Haggis: Chief o' the puddin' race for Burns night
By Ian MacKenzie
EDINBURGH (Reuters Life!) - Carried high by the cook behind a kilted piper, the haggis is the key dish for anyone celebrating the January 25th birthday of Scotland's national bard, Robert Burns.
The fame of the dish beyond Scotland is largely thanks to Burns himself whose "Address to a Haggis" extolling the "Great chieftain o' the puddin' race" is recited by a knife-wielding orator at the start of a festive dinner.
The traditional haggis is made from the finely chopped "pluck" -- heart, lungs and liver -- of a sheep, mixed with onion, oatmeal, barley and suet, stuffed into a sheep's stomach and boiled.
Most good butchers have their own closely guarded spice recipes to add extra flavor to the basic haggis.
"It's all in the spice," said Billy Hoy, manager at award-winning Findlays of Portobello on Edinburgh's eastern outskirts.
Findlays produces two tons of traditional haggis to meet demand for the January festivities.
"Then there's the venison, Asian, vegetarian and even gluten-free haggis -- we cater for a variety of tastes," Hoy said.
Haggis is exported to or produced in countries around the world to cater for the Scots. Continued...