If there’s one night of the year to truly embrace the revelry of the Scots, it’s Burns Night. This legendary evening honours Scotland’s beloved national bard Robert Burns each year on his birthday, the 25th of January.
Included among the Burns Night festivities are some of Scotland’s most celebrated delicacies. After a year that’s robbed time-honoured New Year’s resolutions of their appeal, the run-up to Burns Night is the perfect time to sample the delights of Scotland’s larder.
To help you expand your horizons this year, The House of Bruar has selected seven of the most scrumptious Scottish delicacies you should try on Burns Night.
Despite its controversial standing in popular culture, haggis done right is simply exquisite. In fact, haggis is so good that Burns himself called it the “Chieftain” o’ the puddin’-race”. To this day, haggis is the main event for the majority of Burns suppers and is also given homage in the ‘Address to the Haggis’.
A good haggis has a lovely blend of nutty textures and delicious spiced flavours that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a real treat — and not just one to be enjoyed on Burns Night.
Black buns, also known as Scotch buns, are traditionally eaten on Hogmanay (that’s New Year’s Eve to the rest of the world). However, you’ll be forgiven for indulging once January has rolled in — they’re quite frankly a delight all year round.
The simplest way to explain a black bun is a fruit cake enveloped in shortcrust pastry. Many Scots make black buns in their homes in the lead up to the New Year festivities. However, professional bakers make them with an extra level of finesse that you really should make an effort to sample.
Black buns serve as scrumptious, gutsy winter fodder for anyone with a sweet tooth. The best Scotch buns strike the perfect balance between the sweetness of the dried fruits and the bite of lively spices to create unique festive flavours.
Black pudding’s oft-forgotten sister is a just-as-palatable savoury Scottish dish. Also known as ‘Oatmeal’ or ‘Mealy Pudding’, white pudding is great for stuffing and is traditionally is served with a cooked breakfast.
The key difference between white and black pudding is the ingredients. While both use oatmeal to bulk up the pudding, white pudding doesn’t contain blood. It’s also mixed with suet and onions for a subtler, more refined finish.
White pudding can be particularly lovely if you get the pepperiness that comes through, which you can expect from a premium Scottish butcher.
Shortbread has been part of Scotland’s heritage for the best part of four centuries. Its development is credited to Mary, Queen of Scots, who pioneered the refinement of a medieval biscuit bread with the addition of butter instead of yeast.
One of the best things about authentic Scottish shortbread is that it’s often made by hand to the classic recipe. That means that with every delectable bite, you’re getting a taste of Scottish history.
The best shortbread can be identified by its crumbly texture and buttery finish with sweet vanilla notes. It simply melts in the mouth — the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea in the afternoon.
Scotland has a global reputation for its whisky, but there’s far more to the nation’s cabinet of spirits than your standard tipple of Scotch.
Most notable is the revival of handcrafted Scottish gins, which has of late produced some simply outstanding offerings. Gin is made using many of the same processes as whisky, after all, which the Scots have undisputedly mastered. It makes sense, then, that Scotland is currently producing some of the best gins in the world.
Artisan Scottish gins like Rock Rose, Hendricks and The Botanist get their unique flavours from a variety of local botanicals. Each one is meticulously chosen for their flavour properties for the perfect taste. One sip is all it takes for enthusiasts to see that the gins being made today won’t stay in the shadow of Scotch for long.