Fife butcher crowned Scottish Haggis Champion for 2019

A butcher from Fife has been crowned Scotland's Haggis Champion for 2019 at the Scottish Meat Trade Fair in Perth.

Published 15th May 2019
Updated 6 th Oct 2023

Burntisland butcher Tom Courts described the win as the 'The Holy Grail' of industry honours, and revealed it was the title every butcher in Scotland coveted.

"It's the best moment of my career," he said. "This is the big one. It's the competition everyone wants to win.

"Haggis recipes are a closely guarded secret, and there are only two of us who can make this one."

"It's absolutely brilliant to join that very exclusive club of Scottish Haggis Champions and I am thrilled to bits.

"In the Scottish food and drink sector people immediately think haggis and whisky.

"I like to think I drink the best whisky and I now know I make the best haggis - it's official!"

The champion handmade haggis beat off stiff competition from over 70 butchers from all over Scotland to lift the fiercely contested national title.

Tom's haggis won the East of Scotland regional title before going on to lift the national championship.

He'll now hold the title for two years, before getting the chance to defend it.

Using a recipe created by his father, Tom revealed there have been "a few tweaks" over the years to perfect the haggis that wowed the competition judges.

Tom said: "One judge told me he knew it was a winner when he tasted it because he said he would be happy to eat it every day."

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But the secret of the Championship winning recipe remains just that - a secret.

"Haggis recipes are a closely guarded secret, and there are only two of us who can make this one. Now that we've lifted the Championship, the recipe will be even more carefully protected."

Tom's delight at winning the ultimate accolade was tempered, however, with the recent loss of his 22-year-old nephew Calum who worked in the business beside him and whose funeral was only a few days before the contest.

Tom dedicated the win to Calum, he said: "He would have been very proud, it's the one prize that has eluded me until now and I want to dedicate it to him.

"It was also an honour my Dad always wanted and he was the first I told of our success. He was absolutely thrilled that we finally made it."

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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