Butchers prepare for inaugural World Haggis Championships

The competition is the first of its kind and will include producers from across the globe.

The hunt is on to find the world’s best haggis as the first ever international championships is set to get under way.

Producers from across the globe are invited to compete in the event, staged by Scottish Craft Butchers (SCB).

The competition, sponsored by Hamlyn of Scotland, will be held in Perth on May 14 with restaurant chefs, local butchers, farm shops and haggis manufacturers hoping to secure the coveted title.

While all haggis consists of beef and lamb offal, oatmeal and onions in either natural or synthetic casing, the unique blend of species used by each individual maker is what helps distinguish one product from another.

SCB president George Jarron said: “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.

“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 is part of the SCB Trade Fair, a biennial event attended by butchers from across the UK.

George said: “We’re looking for a 500g traditional Scottish haggis in ball shape.

“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.”

The current Scottish Haggis Champion, butcher Tom Courts from Fife, said it had been his career ambition to win the national title.

Mr Courts , who is a past president of SCB, has commissioned a unique wooden trophy for the World Haggis Championship, crafted by Fife woodworker Jonnie Crawford.

Speaking about the event, he said: “The competition will be fierce.

“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.”

All entrants must produce and retail haggis. Five regional winners will be selected from among SCB members before the inclusion of all-comers. There will also be two runners-up.

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.”

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