30 competitors from around the world have been selected to take part in the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship, following a volume of entries that meant organisers have had to create a shortlist for the first time in the competition’s 25-year history.

This year the championships were overwhelmed with entries from porridge aficionados from UK, Finland, Canada, France, Germany, USA, Estonia, Russia, Australia and beyond.

A new young people’s heat will take place for the first time to celebrate the Year of Young People and accommodate entrants under the age of 26.

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Picture: last year’s winner, Ellinor Persson

Those shortlisted include:

  • A Russian café owner
  • A Finnish pastry chef
  • A Canadian mother of two who cooks porridge for her family every day
  • A former designer and architect from France who is ‘unconditionally in love with porridge’
  • A Scottish optometrist who is researching the connection between oats and eye health
  • Two sisters from Sweden aged 12 and 13 who love to cook porridge
  • The youngest entrant, an 11 year old pupil from Carrbridge Primary School
  • Alongside defending champion, Ellinor Persson, a steel industry worker from Sweden, who won the 2017 championship in a field that included competitors from the USA, Russia, Switzerland, Holland, Iceland and from across the UK and Ireland.

Organiser of the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship, Michelle Green said: “We’ve been simply inundated with entries for this year’s Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship and it’s terrific to see such a level of interest from across the world in this most humble of dishes.

“We’re also particularly delighted to be able toput on a Young People’s heat for under 26s.

“We’ve certainly seen the standard of dishes entered rise year-on-year with entrants creating traditional porridge with universal appeal alongside seriously creative porridge dishes.

“While we’re delighted to see such a high volume of entries, we’re sorry not to have been able to accommodate everyone wishing to compete this year.

“We’d urge those who haven’t been selected this time to enter again in the future.”

The coveted title of World Porridge Making Champion, and the Golden Spurtle trophy is awarded to the contestant deemed to have made the best traditional porridge using just three ingredients – oatmeal, water and salt.

One of the most popular events in Scotland’s culinary calendar, the competition will take place in the Highland village of Carrbridge on Saturday 6th October.

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Picture: the opening procession

The event, which is open to the public, will include an opening pipe band procession, a food fair, whisky tastings and cookery demonstrations.

A new recipe book, Spurtle Specialities, will be on sale at the event to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the championships.

As well as the traditional porridge competition, there is also a speciality category for oatmeal combined with any other ingredients.

This lead to a wide variety of sweet and savoury entries from last year’s winning entry, Nordic porridge (a caramel sweet and sour porridge made with oatmeal, cloudberry liqueur, orange peel and whipped cream); to Skirlie spinach and mussel Stew porridge; pinhead risotto with lemon, thyme and parmesan; and sticky toffee porridge.

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Picture: the championships includes a speciality category for oatmeal combined with any other ingredients

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.

Hamlyns managing director, Alan Meikle, said: “Congratulations and best of luck to everyone who has secured a place in this 25th anniversary event. Hamlyns of Scotland are proud to have been involved in the World Porridge Making Championships since the very beginning, and it’s fantastic to see how the event has gone from strength to strength.”

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Picture: this year’s entries came from porridge aficionados from UK, Finland, Canada, France, Germany, USA, Estonia, Russia, Australia and beyond.  

Judging the entries will be 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.

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