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Haggis for Vegans and Vegetarians
Catering for Vegan and Vegetarian diets on Burns Night used to be a problem. Not any more! Stahly’s tasty Vegetarian Haggis is suitable for vegans. No-one need miss out on Scotland’s special celebrations. Vegan Haggis means everyone can enjoy their Burns Supper!
When hunting for Haggis adventures extend beyond Scotland: during tours of England and Wales haggis may be found, perhaps unexpectedly, in department stores, delis and family butcher shops. Popular abroad, haggis may be found in Europe, with Stahly Haggis stockists in Belgium, Germany, Holland and Sweden, and further afield in Japan, The USA and Canada.
Haggis from Stahlys always accompanies Colonel John Blashford-Snell on Scientific Exploration Society expeditions to exotic and exciting destinations, world-wide. Stahly Haggis adventures also include reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro with Ken Stahly.
Haggis in Sport
Haggis is used in a sport called Haggis Hurling, which involves throwing a haggis as far as possible. The Guinness World Record for Haggis Hurling was held by Alan Pettigrew for over 25 years. He threw a 1.5 lb haggis 180 feet, 10 inches on the island of Inchmurrin, Loch Lomond, in August 1984.
Australian cricketer ‘Long Tom’ Moody demonstrated his throwing skills by throwing a haggis a purported 230ft in Scotland during the 1989 tour, though this is not confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, which only mentions Alan Pettigrew’s achievement five years earlier.
The present World Record for Haggis Hurling was set at 217 feet by Lorne Coltart at the Milngavie Highland Games on 11 June 2011, beating Allan Pettigrew’s 180 feet record.
The Scottish sport involves the hurling of a haggis as far as possible for distance and accuracy. The ‘hurler’ stands on a platform (usually a whisky barrel.) Two variations have developed, one has become a feature at festivals, the other is a professional sport.
The haggis to be hurled must be of traditional construction and cooked in the usual way, as if to be served as a Scottish meal, then cooled. Haggis Hurling Rules dictate that the haggis must be packed tight and secure, with no extra “skin” and inspected to ensure no’ firming agents’ have been applied.
The sporting haggis weighs 500 grams, with a maximum diameter of 18 cm and length of 22 cm. An allowance of ±30 grams is given and this weight is used in both junior and middle weight events.
The heavyweight event allows haggis up to 1 kg in weight, but the standard weight of 850 grams is more common, with an allowance of ±50 grams.
In 2004 Robin Dunseath, ex-president of the World Haggis Hurling Association, said he invented the sport as a practical joke for the 1977 Gathering of the Clans in Edinburgh. Haggis Hurling is used to raise funds for charity at Highland Games events and generally classed within the ‘Heavy Events’, which include the Caber Toss, Stone Put, Scottish Hammer Throw and Weight Throw.
‘Haggis Grey’ is now known in the boarding community: skateboarderscan buy ‘Haggis Grey’ Quicksilver cargo pants (a brand of casual trousers with lots of pockets)
Record Haggis Eating
A schoolboy from Scotland is believed to have set a new world record in haggis speed eating.
John Davis, a 17-year-old from Edinburgh, managed to eat a pound of Hall’s haggis in two minutes at the
inaugural Edinburgh International Haggis Championship in June 2011.
The event had been organised as a fundraiser for the Help for Heroes charity, which aims to raise money for British soldiers who have been injured in military action.
On October 8, 2008, competitive eater Eric “Steakbellie” Livingston set a world record by consuming 3 pounds of haggis in 8 minutes on WMMR radio in Philadelphia.
The Haggis Horns, Canned Haggis and more…
The band The Haggis Horns came about after trumpet player Malcolm Strachan left his hometown of Inverness in 1993 to attend Leeds college of music. In Leeds he met fellow Scots musicians Jason Rae and Atholl Ransome and formed The Haggis Horns
At the forefront of the UK funk scene The Haggis Horns described themselves as a “live funk extravaganza combining funk, soul, hip-hop and afrobeat with jazz virtuosity”.
All experienced session musicians, the members of The Haggis Horns have performed with Jamiroquai, John Legend & The Roots, Amy Winehouse, Morcheeba, Roots Manuva, Lou Donaldson, Elbow, Nightmares On Wax, Dennis Coffey, Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae, Mark Ronson, Robbie Williams, Duran Duran, Craig Charles Presents The Fantasy Funk Band, The Cinematic Orchestra, Martina Topley-Bird, Kano, Estelle, Lily Allen, KT Tunstall & Snowboy.
The Haggis Horns line up:
Atholl Ransome (saxes/flute/ perc/vocals) and Malcolm Strachan (trumpet/flugelhorn/perc/vocals), plus Dan Goldman (keyboards & Moog bass), Luke Flowers (drums) and Ben Barker (guitar/vocals).
Scottish Haggis Ceilidh bands include Canned Haggis (based in Dunoon, Western Scotland) and Agus Haggis(Glasgow/ Edinburgh region); Bash The Haggis is an English Haggis Ceilidh band, based in Alnwick, Northumberland.
Haggis in the Media
The presenter of’ River Cottage’, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, went hunting for haggis to find real haggis to cook. The nature of the haggis in question was never revealed, however.
In an episode of The Goodies, a British television comedy series of the 1970s and early 1980s, the three main characters, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, visited Scotland and captured a haggis to eat.
A Haggis petition to Free the Haggis and lift USA Ban on Scottish Haggis in the USA was run by Scotland Now (‘an online publication produced in Scotland for a global audience’ and part of Media Scotland.) Haggis imports to America stopped in 1971. Reversing the ban would allow American consumers to sample Stahly’s Haggis, made in Scotland.
Haggis in Hollywood
Paul Haggis, the award-winning film-maker, became the first screenwriter to write Best Picture Oscar-winners in two consecutive years. These were ‘Million Dollar Baby’ directed by Clint Eastwood, and ‘Crash’ which Paul Haggis himself directed. For Crash, he won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Haggis – Food for Scottish Golf Champions
Following his victory in The Masters golf tournament in 1988, Scottish golfer Sandy Lyle chose to serve haggis at the annual Champions Dinner before the 1989 Masters.
Contemporary haggis: In 2003 haggis producers Hall’s of Broxburn (Edinburgh) revealed that in a poll of 1,000 US visitors to Scotland 33% thought haggis was an animal and indeed 23% said they came to Scotland believing they could catch one.
One person described the haggis as “a wild beast of the Highlands, no bigger than a grouse, which only comes out at night”. Another added that it sometimes ventures into the cities, like a fox.
In a survey commissioned by takeaway service Just-Eat.co.uk in April 2010 18% of Britons still agreed that a haggis was an animal that lives in the Highlands, however there was some confusion as others thought it was a Scottish musical instrument.
Historic haggis: Haggis is popularly assumed to be of Scottish origin, but the first known written recipe for a dish of the name (as ‘hagese’), made with offal and herbs, is in the verse cookbook Liber Cure Cocorum dating from around 1430 in Lancashire, North West England.
The Scottish poem Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy, which is dated before 1520 refers to ‘haggeis’.
An early printed recipe for haggis appears in 1615 in “The English Huswife” by Gervase Markham. It contains a section entitled “Skill in Oate meale”.
Haggis as a surname: According to the online surname database (www.surnamedb.com) the surname variously spelled Haggas, Hagase, Haggus, and Haggis and – in antiquity – Haghous, Haggehouse, is “Anglo-Scottish and locational, deriving from any of the numerous places in both Scotland and England originally known as ‘haghouse’. This was a place for storing wood fuel for the winter.” It is also suggested that the name might have been given to a forester.
Many stores in Scotland sell Haggis Whistles. It is claimed that “in skilled hands this whistle can perfectly mimic the mating call of the Haggis”.
Burns Supper and Burns Clubs
In 1817 Dumfries Burns Club made arrangements for a dinner in celebration of Robert Burns’ birthday. Although not the first, this Burns supper can be counted amongst one of the earliest. Sir Walter Scott was one of the honorary members of the Dumfries Burns Club.