Calmac in ‘substandard’ black pudding row on Stornoway route

Passengers claimed that the pudding served was not Stornoway Black Pudding and was a supermarket alternative.
Passengers claimed that the pudding served was not Stornoway Black Pudding and was a supermarket alternative.
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A row has broken out after passengers have claimed that the early morning ferry from the mainland to the Isle of Lewis does not serve the acclaimed local delicacy of Stornaway black pudding - and is instead offering a substandard supermarket alternative.

A traveller took to Twitter to quiz ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne over the issue, asking if it should not be "supporting local suppliers" in its choice of the breakfast food, which has European protection, putting it on the same level as Parma ham and Cornish pasties.

Passengers claimed that the pudding served was not Stornoway Black Pudding and was a supermarket alternative.

Passengers claimed that the pudding served was not Stornoway Black Pudding and was a supermarket alternative.

CalMac immediately responded claiming that "to the best of [their] knowledge, Stornoway black pudding was on offer on the service. However, other passengers chimed in to insist that the version they had eaten on a recent crossing was "absolutely bowfing".

Twitter user Dòmhnall wrote: "@CalMacFerries Why are you using not-very-good supermarket black pudding on the Isle of Lewis ferry breakfast crossing? Should you not be supporting local suppliers by using Stornoway black pudding? Tourists expect to get a world class product, which Stornoway black pudding is."

CalMac responded: "Hi Domhnall, thanks very much for your message. To the best of our knowledge, Stornoway black pudding is served on board in the Mariner's Cafeteria."

Another passenger replied: "Sure wasn't when I crossed, the stuff served was absolutely bowfing."

The European status of the pudding – called Protected Geographical Indication – which was granted five years ago after a campaign by local butchers and politicians, means it can be described as Stornoway black pudding, or marag dubh in Gaelic, only if it is produced in the town or parish of Stornoway. The butchers were concerned at the international use of "Stornoway" or "Stornoway style" on menus to describe what they believed to be inferior puddings.

CalMac said it uses local Stornoway Black Pudding on its routes between Ullapool and Stornoway and the "Uig triangle" route between Uig, Tarbert and Lochmaddy and supplier Macsween's on its other routes. A spokesman added that he was not aware of any supply problems on this morning's ferry.

The ferry operator said it uses 67 suppliers across its restaurants, coffee shops, bars and onboard shops. Of those, 62 are from Scotland and 44 of those are on the islands.

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