The Daily Spud

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Spud Sunday: Wexford Spuds

There were spuds from husbands, spuds from wives, spuds from fathers and spuds from sons. They came from the south of the county and the north, youngsters and old timers alike. Though the participants might (we were told) be better known for other activities, here, at the annual Spud Tasting in Jacksie’s Bar, they were potato growers first.

Spud tasting 2011

Announcing the big event

Started as a bit of friendly competition between locals (not to mention as an excuse to throw an aul’ pig on the spit), the Spud Tasting event in the County Wexford village of Taghmon (that’s T’mun for those uninitiated in the ways of Wexford pronunciation) is in its third year and growing. As Pat O’Callaghan, master of ceremonies for the evening joked on more than one occasion, “this could go international lads.”

Pig on a spit

Pork, to go with the potatoes like

Around 25 potatoes were entered for consideration by this year’s guest judge, Ella McSweeney of RTE’s Ear to the Ground, who gamely took on the task of assessing the finest of the local potato crop, which had been steamed (for what seemed like an eternity) as they perched in a purpose-built tray with lettered slots for identification.

Jacksie and Ella

Jacksie, of Jacksie's Bar, the dynamo behind the Taghmon Spud Tasting event,
with potato judge du jour, Ella McSweeney

Potato steamer

The specially constructed competition steamer
(and yes, I'm thinking I should have brought some of my own spuds for that free slot)

Though most of the entrants were of the British Queen variety, the spuds, nevertheless, managed to elicit a surprisingly wide range of descriptions. From nice mouthfuls to sticky little spuds to potatoes with skins of silk, from the firm and the chewy to the soapy but delicious to those that were downright astonishing. There were potatoes variously described as earthy, potatoey, woody, even perfumed and tasting of caramel (though admittedly that one was quite late into the proceedings).

Ella drops a spud

Momentary consternation as Ella drops the first spud

In the end, however, a winner had to be chosen, and though I didn’t envy her the task, Ella gave the nod for top spud to Bernard O’Gorman, with special mention for youngest entrant, 13 year old David O’Keeffe, who came in third and got a galvanised bucket for his trouble. Apart from the glory of winning, an enviable 12 litre knapsack sprayer was the prize for Bernard’s top spot, so yes, I’m definitely thinking of entering next year.

Spud judging

Spud judging with Ella and MC extraordinaire Pat O'Callaghan

6 Comments

  1. Which variety won and can I enter my new varieties next year?

  2. That sounds like a fun event, actually. But I’d want to be in on the tasting! ;)

  3. Daily Spud

    Monday, July 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Aine: It was! A truly great evening’s entertainment was had by all.

    Madeleine: The winning spuds were British Queens. Can’t imagine there’d be a problem if you wanted to enter some spuds next year, it’s all fairly informal to be honest – Jacksie is the man to talk to.

    Kavey: oh yes indeed, I wanted in on the tasting too – I did get to try quite a few of the entries, though I’m not sure how I would have gone with the full 25+ spuds!

  4. What a fun event! From the looks of that pig, there was likely some very tasty pork to match up with all the spuds.

  5. Daily Spud

    Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Indeed so, Lori. It was fun & tasty all ’round :)

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