First ever joint winners of World Porridge Making Championships take trophy back to Sweden

For the second year running the World Porridge Making Championship trophy, the Golden Spurtle, is making its way to Scandinavia.

Published 9th Oct 2018
Updated 9 th Oct 2018

In a competition first, the annual awards, which take place in the picturesque village of Carrbridge and have been running for a quarter of a century, saw two competitors come joint first.

Joint victors Calle Myrsell and Per Carlsson, who both hail from Sweden, were awarded the coveted trophy after being deemed to have made the best traditional porridges using just three ingredients – oatmeal, water and salt - by the jduging panel.

However, for the first time ever, the judges were unable to pick one bowl of porridge over the other.

Per, who won the speciality porridge award last year and Calle, a first time entrant, both travelled to Scotland to take part in the competition and believe the secret to their joint success is their Swedish oats, with both using organic oats which have been produced by Saltå Kvarn in Sweden since 1964.

In front of an audience of hundreds, 30 competitors from around the world (including countries such as Finland, Canada, Estonia, Russia and Australia) took part in the event in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

This year saw such a high volume of entries that a shortlist had to be created to whittle down the number of entrants for the first time in the competition’s 25-year history.

• READ MORE: Swedish woman takes Golden Spurtle at World Porridge Championships in the Highlands

Following the announcement, Per Carlsson, who also hosts the Swedish Porridge Making Championships in Steninge, said: “After I won the speciality porridge category last year I have thought about winning the Golden Spurtle every day, so I am absolutely delighted. Great porridge needs three key things; love, patience and great ingredients.”

For novice Calle, who was also visiting Scotland for the first time it was a big experience. “Everyone here at the competition has been so friendly and welcoming. I am totally surprised to win on my first time. I came here on my own but everyone back home is thrilled for me, I have never had so many Facebook comments! For the perfect porridge I like to cook for a long time, nearly 25 minutes and only adding the salt in at the end. I like a smooth consistency so it doesn’t stick to the spoon or spurtle.”

The Golden Spurtle trophy - which is named after a tradtional Scottish kitchen tool, dating from the fifteenth century, used to stir porridge, soups, stews and broths - will now travel back to Sweden with the pair.

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As well as the traditional porridge competition, there is also a speciality category for oatmeal combined with any other ingredients, leading to a wide variety of sweet and savoury entries.

Taking the crown with his oat inspired tapas featuring eight individual elements all prepared in the allotted half hour which included mussels stuffed with skirlie, Mexican green rice (made with pinhead oats) and steak with an oat gremolata, was Chris Young from Perthshire.

World Porridge Making Championships

Chris Young and Lynn Munro. Picture; WPMC

The winner of the first ever junior heat, part of the celebrations for the Year of Young People, was 26 year old, Lynn Munro from Sutherland who prepared the traditional porridge as well as her speciality entry “Forage for your porridge” featured Heather honey, hazelnuts, blueberries, brambles, oatmeal, water, wood sorrel, plums, apples, quince, rosehip and hawthorn, some of which was foraged in Carrbridge on the morning of the competition.

Michelle Green, the organiser of the event said: “It is the first time we have had joint winners as the judges just couldn’t pick one over the other.

“Both Per and Calle can feel very proud to have succeeded in the face of stern competition from across the world. It’s certainly been a closely fought battle! I hope that the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championships will continue to inspire people worldwide to enjoy porridge."

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The World Porridge Making Championships is organised by Carrbridge Community Council, and is sponsored by Hamlyns of Scotland, the Banffshire-based producer of Hamlyns Scottish Oatmeal and Hamlyns Scottish Porridge Oats.

Alan Meikle, managing director of sponsor Banffshire-based producer Hamlyns, said: "Hamlyns of Scotland is proud to have sponsored the World Porridge Making Championships since the very beginning, and it’s fantastic to see how the event has grown over 25 years to become a real highlight of Scotland’s food and drink calendar.

"It’s been a wonderful day celebrating one of Scotland’s most traditional foods, and we’ve been amazed to see the huge variety of speciality dishes. Congratulations to all of the winners and to the organisers on another excellent event.”

One of the most popular events in Scotland’s culinary calendar, the competition took place in the Highland village of Carrbridge and included an opening pipe band procession, a food fair, whisky tastings and cookery demonstrations. A new recipe book, Spurtle Specialities, was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the championships.

The judges of the competition included Anne Hilditch, wife of Duncan Hilditch one of the original founders of the competition, Colin Bussey, former head chef at Gleneagles, Lydie Bocquillon, classically taught French chef and owner of the Auld Alliance in Kingussie, and Neil Mugg, chef lecturer at Perth College UHI and former Head Pastry Chef at Glengeagles. MFR radio presenter, Richard Jones, acted as MC at this year’s event.

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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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