’s own — razor thin slices of heaven. In my early twenties, when I traveled to London I always brought smoked salmon from Harrods home to my father.  If only he had been able to taste Dave’s smoked salmon from Shetland!

The lamb… Ahhhhhhh…. Ronnie is convinced that the difference with his lamb lies in the size of the lambs and on with what they eat. The Shetland Sheep are smaller and graze on seaweed and heather.

Not sure that I’ve mentioned that my cousin Susie is a professional chef and her art is in honoring the simplicity of fine food. She and I have been feasting on these delicacies for 12 days alternating between the salmon and lamb as our chief indulgences. Eating with Susie in Shetland has been a pleasure that escapes words.  I’ll devote a separate blog to Ronnie Eunson, explaining the intricacies of his work with native Shetland Sheep and a native breed of cows. In the meantime, let me introduce you to Ann Johnson, co-owner of Scoop.


Scoop is the Shetland whole foods store where Susie buys Ronnie’s lamb and beef, Shetland handmade cheeses, and fresh, local vegetables grown on the island, along with other specialties of this magical place.


Scoop Wholefoods in Shetland Co-Owned by Ann Johnson


Food from throughout the island is sold at Scoop


Dave and Trish Parham and their Handmade Fish


Fresh Shetland Salmon


Salmon in the smoker….Serious Yummmmm