A 40-year-old family recipe never before entered in competition has won the first ever Haggis World Championship for North Lanarkshire butcher Coopers of Bellshill.
Coopers’ owner Laura Black admitted she had entered the competition “in hope rather than expectation” as she lifted the trophy at the Scottish Craft Butchers Trade Fair in Perth on Sunday 14 May.
Laura dedicated the win to her hard-working team who helped tweak and perfect the recipe into a modern winner.
“It’s the highlight of my career,” she said. “I’m absolutely delighted. The world title is coming to North Lanarkshire, coming to Bellshill and coming to Coopers.”
The winning haggis fought off stiff competition from nearly 70 other Scottish hopefuls. Head judge John Wilkin, senior lecturer in food science at Abertay University, Dundee, described it as “near perfection”.
“If there`s better haggis out there somewhere in the world then I want to taste it,” he said. “The texture was firm but moist. The product was uniform throughout, yet it still looked hand crafted and traditional. We also enjoyed the nice peppery back note and the subtle tang of meat.”
Judges praised the standard of entry in this first championship, sponsored by Hamlyn of Scotland, describing it as a delicious celebration of the country’s best haggis.
Coopers, which has shops in Bellshill and Motherwell, is gearing up to produce a bumper batch to meet demand following its success.
Scottish Craft Butchers had hosted a Scottish Haggis Championship for 30 years before launching the new event. The organisation’s president, George Jarron, said: “We decided that haggis was such an iconic dish the world over that it was deserving of a global championship title to let the world know we had recognised and rewarded the very best.
“There are few producers of our national dish that wouldn’t want to have a World Championship to their name, and we congratulate Laura and the team at Coopers of Bellshill for securing the first place on the international roll of honour.”