THE 16TH World Championship in the cooking and eating of bryndzové halušky, Slova- kia’s famous dumplings of potato dough smothered in sheep’s cheese, took place in the municipality of Turecká near Banská Bystrica on the last weekend of May. The event’s organisers – the local Turecká-Halušky civic association and the town’s municipal office – were expecting about 40 competing teams, each made up of one cook and three assistants who are expected to prepare and eat 3.5 kilograms of halušky.
Fifteen teams had regis-tered in advance and more were expected to come in the final days before the competition. Among the first to register were representatives of the Slovak community from the village of Veňarec in Hungary, which is about 80 kilometres from Budapest. Inhabitants of Veňarec are famous as organisers of a rival competition – the Festival of Strapačky (halušky served with sauerkraut rather than bryndza cheese) – that has taken place every September for more than 30 years. Ethnic Slovaks from all over Hungary come there to compete.
“Apart from the competitors from Veňarec who offered to cook strapačky independently from the official competition, Slovaks from Békešská Čaba in Hungary and Slovaks from Poland, Slovenia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic showed an interest in competing,” Ivan Bača, the spokesperson for the organisers told the TASR newswire.
Last year, for the first time, a competition in consuming as quickly as possible one kilogram of bryndzové halušky was included in the programme and this year that tradition will continue. The record last year was 63 seconds. This year a competition in drinking žinčica, sheep’s whey, will be introduced, too. According to past rules, the record in both cooking and eating halušky was eight minutes and one second (50 seconds of that went to eating them) and because of the new rules introduced six years ago, the fastest team so far has cooked halušky in seven minutes and 29 seconds and has eaten them in one minute and five seconds.
In recent years about 4,000 onlookers have been attracted to Turecká by the prospect of tasting bryndzové halušky and watching the competitors. This year, a country band and a folklore ensemble also helped to keep spirits high.
31. May 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská