Haggis … for breakfast? … not sure about that. Sometimes I’m asked why I don’t have haggis on the breakfast menu at Bannerman Bed and Breakfast. The simple answer is, most Scottish people don’t eat haggis for breakfast. It is more likely a dish we would have for dinner rather than breakfast. I know that many hotels and guest houses do provide haggis for breakfast so it can cause confusion. But this does give a false impression of Scotland and our traditions. Also if you want to enjoy a busy day seeing some of the most iconic sights in Scotland, you may regret an extra heavy breakfast. We do have plenty of alternatives for breakfast. Whether you fancy the Full Highland or vegan-friendly overnight oats, there’s something for everyone. Here’s what you can expect for breakfast.
So what is haggis?
It is tempting to say it’s a wee beastie that roams around the Scottish Highlands, but actually we don’t eat those. We leave them to forage the countryside safely, whilst tourists are on the lookout for the Loch Ness Monster. Haggis is made with sheep offal (heart, liver and lungs) and minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and stock. Traditionally it was cooked inside the sheep’s stomach but now it’s inside an artificial casing. This is usually boiled and served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). There is also a vegetarian haggis which is made with pulses, nuts and vegetables. Like many Scottish dishes, it was designed to fill you up and keep the cold out.
When do we eat haggis?
For me there’s 3 main times that we eat haggis.
Burns Night 25th January
Every year we celebrate the birth of our most famous poet Robert Burns on the 25th January. Amongst many other things he wrote Auld Lang Syne – one of the most famous songs in the world as it’s sung at New Year throughout the world. He also wrote the poem To a Haggis. At a traditional Burns Night Supper, the haggis is piped into the room and addressed with the poem To a Haggis.
For Dinner in a Restaurant
Haggis, neeps and tatties is served in restaurants throught the Scottish Highlands. Sometimes it’s served as a starter rather than main course, so you can have the opportunity to try this famous dish. It’s also often served with a whisky sauce. Many restaurants in Inverness have this on their menu – Urquharts or the Dores Inn are good examples.
In a Chip Shop
Not for the faint-hearted, deep fried haggis and chips is a tasty but heavy treat from a take-away chip shop.
For lovers of Scottish Culture, attending a Burns Night is a wonderful way to embrace all that is Scottish. There’s food, drink, dancing and a heap of traditional and culture. As well as the piping in of the haggis, and a traditional dinner there’s usually a Ceilidh, with Scottish country dancing, afterwards. There are plenty of Burns Nights taking place in the Highlands. If you’d like to know more about attending a Burns Night this January and help planning a winter trip to the area, please contact me or visit the website www.bannermanbandb.co.uk