Given that the dust seems to have barely settled from the Rugby World Cup in Japan last year - in which a certain team in white were cruelly robbed - the great thing about the Six Nations Championship, is that it always arrives just in time to save us from the doldrums of a pious January. If you are going to crack, then there really is no better way to do it, than to slide into a few pints of beer - whilst watching huge lumps with cauliflower ears crash into each other.
You don't even have to be a fan. You can simply stand there and shout, be it in front of the telly or at a stadium, (if you are lucky enough to get a ticket) and exorcise the angst that has been brought on from eating all those plant-based meat substitutes and supping one vegetable smoothie too many.
Finally, you can smash a proper burger into your face. And blimey, it can be cathartic.
With solid beef patties in mind then, we thought it would be a good chance to deliver some suggestions for the forthcoming tournament, based upon the range of burgers that we offer at Turner & George. From the off, you may well notice that a theme has been applied to each one. A sort of bespoke approach that relies heavily on stereotypes and the contents of the author's fridge at the time.
Just bear in mind that they are here really to provide inspiration and if you have some better ideas, (and we're sure you will do) please do drop us a line.
First up then is the classic approach: a burger layered upwards with burger sauce, lettuce, patty, dirty cheese, tomato and bacon, set betwixt two soft buns and seeing as this is a firm favourite, we'd have to say that this is the equivalent of the English team. Solid, statuesque, reliable and very tasty. A true winner in other words. Perhaps Tunworth or a salty Cheddar should be in place of the plastic cheese but seeing as this is a White Label burger, which you can get when you order a UK Dairy Taster Box, you really don't want to mess about too much.
Next up, we have selected The Upminster, which is made from 90% dry-aged short rib and bone marrow. Sat on top basil and tomato, with some thick mozzarella as a smooth, silky hat and sandwiched between a ciabatta bun, this is obviously represents Italy. An addition of some Nduja, smeared into the base, might be a good shout to liven it up but seeing as we've chosen the fine ground option for those who prefer less bite, it might be best to keep things simple. NB: The fine ground option is not a reflection on Italy's rugby team by the way.
For our third option, we decided to take a sideways look at things, using our Blue Label burger to experiment with a sort of surf 'n' turf approach. That is a Welsh surf 'n' turf approach, as we've topped this burger with laverbread and pickled cockles...hear us out. The Blue Label burger is a lot fattier than most and needs something sharp and stringent to cut through the richness. The way in say, George North would cut through the opposition defence. Hence the vinegary bivalves. As for the chargrilled leek? Well, you can't get anymore Welsh than chargrilled leeks.
Crossing over the Irish Sea, we arrive at, well Ireland! And the initial idea was that a breakfast proposition would be a good fit here. With a black pudding and potato hash, bacon, handsome BSR burger and fried egg forming the main components and using formidable homemade soda bread as the bun. However, soda bread does have a tendency to crumble at the last minute - a bit like the Irish team - and for the purposes of this blog, we are suggesting that you go for an open sandwich approach. Will definitely soak up all that Guinness.
To represent France, we felt that a certain laissez-faire should be displayed. A sort of devil may care attitude. A nonchalant, couldn't care less vive. You get the picture. But at the same time, there should also supremely entertaining element to this burger - so it had be the J-O for this one. Complete with caramelised shallots and melted Camembert. And to up the ante, we decided that this burger should be presented in the box that the Normandy cheese comes in. Slightly mad and out of sync - but that is the French team all over.
Last but by no means least is our pitch for Scotland's national rugby team - the Black Label, deep fried in beer batter and topped with haggis and cheese (plus lettuce for added health). Yes, it's a cliche. Yes, it's been overdone. But hey, this does look bloody good, doesn't it. Seeing that the boys in blue historically have their dreams dashed towards the end of the tournament - usually after an early surge of excitement - it sort of makes sense that you should enjoy the sort of burger that you could find in a decent Glasgow chippy, at 3 in the morning.