While ambling about in the Scottish highlands roughly a decade ago, I learned of the glories of both Scottish tablet and Orkney fudge, both crazy-sweet, super delicious confections that still remind me of train trips past shaggy-looking cattle and rocky fields of squishy heather.
When I visit Scottish import shops, it’s one of the treats I check for, hoping they’ll have some next to the Edinburgh rock and the tins of Irn Bru. One such shop, on Calgary’s busy 17th Avenue, had what I was looking for. While I doubted a bar of tablet would taste as good in Canada as it did while reading the a copy of the Scotsman on a train to Glasgow, I bought one anyhow.
The Pitch: On the package, “Prepared by hand to a traditional Highland recipe.” On the Thistle Products website, “Full of sugar, full of flavour and with an enticing smooth, velvety texture. Real Scottish tablet is very sweet and very satisfying, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to a rich dark coffee at the end of a hearty meal.”
The Look: No frills. Clear-plastic-wrapped bar of tablet, which has a creamy golden colour with visible white sugar-crystal flecking. Possibly slightly past its prime.
The Taste: Super-sweet, but not quite in Cadbury-Crème-Egg country. The flavour is sugary caramel with butter and cream. The texture is rough and granular, though the bar quickly dissolves into a sweet liquid as soon as it hits your tongue. It’s not at all sticky or gooey, nor is it hard-candy hard. A small amount of pressure from your teeth is enough to crack off a piece of the stuff.
The Taste (with coffee): To verify the Thistle Products website’s claim, I also tried some tablet with a rich, dark coffee – a cup of Starbucks Christmas Blend Decaf brewed from beans I picked up over the holidays – and it was good. The bitterness is balanced nicely by the tablet’s sweet cream. If you’re going that route, make it black coffee; adding milk and sugar would be redundant.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $3.95 for a 100 gram bar at the Scottish Shoppe in Calgary.
Value for cash money: Good for an import candy. It’s sweeeeeet, so a little bit goes a long way.
Availability: In Calgary, at the Scottish Shoppe on 17th Avenue SW. Check your favourite local U.K. import shop.
Nutrition?: No idea. Nothing listed. Sorry.
The verdict: Yummy. An occasional treat, not to be consumed all at once. Superb with black coffee.