Burns Suppers have been a much-loved part of Scottish culture for over 200 years. Celebrated around the country, they follow a set order and include readings of Burns’ Address to a Haggis, Selkirk Grace and Tam O’Shanter.
The evenings also showcase some of Scotland’s most loved traditional foods, including a main dish of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties. Accompanied by a bagpiper, the haggis is carried into the room and shown off to the guests before being served. Cock-a-leekie soup makes for a traditional starter and desserts often served at Burns Suppers include a sherry trifle known as Tipsy Laird or Cranachan, a mixture of berries, cream, oats and whisky.
Which brings us to Scotland’s national drink which also takes centre stage at Burns Suppers: the bard himself enjoyed the odd dram or two, and to this day it is customary to toast recitals and speeches with your favourite Scotch malt.
No two Burns Suppers are ever totally alike and that is mainly thanks to the speeches given during the dinner. The Immortal Memory, a speech given in honour of Robert Burns , is created especially for the night by an invited guest and can range from a light-hearted memory to a more thorough reflection on Burns’ place in Scottish literary history. Definitely light-hearted are both the Toast to the Lasses (the ladies in the audience) and their Response.