January 22, 2019 1:32 am
Updated: January 22, 2019 2:08 pm

Kelowna Robbie Burns fans fire up the bagpipes and boil the haggis


It’s a big celebration for a Scottish poet that fans consider a hero.

Robbie (or Rabbie) Burns Day may be Jan. 25, but that didn’t stop the Kelowna Scotch and Fine Spirits Society (Kelowna Scotch Club) from firing up the bagpipes and boiling the haggis early on Monday night.

“I have had it. I’ve smelled it. It’s not for me, but some people seem to enjoy it,” BNA Brewing executive chef Justin Best said of the haggis he had prepared for their 60 celebrating guests.

While he doesn’t much care for the modest, sausage-like dish, Best was quick to point out he’s still one of “them.”

“My middle name is Robert Burns!” he boasted.

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Haggis is like a Scottish version of meat loaf made from organ meat, suet, oats and strong spices. It’s all stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and then boiled for two hours.

Among the crowd sampling the so-called delicacy, at least one person compared it to “Fancy Feast,” a cat food.

WATCH: Jan. 25, 2018 — The Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band celebrates Robbie Burns Day

Others were much more enthusiastic in support of the Scottish working-class meal.

“I like the ones with a lot of pepper in them,” tartan-cloaked guest Amanda McPhail said.

McPhail offered up a plentiful dish of facts on the Scottish poet at the centre of their celebration, and even embellished a bit about Robbie Burns’ infamy, like a true superfan.

READ MORE: Recipe: Robbie Burns Day Haggis

“He’s the most celebrated poet in the world, actually,” McPhail gushed.

“There are more statues of him than of anyone else in the entire world.”

Lest one burst her bubble, it is fair to say her enthusiasm at the Robbie Burns celebration was in warm company.

“It needs to be recognized more,” Stephen Brown said after reciting the poem written by Burns about haggis, a celebratory requirement on Robbie Burns Day.

“Everybody knows St. Patrick’s Day, but this is probably even bigger event because you get to have haggis.”

Robert “Rabbie” Burns was born on Jan. 25, 1759, and is widely known as the national poet of Scotland.

His most famous work, “Auld Lang Syne,” is often sung on the last day of the year.

Canada lifted a 50-year-ban on imported haggis in 2017.

One of the key ingredients, offal, was a banned import that will now be left out of the iconic dish.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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