Get the haggis right at your Burns supper

If you’re thinking of hosting your own Burns night, the haggis should be the star of the show. Contrary to the belief of many south of the border, a well cooked haggis is far more than a bag of offal. Quality haggis contains an aromatic blend of spices and oatmeal, with meat as high quality as a decent butchers’ sausage. McSween’s sell delicious haggis, which you can pick up in Selfridges.

Addressing the haggis before you eat it is an integral part of the celebration. The host should recite Burns’ famous Address To A Haggis, which was written as a celebration of his homeland. True Scots will know it by heart: for everyone else, here’s a reminder.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin-race! Aboon them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy o' a grace As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hurdies like a distant hill, Your pin wad help to mend a mill In time o' need, While thro' your pores the dews distil Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight, An' cut you up wi' ready sleight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright, Like ony ditch; And then, O what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive: Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive, Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve, Are bent lyke drums; Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive, "Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout Or olio that wad staw a sow, Or fricassee wad mak her spew Wi' perfect sconner, Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash, As feckless as a wither'd rash, His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash, His nieve a nit; Thro' bloody flood or field to dash, O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed, The trembling earth resounds his tread. Clap in his walie nieve a blade, He'll mak it whissle; An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned, Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o' fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies; But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer, Gie her a haggis!