24th Jan 2024

A guide to Burns Night cheer

An evening with haggis and whiskey among friends inspired a poem that captures the essence of the love of food, An Address to Haggis. The author? Robert Burns.

Burns Night is a moment in the year to celebrate the poet’s work and to enjoy moments amongst friends and family.  At Fooditude, creating shared moments around the dining table is what we’re all about, so it seems fitting that we join in on the celebrations.

 

Haggis Night Cartoon

 

But who exactly is the poet Robert Burns? 

Born on 25th January 1759, Robert Burns is one of Scotland’s most iconic poets, bringing joy to many with his words, including his poem, “Address to a Haggis”.

We spoke with Alex Bailey, our Company Executive Chef, to learn a little about the traditions and culinary delights surrounding Burns Night.

“The traditional Burn’s night starts by welcoming guests. After everyone has tucked into their starters, the main event begins: the slashing of the haggis. Before the haggis is ceremonially cut, poetry is recited, and a toast is proposed with a dram of Scotch. Then it’s to the haggis with neeps and tatties”

This year, on Thursday, 25th January, Fooditude will serve a special menu inspired by Scottish cuisine’s wondrous creativity and bring it to client sites.

 

Haggis, neeps and tatties


You can’t do it without the famous haggis…

Celebrating his appreciation of the Haggis, Burns wrote his poem ‘Address to a Haggis‘, a vital part of the Burns Night pageantry. 

Haggis, or a sheep pudding sausage, is considered Scottish national dish. Many chefs are inventing brilliant new ways to serve haggis (such as the haggis croquettes our chefs create for Burns Night). 

Other haggis inventions worthy of note include haggis lasagna, haggis ice cream, or Chef Alex’s personal recommendation, and haggis quenelles. 

Want to delve deeper into the world of haggis? See Phil & Sonja’s 33 recipe ideas for making haggis via the Scottish Scran.

 

And just for fun…

There’s a Scottish sport called ‘Haggis Hurling’, where you must stand on a whisky barrel and lob the haggis as far as possible.

 

There is more to Burns Night than Haggis, however…

Other ‘must have’ foods include Cullen Skink (creamy fish soup) and neeps & tatties (turnips and potatoes). Looking to add some recipes to your Burns Night repertoire? Great British Chefs have just the ticket! 

Psst. Looking for a more more meat-free approach for Burns Night? Chedk out Safiya Benmeriem’s BBC Good Food’s recipe suggestion for a Vegan Burns Night menu.

 

 

Cranachan in Scotland

 

But what of dessert? 

Chef Alex recommends Cranachan, a simple Scottish dessert with cream, honey, raspberries, oatmeal, and whisky (of course). To learn more about this delicious recipe, take a peek at this recipe.

 

And don’t forget the whisky…

Scotch Whisky is produced in the country’s 5 regions: Islay, Campbeltown, Highland, Speyside and Lowland. Every region, every distillery, has its own unique taste. 

Scotland’s earliest record of distilling dates back to 1494, and Scottish distillers have been busy mastering their craft in the last few hundred years. 

Discovering your favourite whisky is all a matter of personal taste. But if you’re looking for a place to start, Chef Alex recommends trying Speyside whisky. This whisky entices with flavours of honey, vanilla, apple and pear.

Slàinte Mhath! (‘Cheers!’ in Scottish Gaelic)