The history of the burns night cheese board
The Rich Tapestry of Burns Night: Haggis, Whisky, and a Symphony of Scottish Cheeses
Introduction: The Burns Night Tradition
As the winter night descends, and the air fills with the haunting melody of bagpipes, Scots gather to celebrate Burns Night, a tribute to Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns. Held on the bard's birthday, January 25th, this annual event combines poetry, music, and culinary delights to honor Burns' literary legacy. The centerpiece of the evening is the recitation of Burns' poems, accompanied by a feast that includes the iconic haggis, neeps, and tatties. Amidst the revelry, another tradition graces the table – the indulgence in a curated selection of Scottish cheeses.
A Symphony of Scottish Cheeses: Elevating Burns Night
The needs to know about Scottish cheese
Geoffrey Smeddle, head chef at The Peat Inn in Fife, takes the Scottish cheese tradition seriously. The restaurant boasts around twenty-five cheeses made in Scotland. As the main event concludes, a board piled with artisan cheeses emerges, creating the perfect companion to a glass of whisky while guests recite Robert Burns' iconic poems.
Scottish Blues: A Peppery Kick and Blue-Green Veins
Among Geoffrey's favorites is the multi-award-winning Strathdon Blue by the Highland Fine Cheese Company. This vegetarian cow's milk cheese, developed by ex-Blur bassist Alex James, offers a rich, creamy, and spicy experience—a milder, creamier version of Stilton.
Biggar Blue, a goat's milk creation by Errington Cheese, adds a fresh, zesty, and spicy note to the cheeseboard. Lanark Blue, made from ewe's milk, varies in flavor and texture with the seasons, from fresh and sweet in spring to a powerful, pungent winter delight.
Hebridean Blue from the Isle of Mull, with its Stilton-like flavor, and the semi-soft offering from Bellevue Creamery on the Isle of Arran complete the ensemble, creating a blue cheese medley fit for Burns Night.
Cheddars with a Scottish Twist: From Tobermory Tang to Smoky Finishes
Tobermory Distillery contributes to the unique flavor of a local cheddar, offering a sharp, fruity tang. Traditional cheddars, made using animal rennet and aged with peg mills, bring crumbliness to the texture.
Dunlop Dairy presents a smoked oak barrel-aged hard cheese, boasting a nutty, mild, and creamy profile with a punchy finish. Anster, akin to Wensleydale, offers a dry, fresh, crumbly texture from Fife. Lochnagar, named after a Cairngorms mountain, matures for four months, delivering a nutty, savory flavor. Fresh and lemony, Grimbister follows the style of traditional Scottish farmhouse cheeses.
Morgan’s Pairing Recommendations for a Memorable Burns Night Feast
Now, let's elevate the Burns Night experience with curated pairings:
Anster: Hailing from Fife, Anster's creamy texture and mild, nutty flavor find a perfect match in buttery shortbread.
Corra Linn: This Scottish brie's velvety texture and earthy notes complement beautifully with ripe figs, creating a harmonious balance.
Strathdon Blue: With its bold, tangy taste and creamy texture, Strathdon Blue stands out alongside the traditional Burns Night dish – haggis.
Isle of Mull: Boasting a robust and savory flavor, Isle of Mull pairs seamlessly with the sweetness of blueberries.
Monrangrie Brie: From Scotland's lush landscapes, Monrangrie Brie's velvety delight is enhanced when paired with a handful of blueberries, bringing out its subtle sweetness.
As featured in new book “The complete cheese pairing cookbook” out now to pre order!
Discover the Flavors: Scottish Cheeses to Try
- Dunsyre Blue
- Ailsa Craig
- Barwheys Dairy Cheddar
As the Burns Night celebration unfolds, let this curated cheeseboard take center stage, offering a delightful fusion of Scottish culinary heritage. Raise your glass, recite the verses of Robert Burns, and savour the symphony of flavours that make this tradition truly exceptional.