Tuesday, Oct 24th 2017

Sporrans & Sporran Flasks

Every year on January 25 (which falls on a Sunday in 2015), Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, is celebrated with traditional food, verse, music – and drink. Even the Sassenach stronghold of London can’t resist the odd dram. Our food and drink editors have rounded up some of the best places to enjoy Burns Night suppers in the capital. It’s advisable to book early for all these events.

What do people do?

Many people and organizations hold a Burns’ supper on or around Burns’ Night. These may be informal or formal, only for men, only for women, or for both genders. Formal events include toasts and readings of pieces written by Robert Burns. Ceremonies during a Burns’ Night supper vary according to the group organizing the event and the location.

The evening centers on the entrance of the haggis (a type  of sausage prepared in a sheep’s stomach) on a large platter to the sound of a piper playing bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, the host reads the “Address to a Haggis”. This is an ode 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.

Symbols

The Scottish flag is often displayed at Burns’ Night celebrations. It is known as the Saltire and consists of a rectangular blue background with thick white bars on the diagonals. The diagonals form a cross that represents Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

At Burns’ Night events, many men wear kilts and women may wear shawls, skirts or dresses made from their family tartan. A tartan was originally a woolen cloth with a distinctive pattern made by using colors of weft and warp when weaving. Particular patterns and combinations of colors were associated with different areas, clans and families. Tartan patterns are now printed on various materials.

Many types of food are associated with Burns’ Night. These include: cock-a-leekie soup (chicken and leek soup); haggisneeps (mashed turnips or swedes) and tatties(mashed potatoes); cranachan (whipped cream mixed with raspberries and served with sweet oat wafers); and bannocks (a kind of bread cooked on a griddle). Whisky is the traditional drink.

let the Urban Chefs prepare you haggis.

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