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Wild haggis is a fictional creature of Scottish folklore said to be a native in the Scottish Highlands – we wonder if it lives near Loch Ness!  

Apparently the wild haggis’s left and right legs are of different lengths allowing it to run quickly around the steep mountains and hillsides but only in one direction!  It also has 3 legs to allow it to keep its balance as it circles the hill.

Haggis is actually a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (heart, live and lungs) – minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices.  Traditionally it is encased in the sheep’s stomach and can be poached or baked in the oven.

Although the name “hagws” or “hagese” was first recorded in England c. 1430, the dish is considered of Scottish origin.  Haggis is Scotland’s national dish as a result of the Scots poet Robert Burns’s poem ‘Address to the Haggis’ from 1787.  Haggis is traditionally served with neeps (swede) and tatties (mashed potatoes) and of course washes down beautifully with a nip of whisky.

Here is what Robbie Burns’ had to say about the haggis which is traditionally said, often theatrically, after the haggis is piped into the room on Burns’ night – 25th January.

Address to the Haggis

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

 

FACT

In 1971, haggis was banned in USA, after an objection to the sheep’s lung, which has been disallowed for human consumption whether imported or made in the country.

Thankfully haggis is widely available in Scotland and we love it here at The Lovat – whilst we do not have this as a main dish on our menu we will often have haggis as an accompaniment to other dishes and of course you can try it at breakfast.  We look forward to getting your feedback on this tasty meal!


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Post by Caroline Gregory

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