For those of you who don’t know what haggis is, it is a savoury sausage that is made of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs that are minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt. The mix is then traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach.
It is the national dish of Scotland and one of the most famous regional dishes in the UK. Whilst it is served throughout the year it is especially dished up for Burns Night. Scots around the world celebrate the night on or around 25th January and commemorate the life and work of the poet Robert Burns. It is traditionally celebrated with a supper at which haggis along with mashed turnips and potatoes are served.
A traditional Burns supper starts with the grand entrance of the haggis on a platter to the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, the host reads “Address to a Haggis” – which is a poem that Robert Burns wrote to the Scottish dish. At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces and the meal begins.
To mark Burns Night here are ten fun facts about haggis:
1) Although Haggis is normally made with a sheep’s heart, liver, lungs and kidneys with onions and oats, in 1984 the first vegan-friendly haggis was launched.
2) Haggis can be found in other European countries but the recipe is different. Norway’s version of haggis is vegetarian and is made from beans and lentils.
3) Importing haggis to the USA was made illegal in 1971.
4) The most haggis is sold in England and not Scotland, and is particularly popular in London.
5) In 2003, a study revealed that up to a third of American visitors to Scotland thought haggis was a real animal.
6) Don’t fancy trying an actual haggis? You can buy haggis flavoured crisps and ice-cream!
7) Hall’s of Scotland made the world’s biggest haggis in 2014 and it weighs 2,226 lb 10 oz – that’s as much as a small car.
8) Even though haggis is the national dish of Scotland it wasn’t invented by the Scots. There is proof that it was invented by the Romans and that the Greeks had something very similar.
9) Haggis hurling is an actual sport. In June 2011, Lorne Coltart set the record, hurling his haggis an impressive 217 feet. The record still hasn’t been beaten!
10) Ireland, France, Spain and Hong Kong are the biggest buyers of haggis outside the UK.