Whenever we go I am always on a look out for a traditional food – I want to try everything! We have been in Scotland twice already, each time for a week and our second time could not be without trying famous haggis.
This delicious (in my opinion, but well, I do have a strange taste) savoury pudding contains sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs) mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and stock and neatly (if you go to the butcher that is) packed into the animal stomach. Well, I do understand it does not sound appealing at all, but for some strange reasons it is really tasty! According to the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique: “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour.”
Apparently this easy to make and preserve for later food was very conveniently available as a quick meal after a hunt and it is known since ancient times.
The name “hagws” or “hagese” was first used probably about 1430 in England, but the dish itself is considered as traditionally Scottish. It should be served after cooking with a shot of whisky of course!
Haggis is served during the Burns supper on or near January 25, marking the birthday of Scotland’s national poet Robert Burns. He must have loved the dish very much since he wrote a poem which starts: “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!” In his times Haggis was a meal for the poor, since it was cheap to make using leftovers no one wanted.
Haggis is available in supermarkets in Scotland all year round, there are cheaper versions using artificial casings and even available in tins, but if you want to try a real deal, go to the butcher! We bought our in a small village on our way back to our cottage, boiled it and enjoy during our evening meal. Brilliant food fun experience!