A delighted butcher has been crowned Haggis World Champion after she entered her family’s 40-year-old recipe into the competition.
Laura Black, owner of butcher Coopers in Bellshill, North Lanarkshire, lifted the coveted trophy at the Scottish Craft Butchers Trade Fair in Perth on Sunday.
Laura admitted she entered the inaugural world title-chasing bid with the secret family recipe in hope rather than expectation.
But she was delighted when she was crowned the winner and dedicated it to her hard-working team who helped tweak and perfect the family recipe into a modern winner.
‘It’s the highlight of my career’, Laura said.
‘I’m absolutely delighted. The world title is coming to North Lanarkshire, coming to Bellshill and coming to Coopers.’
Laura’s family favourite fought off stiff competition from nearly 70 other Scottish hopefuls bidding to become the first Haggis World Champion.
Head judge John Wilkin, senior lecturer in food science at Abertay University, Dundee, described it as ‘near perfection.’
He said: ‘If there’s better haggis out there somewhere in the world then I want to taste it.
‘Laura’s haggis is worthy of the World Championship title – it’s absolutely superb.
‘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 describing it as a delicious celebration of the country’s best haggis.
But it was Laura’s family staple that proved the ultimate winner in the fiercely contested showdown.
Laura said she will not part with long-held family secrets that have made her haggis a world-beater.
She said: ‘Let’s just say we only use fresh ingredients and a secret combination of spices that brings it to life.
‘I’ve never entered it in competition before and I’m so proud and pleased.
‘I inherited the recipe from my parents when I joined the business in 2017 and every time I taste it I think – “that’s a damn good haggis.”
‘Now the world thinks so too.’
George Jarron, president of Scottish Craft Butchers, which hosted the new competition, said: ‘We have been running a Scottish Haggis Championship for the past 30 years, but this is the first ever world championship.
‘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.
‘And it was only fitting that the first world title for a product so quintessentially Scottish should be staged in Scotland.
‘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.’
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