Burns Night isn’t just about toasting Robert Burns, done properly, the evening can be an intimate celebration of friendship and family. Our festival team have prepared the ultimate inspirational guide for Burns Night, ranging from table decorations to adding the perfect atmosphere to the night.
Set the table
The great thing about a Burns Supper is that it takes place around the table, which means you can go all out and decorate the table. Tartan’s and thistles set against a nice white tablecloth really set things off.
Get into the outdoors and pick some foliage – anything with berries looks great against red tartan. Look out for conifer, fir cones, pine, ivy and coloured twigs from things like dogwood.
Why not write a few Burns lines downs for each of you to recite over dinner?
Wild flowers are a great finish
Tartan is a winner
Subtle hints of tartan
Evergreens are a great idea
Tartan on wood?
The sillier the better, right?
Add some atmosphere
The art of Hygge is a Scandinavian concept that has made its way across the North Sea, based on using light, warmth and generosity to offset the darkness of winter. Why not create some atmospheric lighting to give the evening a bit of a festival atmosphere?
Bring a some of the outside world inside.
Create light displays
Think outside the box
Have three courses
If this is going to be a night to remember, you might need to make a bit of an effort. We suggest starting with something like a soup or salmon for starter, and then finishing with a pudding. We have put together a three course option to get your inspired.
Soup is a great starter for Burns Night, because it is usually quite cold outside. Be careful not to serve big portions or you could be sleeping by the end of the first mouthful.
Haggis, Needs and Tatties
There are lots of ways to cook it, including the legendary Haggis (or Veg Haggis) Lasagne which helps to make it feel less stodgy. Some might think it is a bit of a heavy meal, but with so many toasts in the evening, it fills your belly ready for the drams ahead.
There are so many brilliant Scottish deserts, including the Clootie Dumpling, but if you are looking for a quick idea, you can’t go far wrong with Cranachan.
Dress to impress
Burns Night is all about the Tartan and Kilt look. It is the one night of the year when you look silly not wearing tartan. It needn’t be full on, but a wee hint of tartan goes along way. See below for some inspirations.
Le Haggis look
The Dumfries look
The River Island look
The show off
Cheese and Oatcakes
Did we mention how many toasts there are? Then you will understand why the cheese board is an essential of the Burns Night table. Indulge yourself in oatcake and find some of those local cheeses that you think are reserved for Christmas.
Full on cheese board
Local cheeses are great
Gluten free variety
Treat yourself to a Dram
You will need enough booze for at least 6 toasts, and the more you drink, the more you toast. The Malt Whisky is the king of drams, if you find it too hard on the mouth, consider adding just a tiny dab of water to help open up the flavour. It needn’t be all about the Whisky, there are even non-alcoholic versions available.
Make it a Malt!
Alcohol free varieties
Local tastes better
Make some Tablet
As the evening draws to a close, and you reach for that wee cup of coffee to end the evening, nothing works better than a wee square of tablet on the side. You will feel all warm and fuzzy afterwards. It isn’t easy to make, so the following video is a good insight.
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