Golden Spurtle? Porridge contest? Sounds like something out of Harry Potter
to me, but to the great people of Scotland, the challenge is real. Each October, oatmeal experts from all over the world head to Carrbridge, Scotland
to compete for in the Golden Spurtle World Porridge Making Championship.
And this year, Portland's own Bob's Red Mill is sending a competitor.
But wait, back up.
What's a spurtle?
Sounds like a cross between a sparkler and a gurgling baby.
In fact, spurtles are rod-like stirring sticks (see golden replica in photo below) created in the 15th century, used to prevent lumps from forming in bubbling oatmeal. The proper use of the spurtle—porridge must be stirred clockwise with the right hand—is also said to ward off evil spirits (like Voldemort
Evil spirits or not, contestants in the Golden Spurtle competition duke it out each year to create the best porridge in two categories: traditional porridge (using only oats, water and salt) and specialty porridge (pretty much anything goes, although I've noticed that alcohol is usually a winning component). Last year, the winner in the traditional category used water tapped from an underground river in Scotland,
while the specialty winner crafted a Marzipan porridge complete with Glenfiddich whisky ice cream and vanilla-marinated stewed apples.
Perhaps you find this totally ridiculous and irrelevant? Bob's Red Mill doesn't think so. The renowned grain company will be sending the only US competitor, Matt Cox,
to the contest this year.
He will come armed with a locally-made myrtle spurtle
(okay, that really sounds like a JK Rowling creation
) and a recipe for Oregon Orchard Oat Brulee—a caramel-topped oatmeal filled with Oregon Bartlett pears, cherries, hazelnuts and Clear Creek Pear Eau de Vie. Matt will also be competing in the traditional category using Oregon-made steel-cut oats. No word yet on his water source.
The competition will take place You can follow the Bob's Red Mill team throughout the competition via their blog
Logo courtesy of goldenspurtle.com. Above photos courtesy James Ross and Bob's Red Mill.