La Tania Potato Day - aka Eurospud 2003

Sunday 7th September 2003

Finally it was here, the day of the annual potato competition. It was a day many had worked hard for over several weeks, nurturing and feeding plants throughout the summer. It may sound weird but believe me, this was serious stuff.

The day dawned bright and sunny and kicked off chez Ian and Ron with a large fry-up washed down with Buck's Fizz. Contestants' stomachs were lined with a fabulous spread of bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms, hash browns and tomatoes, expertly cooked by the hosts and equally expertly served à table by Dave, Corinne and Linz. The first stage of the contest resulted in disappointment for normally green-fingered Ian whose plant had mysteriously died, and for Corinne who had managed to grow the equivalent of a couple of marbles. Newcomer Dave, however, came up trumps with a commendable crop, one potato of which was immense.

Then it was on to a joint venue for morning coffee in Le Grand Bois, some folks visiting Georgina (TMC) and others enjoying the sunshine on the bank outside Phil Spence's who, when his spud was tipped out of it's attractive Sol beer bucket, took and unexpected lead.

A terrific lunch was served up at 1pm courtesy of Bruno, Kirsty, Emilie, Kate and JB. On a sun-drenched deck, guests were treated to Bruno's famous barbecued lamb, with the girls doing a sterling job in the kitchen rustling up homemade pizza and a variety of dips and snacks. Drinks of course were served by JB and there were plenty of them. The potatoes were eventually tipped out and despite a dead plant, Kate's effort still yielded. The biggest crop of the day so far was produced by Kirsty, assisted by mum, Barbara. She had piled unspeakable amounts of animal droppings on said plant on an alarmingly regular basis.

For those that were still hungry, it was next off to Lu and Clogs for a delicious afternoon tea of homemade cakes and apple pie. Assistant Adam helped serve up lashings of tea and more alcohol for those still able to face the booze. Contestants were treated to custard with the apple pie although this was jealously guarded by Ian who carefully monitored the ladling process. The two contending plants were enormous but Lu's plant went to prove the old adage that size doesn't mean a thing, delivering just a few spuds. There were gasps all round when Adam's plant was turned out to reveal an impressive crop of healthy potatoes.

In order to run off a few calories before the final leg and evening festivities, most participants adjourned to the basketball court for a rowdy game of netball-come-basketball refereed by Ian. I've no idea who won but there was a great deal of shouting.

The final potato tipping and grand finale were hosted by the previous winners Debbie and Tim Wall. Their crop turned out to be rather unusual on closer inspection. There were cries of sabotage but the judges slapped Tim's legs and told him to be quiet. A magnificent spread was provided for all-comers, including salmon tartiflette, beef casserole, Tarentaise bitter and other goodies. It was a full and sleepy group that wended its way home later that night after the much-awaited prize-giving.

Results table

  • First prize (for the biggest crop) -- Adam Walsh, whose crop weighed in at 1.5kg
  • Biggest single potato prize -- scooped by Dave Jeffrey, despite a disappointingly small crop
  • Greatest number of spuds - Kirsty and Barbara
  • Smallest crop -- the Le Praz girls, Corinne and Chloe
  • Best presentation - Phil Spence and his beer bucket
  • Highly commendable effort -- Louisa
  • Dead plant booby prize -- Ian, Kate & JB
  • Most unusual crop - Tim and Debbie Wall whose plant pot turned out a large bag of crisps

Many thanks go to Hilda and Tony, our expert judge and photographer, who were utterly un-bribable. So it's an away fixture for next year's finale to be hosted by cup winner Adam from Méribel.

Thanks to Linz from Snow Hassle for more inter-season updates!