Last Friday, I was lucky enough to be invited for ‘a wee dram and a taste of Scotland’s finest fayre’ at ‘The Shindig’ in the newly renovated Borough Market Hall. Being a massive foodie, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate Burns Night – albeit a day early!
I was really excited because Macsween haggis were in attendance. I’m a huge fan, having sampled an amazing fusion menu using their produce at The Quilon last year (keep an eye on the blog for some great haggis recipes by Jo Macsween, including haggis babotie).
Macsween is a third generation family company based in Edinburgh. Jo and James Macsween are really creative in their approach – not only producing traditional haggis, but also vegetarian haggis (with black kidney beans, lentils, and vegetables) and black pudding. All of these are available in their original forms but also in 60-second microwaveable versions, which are just perfect for snacks! Their haggis is unusual in that it only uses the lung of the lamb, as opposed to the liver. I was initially reticent about losing my ‘haggis virginity’ but found the flavour to be rich and rewarding, and the fact that it contained offal was not noticeable at all. So good are Macsween haggises that they won THREE gold stars at the Great Taste Awards 2013.
At the mini-market, they were dishing out delicious samples of their haggis with some turnip purée. And then there was a genius collaboration with The Wild Game Co. – rare venison steak topped with haggis and the turnip purée. Look at this beauty:
I really highly recommend The Wild Game Co. as their beef burger canapés were fantastic. Really, really delicious meat – succulent and perfectly cooked.
Walking round the market, we came across some chillies and some strawberries…
Sound like an odd combination? Well, I can assure you that these go perfectly together and that Simply Add Chilli have really come up with a triumphant chilli jam. I wanted to apply it to some Camembert, atop some oatcakes from Perthshire Oatcakes who were also in attendance.
Of course, a party needs some booze! There was some fantastic ale from the Windswept Brewing Co. My partner in sampling was particularly impressed by the Tornado – a 6.4% single hop citra IPA.
And no party would be complete without some music:
PS: here’s a bonus giggle for you. Whilst reading up on haggis for this blog post, I found the following gem quoted in a BBC article: “A 2003 survey suggested that a third of US visitors to Scotland believed the haggis was an animal. Nearly a quarter thought they could catch one.”