Haggis in San Francisco Bay Area
- Sonia K-J Jan 8, 2004 12:57 PM
This question has come up in the past, but I haven't seen a satisfactory answer, and since Burns night is coming up again, I thought I'd try my luck asking it again. Is there a store that sells haggis in the Bay Area? I will be serving this in my home, so I am looking specifically for a store, not a restaurant or pub, and I'd prefer fresh, not canned, haggis. I've heard that it's impossible to find haggis in this country due to import restrictions...but some hardy butcher must be making it (like in So I Married an Ax Murderer...).
Ah yes, Burns night, which represents the birth of Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Burns, on Jan. 25th.
Haggis, quite simply, is a large boiling sausage stuffed with oatmeal and a number of meats flavored with onion.
Not sure if this is "local" enough for you, but how about trying www.smartnet.net on the web? You'll find all sorts of recipes and numerous links for ordering Haggis, cookbooks, tall tales, and even traditional Burns night dishes such as Cock-a-Leekie, tipsy laird, tatties -n- neeps (potatoes and turnips), etc.
From what I can gather, it appears that lamb, liver, heart, onions, suet, and oatmeal are the main ingredients.
For pure silliness, try www.scottishhaggis.co.uk, where you'll find all sorts of anecdotes surrounding Haggis legends, etc. Did I mention that whiskey is involved?
Hope this helps!
I asked the same question just yesterday in a class I am taking in the San Carlos area and a Scotman in the class said there in a English store on El Camino in San Carlos that sell this in cans. But I am think you said that you do not want cans. I plan to go to this store and I will place the address and phone later if you are interested.
Courtesy of SF ChowNews #76, here's the contact info.
British Food Ctr [Peninsula]
1652 El Camino Real
San Carlos 94070
The store has a good deal of meat products in the freezer cases too. Maybe there's some frozen haggis in there, which would be closer to fresh than canned. Worth a call.
I actually was just looking haggis up recently, and ran across this article:
It's from 1998, but it mentions Scottish Meat Pie Co. in Davis, California as a place that makes haggis. You might try them.
I understand that authentic haggis is illegal in the US because it contains sheep lungs and windpipe, considered unfit for human consumption.
I was thinking of callling around the places who're offering haggis as part of a Burns supper --- impossible without the chieftan o the pudding race on the table -- but before doing so wondered if you had got lucky in your search -- started well before mine. Hope to hear from you.
I thought I had a source - Hector Russell, at 76 Geary in SF - but when their latest shipment came in, haggis was "unavailable". (Their whiskey selection is great, however, and the man behing the counter is more than happy to help pick out a few good bottles.)
I will try the Scottish Meat Pie Company and report back. If they don't have it, I may just try to make it myself...
re: sonia k-j
I found the supplier (thanks to the responses on this message board)! The Scottish Meat Pie Company does indeed make haggis, and according to them, they are the only ones who make it in the area. They are in Dixon, CA, and their phone number is 707-678-5354. You have to order it in advance, but I called on Monday and will be able to pick it up later in the week, so it's still possible to get a haggis by this weekend.
Happy Burns Night to all!
Too late for Burns Night, but I have purchased and eaten their haggis many times. It is really first class, comparing very well with the haggis I enjoyed as a student in Edinburgh, living next to MacSween's, the butcher who made the best haggis in town:
Think of it as a round, peppery lamb sausage. Delicious!