Stornoway Black Pudding

Black pudding is a type of sausage made by cooking animal blood with fat, oats, barley and spices all stuffed in a length of intestine.  Although to some this doesn’t sound appetising, to many people it is considered a delicacy, and for many connoisseurs, Stornoway Black Pudding (or Marag Dubh in Scottish Gaelic), is considered the best.

The earliest known mention of black pudding is in Homer’s Odyssey, thought to have been composed near the end of the 8th century BC.  Some also believe that Aphotonite, a cook of Ancient Greece era can be credited to having created the first black pudding recipe, although there is no concrete proof that this is the case.  Black pudding was brought to Britain with various waves of invaders, including Danish, French, Germanic, Norman and Viking invasions before reaching Stornoway where it would evolve into the pudding that is renowned world wide today. Black puddings were a staple food for crofting families on the Isle of Lewis when times were unimaginably difficult

Stornoway Black Pudding is different from other regional puddings in having beef suet, the fat from around the kidney and loins, as its major ingredient. The beef suet; oatmeal; onion; sheep, cow or pig’s blood; salt; pepper and skins or casings are the only ingredients used in a Stornoway Black Pudding and it is free from artificial colours and preservatives.  The beef suet usually comes in the form of the unwanted connective tissue of the cow which is then scraped, cleaned and then chopped, blood from one animal is added along with the dry ingredients, mixed then transferred to a sausage filler machine.  Once tied into casings (now used instead of intestine), they are boiled or steamed for up to two and a half hours and then hung to cool gradually, ready for the plate.

This year (2013), Stornoway Black Pudding has been awarded EC protection (PGI status; meaning Protected Geographical Indication) against imitators from other regions attempting to produce Stornoway Black Pudding.  This means that Stornoway Black Pudding can only be called such if it is actually produced in Stornoway.

Click here to find out about our visit to W J Macdonald Butchers to see how black pudding is made:

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Download our Stornoway Black Pudding fact sheet, full of Black Pudding facts and photographs of the  black pudding making process.


  • Video – Mor Macleod, from the Isle of Lewis, shares her traditional method for making black pudding at home
  • Video and lesson ideas – Stornoway Black Pudding – campaigning for EU protection

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