- 26 September saw the world’s largest pumpkin crowned in Italy, at La Zuccone competition.
- Tuscan grower Stefano Cutrupi took the world record from Belgium title holders.
- A Belgian farmer is predicting he will grow an even larger pumpkin for the world championships hosted in Germany.
Italy and Belgium are in a fierce battle.
Not an arms race or a political brawl – but a pumpkin competition.
Belgium has hosted the world’s largest pumpkin for years, but Italian Stefano Cutrupi has now won the title. Cutrupi, a Tuscan farmer, won Italy’s Lo Zuccone (the pumpkin) championship with his giant vegetable weighing a gargantuan 1,226kg (2703 pounds).
“I am very happy,” he said, as he won the title on September 26.
“It is not easy to obtain such results. Some may see this as amusing but this can only be achieved with specific genetics, research, crossbreeding, and special agronomic techniques,” Alessio Ribechini, president of the Italian championship, told The Times.
However, the glory isn’t to go unchallenged, and Belgium will not give up its monopoly of gigantic vegetable growing lightly.
Mario Vangeel, a Belgian from Kasterlee in Flanders, wants to take the world record back to Belgium in the world pumpkin championship in Germany, in Ludwigsburg on 10 October.
Vangeel’s latest pumpkin weighs 1020kg (2249 pounds), and he thinks he can plumpen it up before the showdown.
Not only would Vangeel win the glory and bring the title back to Belgium, but also a €12,000 prize ($13,912).
Vangeel told The Times how he nurtures his prize possession: “In March I planted the seed. Every day I give my pumpkin a little bit of water and also fertilizer. Everyone has their own secret recipe in the pumpkin world,” he said. “When the championship is over, we hollow out the pumpkin. The seed we keep to sell because that will be worth something.”
He also spoke on VRT radio to recommend the best way to cook a pumpkin: “You hollow out a small pumpkin. You mix its flesh with minced meat. You fill the hollowed-out pumpkin with that mixture again. Season well. Then cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.”