Haggis, Neeps and Tatties Anyone?

Scotland’s National Dish is not for the faint-hearted:

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A Plate of Haggis..

The haggis is a national dish of Scotland although some say that the ancient Romans were the first people known to have made haggis-type products. At any traditional meal in Scotland, you can expect to see this dish served, as we were at our Southern Highlands hotel.

Haggis is a kind of sausage, or savoury pudding that’s cooked in a casing of sheep’s intestine.  It is traditionally served with “neeps and tatties” which is Scottish swede, yellow turnip and potatoes boiled and mashed separately. This is accompanied by a “dram” or a glass of Scotch whisky.

Haggis is available all year round but especially at Burns Supper when it is served as the main course. Robert Burns wrote the poem Address to Haggis and the Scottish commemorate their national poet on the week of January 25th by including haggis in the commemoration dinner.

In the past, Haggis was a popular dish for the poor as it was very cheap. Made from leftover parts of the sheep, which would otherwise be thrown away, it was nevertheless nourishing.  It appears that there’s been somewhat of a resurrection of late, with popular Glasgow eateries like Café Gandolfi and Stravaigin offering haggis in their menus.

Looking at the ingredients that go in the haggis recipe, it’s no wonder that they call the Scots ‘bravehearts’. Who else would eat food that include sheep’s stomach, heart and lungs of a lamb, trimmings or beef. It may well be the national food of Scotland, but I have to pass on this!

Haggis is widely available in supermarkets in Scotland and these days you can also get vegetarian haggis. You can find haggis in Scottish fast-food establishments, deep fried in batter and served with chips. Don’t be surprised to find haggis burgers as well.

Ask any Scot about haggis you will get a variety of haggis yarns, folkloric tales and amusing descriptions, many of which foreigners happily believe. Some even think that a haggis is an animal.

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