#TaeTheBard, a new podcast series hosted by Dr Pauline Mackay, will explore how Burns has influenced different strands of our modern culture and will feature 12 contributors across five episodes, the podcast is available now on Spotify and iTunes.
Part of Scotland's Winter Festivals it will see events taking place across the country to mark Burns Night which have been supported with funding from the Scottish Government.
The first Burns supper took place in 1796, arranged after his death by friends to honour the memory of the great Bard, a tradition that continues to this day. Be it a formal dinner or casual gathering with friends and family, there are few dishes more associated with Burns than the haggis.
It’s said that Robert Burns was served a haggis in Edinburgh that he enjoyed so much, he wrote his own ode to it, ‘Address to a haggis’. A nutritional and robust food, the traditional dish now forms the main course of a Burns Supper and is morethan worthy of celebration.
James Macsween of Macsween Haggis said: “You can’t help but admire Robert Burns, I’ve loved his poetry since childhood, he had a natural talent with words. Every year I will address the haggis many times over, and I just love it.
"The ‘Address to a Haggis’ is just an incredible piece of work – Burns’ words makes things come alive, from the groaning plate to the comparison between the Scottish haggis and French cuisine. It’s like a performance, a ceremony, and it’s a vital part of the Burns supper.
“Burns Night in Scotland is like Thanksgiving in America, just a real appreciation of Scotland and our traditions. If you want a taste of Scotland, just give them haggis, there’s nothing like it!
“Haggis is currently undergoing a global renaissance, the reaction that we have had from countries such as Canada and Singapore has been incredible. We’ve been working with the Scottish Government since 2017 to export haggis, in fact prior to that Scottish haggis hadn’t been sold in Canada for 46 years.
"It’s phenomenally popular, and we love seeing the responses from people when they discover our authentic Scottish haggis in their local shop.
“There are so many ways that people enjoy haggis now, it’s incredibly versatile. For
example, we’ve worked with chefs to create an Indian fusion haggis, Moroccan haggis, nachos, and even haggis spiced chocolate.
"We’ve seen huge growth in the popularity of haggis, it’s never been more popular. It’s no wonder really that 2019 has been named the ‘Year of the Haggis’ by the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders, there really has not been a more exciting time to enjoy a haggis!”
• For more information about #TaeTheBard visit Scotland.org/burns