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30th Golden Spurtle World Championship will have a truly international flavour

By Gavin Musgrove

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World porridge-making champions for 2022 Chris Young and Lisa Williams pose with their trophies in front of Carrbridge's famous bridge.
World porridge-making champions for 2022 Chris Young and Lisa Williams pose with their trophies in front of Carrbridge's famous bridge.

The entrants for the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship have been announced making the 2023 event the most international yet in this classic event’s 30 year history.

From an initial 60 entries from 20 countries, a lucky 30 from 13 countries have made it through the ballot and are set to battle it out for the coveted Golden Spurtle that takes place in Carrbridge on 7th October.

The flags of far-flung countries including Australia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Cyprus, USA, Germany, Ukraine, Ghana and Zimbabwe will adorn the old village hall venue.

Charlie Miller, Porridge Chieftain of this year’s event, said: “We have had an extraordinary response this year and look forward to literally welcoming the world to our home here in Carrbridge.

"We are so proud that after 30 years the event remains so popular, and residents and volunteers continue to put Carrbridge on the world map.”

He added: “It is wonderful to see so many past champions returning. The defending champion Lisa will need to be at her very best to head them off along with the aspiring new entrants. As always we are so grateful to our main sponsor Hamlyns of Scotland and all the other businesses and volunteers that support the event.“

The rules are very straight forward.

The winner must combine the perfect plate of porridge using just three ingredients: oats, salt and water.

There is also the speciality award for the competitor who dreams up a dish with oatmeal as one of the ingredients.

Nearly two-thirds of competitors are first timers to the competition.

They will have to twirl their spurtles to their very best ability as also within in the field lurk five past world champions desperate to regain the title.

Mrs Williams said. “I am looking forward to returning to beautiful Carrbridge and meeting up with porridge family old and new.

"I will be bringing back the Golden Spurtle and my aim remains the same as previous years, get two recipes out within the 30 minute time scale. This year I love my speciality recipe but may have bitten off more porridge than I can chew!

"But as last year's speciality winner Chris Young told me, that's what makes it exciting! Here's to 30 years of The Golden Spurtle.”

The world porridge-making champs have a real international flavour. Picture: Callum Mackay.
The world porridge-making champs have a real international flavour. Picture: Callum Mackay.

Alan Meikle, managing director of sponsors Hamlyns of Scotland said: “The World Porridge Making Championship is a real highlight of Scotland’s food calendar and we can’t wait to return to Carrbridge in October to celebrate 30 years of competition.

"The international line up will make the event particularly special this year, and it will be really interesting to try all the different recipes from around the world.”

No competition is complete without its judges.

The 2023 line up is led by chief judge Neil Mugg, Chef Lecturer at Perth College UHI, whose impressive CV includes resort pastry chef at Gleneagles. Alongside Neil are New Zealand-born chef Kirsten Gilmour, owner of The Bothy Bakery in Grantown on Spey, and Christina Conte, an LA-based Scottish Italian food blogger and previous Speciality Porridge champion.

The audience will be guided through the day by the Master of Ceremonies Masterchef finalist and proud Highlander Sarah Rankin.

Ms Rankin said. “I am thrilled to be MCing the 30th Annual Golden Spurtle Porridge Championship, and cannot wait to see what exciting creations from this most humble of ingredients our contestants will wow the judges with this year.

"With such an international field this promises to be a wonderful event, celebrating oats, Scotland and the creativity of porridge lovers everywhere. The day is always a fun and welcoming one and I can't wait to get chatting to the porridge cooks old and new in beautiful Carrbridge.”

The World Porridge Making Championship is organised by local volunteers.

As part of the wider community celebration, Carrbridge Golf Club is running the ladies and gents World Porridge Open competition on Sunday 8th October.

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