By THE NATION
SCOTCH FLOWED and kilts flew. The British Embassy and Johnnie Walker celebrated the world’s best-loved Scottish bard on Burns Night.
The alluring Celtic sound of bagpipes made for a perfect match with beautiful poetry at last week’s event hosted by Diageo Moet Hennessy (Thailand), local distributor of Johnnie Walker, in partnership with the embassy.
In remembrance of Scotland’s 18th-century national poet Robert Burns, the extravagant Burns Night dinner was held at the ambassador’s residence with His Excellency Brian Davidson presiding.
Born on January 25, 1759, Robbie Burns is Scotland’s best-known poet and his work is beloved around the globe. He wrote many poems and songs in English and in the dialect of Lowland Scotland – about love, the countryside, the life of working people and his love of the homeland. His best-known song is “Auld Lang Syne”, his most famous poem “Ode to a Haggis”.
Just as Burns achieved success as one of the literary icons of the Romantic Movement, Johnnie Walker’s rich Scottish heritage and blended whiskies have enjoyed long-lasting international acclaim.
British Ambassador Brian Davidson, centre, hosts a sumptuous feast for Robbie Burns Night.
Burns and Scotch whisky have become closely intertwined within the Scottish tradition of toasting. Burns Suppers have been held in his honour for more than 200 years, involving the sharing of fine whisky and a recital of Burns’ poems.
Last week’s event celebrated the appeal of Scottish heritage, aptly played out on the embassy grounds. Diageo Moet Hennessy’s new managing director, Kaan Baral, was introduced to the public for the first time.
Burns Night comprised lots of poetry, kilts, bagpipes and Scotch whisky. On arrival the guests were charmed by the sound of bagpipe music. The event opened with a speech by Ambassador Davidson, followed by an address by Baral.
The dinner kicked off with a remembrance reading of Robert Burns’ poems, followed by a four-course dinner prepared by acclaimed chef Pongtawat “Ian” Chalermkittichai in grand Scottish fashion, pairing Johnnie Walker and John Walker & Sons whisky.
The first course was the savoury Scottish national sausage dish haggis, Burns’ favourite delicacy. Haggis is always the centrepiece of a traditional Burns Dinner, and last week matched with Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18 Year Old whisky.
The second course, a bisque of Hua Hin blue swimmer crab infused with tom yum spices, was paired with John Walker and Sons XR 21.
The main course was a choice between slowly cooked boneless beef and barbecued seabass fillet, both covered in a homemade whisky-based sauce and married with Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Dessert was a chocolate flour-less cake covered in a Thai tangerine ganache with caramel whisky sauce, accompanied with the Bobby Burn’s Cocktail laced with Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve.
Burns Night closed with a celebratory toast with the acclaimed John Walker & Sons King George V, followed by a dance performance to the Burns-penned song “A Red, Red Rose”.