Monday, 25 January 2016

Burns Night: Tonight's the nicht tae celebrate

Tonight's the nicht we Scots celebrate the one and only Rabbie Burns' birthday. Having never attended a Burns evening, or experienced the addressing of a haggis before, I was extremely intrigued after being invited along to the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) Burns Night event last week. Tae say I couldnae wait is a fair understatement ken?

So off I went, donning my authentic tartan scarf obviously, to find out what was in store... 

Entering the room, Burns' inspiration oozed throughout. Local cocktail bar, Orchid, was out in force serving up cocktails and mocktails of every flavour, whilst the AECC chefs team were busy informing guests of the masterpieces (otherwise known as hor dourves) that were getting served up to guests as St Machar Academy pupils serenaded us with stunning acoustic covers. 

With Burns in the air and everyone in high spirits, I knew we were in for a treat.

I've never been a massive fan of haggis, neeps and tatties. Simplistic in fashion I am, however, not so much with regards to food. However, being Scottish, it wouldn't be right to not indulge in the traditional dish at a Burns Supper.

Our MC for the evening was Roddy from Ree-Time Events, and what a scream he was. Not only was his address to the haggis the most enthusiastic I have ever seen anyone address food in my life, but his passion seeped through his voice, wowing guests with his dramatic demonstration.

Taking us through a musical adventure throughout our Scottish cuisine experience was local singer, Myke Black. Soulful in voice the fine gent captured his audience with a number of unique acoustic covers. 

As the courses were served our Robert Burns knowledge was put to the test, Eight gruelling questions about the Scottish patriot later, and suddenly I had learned a lot more about this fascinating chap than I ever had at school. 

Our three-course meal was to be like nothing I had experienced at a dinner before...For starters we were presented with a taste of Scotland in the form of haggis, neeps and tatties, perfectly positioned on the plate in a not so traditional way.

For main, a trio of dishes of the highest-quality Scottish produce was served including: fresh Scottish salmon, venison, and pork and apple sausages. The three artisan small taster dishes all sported a huge differentiation in taste, texture and presentation, which was a much-loved touch. Three bowls playing host to three very delicious dishes.

In true fashion, the dessert really was the showstopper for me. 'Make your own dessert' stations were assembled for the ravenous guests to put their confectionary skills to the test. With the help from the AECC's top chefs everyone was invited to try their hand at numerous different skills and techniques including: chocolate tempering, spherification, working with melted sugar and piping.

Getting up-close and personal with the chefs was extremely refreshing at this sort of event. Hearing about their top tips throughout these special one-to-one moment's was any budding bakers dream, although a patisserie chef I am not...

After a fun-filled evening of eating and drinking, the AECC had one last trick up its sleeve. It's very own version of in-door Highland Games. With in-door caber tossing, curling, whisky tasting and the opportunity to learn how to play the bagpipes, Scottish heritage surrounded us, in every corner. The annual event was a huge success in my eyes and I urge anyone who gets an invitation to such a showcase to get richt in there and enjoy every second of it.

Happy birthday Rabbie, have a good yin.

  For Now...

Just Julia


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