Hunt is on for the world’s best haggis

Hunt is on for the world’s best haggis

Open season has been declared on the Scottish haggis as the hunt begins to track down the finest.

Fife butcher and current Scottish Haggis Champion Tom Courts gets in the mood for the World Haggis Championship.

The first ever Haggis World Championship will be staged in Perth on May 14th when producers from across the globe are invited to compete.

Staged by Scottish Craft Butchers (SCB), the hunt for the world’s best traditional haggis will see restaurant chefs compete with local butchers and haggis manufacturers vie with farm shops for the coveted title.

SCB president George Jarron said it was appropriate that the first World title for a product so quintessentially Scottish should be staged in Scotland.

“Scottish Craft Butchers are delighted to host this exciting event and bring together some of the most outstanding haggis producers to compete for the very first World title,” he said.

“It’s a product that is enjoyed by the Scottish diaspora throughout the world and there are a lot of world class recipes and experts out there. Haggis attracts global recognition so there should be a global award for the best.”

The competition will be staged as part of the SCB Trade Fair – a biennial event attended by butchers from across the UK. So the first ever champion will hold the crown for two years.

“We’re looking for a 500g traditional Scottish haggis in ball shape,” detailed George. “We’re not looking for speciality products that shift away from the traditional fare.

“Judges will be looking at appearance, flavour, texture and the true rustic nature of our national dish.”

Judges will select five regional winners from within SCB members before including all-comers in the battle for the world title, along with two runners-up. All entrants must produce and retail haggis and meet other terms and conditions laid down by the new competition.

The World Haggis Championship is being sponsored by Hamlyn of Scotland. 

Alan Meikle, managing director of Hamlyns of Scotland said: “Haggis is such a quintessential Scottish food and we’re very excited to be sponsoring the World Haggis Championship. We look forward to taking part in the judging and presenting the prizes to the winners in Perth in May.”

Current Scottish Haggis Champion, butcher Tom Courts from Fife, said it had been his career ambition to win the national title and that the world championship would be the ultimate feather in any haggis-maker’s cap.

“The competition will be fierce,” he said. “This is the title everyone wants and there are some amazing recipes out there – many passed down through generations.

“Haggis used to be a peasant food, offering a cheap yet nutritious dish, and it’s now a gourmet staple on many top restaurant menus.”

Tom said that while all haggis consist of a blend of beef or lamb offal, oatmeal and onions in a natural or synthetic casing, it is the unique blend of spices used by individual makers that help distinguish one product from another.

Tom, immediate past president of SCB, has commissioned a unique wooden trophy for the World Haggis Championship, crafted by Fife woodworker Jonnie Crawford. 

Entry forms, along with terms and conditions, can be found on the SCB website: Entries close 5th May.

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