Ode to Haggis

The pipes sang, the haggis steamed and the whisky flowed on January 25th as we celebrated the life and poetry of poet Robert Burns. Ever the traditionalists, we followed the customary format for a Burns supper beginning with the piping in of the haggis. Local musician and storyteller extraordinaire Jim Byrnes was our host for the evening and treated us with some lively stories and heart-felt readings of some of our favourite Robbie Burns poems. Throughout the evening, there were many toasts to Burns and the lassies in the room.

Between readings Bruce Mackenzie, our spirits educator, offered up a generous tasting of 12 of the finest Scotch Whisky he could get his hands on. All were exceptional and Bruce gave us some wonderful insight into the history and signature styles of each maker. Among those that got the most ‘ayes’ for seconds, a 15 Year old Glenfiddich Single Malt, Benromach Peat Smoke Speyside, Edradour 12 Years Straight from the Cask, and the Balvenie Madeira (that’s right!) Cask. A big thanks to Tony Peneff for refreshing our tasting glasses throughout the evening, no easy task.

Of course, a Robbie Burns supper is not just about drinking whisky and reading poetry; we must be fed. And Lawren Moneta and Mark Holmes indeed fed us well. We wet our appetites with a kipper spread and assorted canapés, followed by smoked salmon chowder with savoury peppercorn shortbread and Mark’s Scotch eggs. Lawren dressed up the haggis in fine form, serving it in individual tartlets topped with perfectly caramelized onions. Not a single leftover in the house. For dessert, Lawren prepared a bread pudding of her own recipe that was such a fine finish no doubt it inspired its own poem or two that evening.