Lanarkshire butcher crowned first World Haggis Champion
A 40-year-old family recipe never before trialled in competition has secured the first ever Haggis World Championship for North Lanarkshire butcher Coopers of Bellshill.
Owner Laura Black admitted she entered the inaugural world title-chasing bid “in hope rather than expectation” as she lifted the trophy at the Scottish Craft Butchers Trade Fair in Perth on Sunday 14th May. And she couldn’t have been more delighted as she dedicated the win to her hard-working team who helped tweak and perfect the family recipe into a modern winner.
“It’s the highlight of my career,” she thrilled. “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 and 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. “Laura’s haggis is worthy of the World Championship title – it’s absolutely superb.”
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. But it was Laura’s family staple that proved the ultimate winner in the fiercely contested showdown. Mr Wilkin said the winning haggis’s flavour was spot on: “The texture was firm but moist,” he said. “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.”
Laura, however, refuses to part with long-held family secrets that have made her haggis a world-beater. “Let’s just say we only use fresh ingredients and a secret combination of spices that brings it to life,” she said. “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.”
Coppers of Bellshill supplies haggis to outlets across the country with overnight shipments delivering the delicacies down south. Now the 26 staff at the company’s shops in Bellshill and Motherwell are preparing to produce a bumper batch to satisfy the inevitable rush of customers following their World Championship success.