The date has been set for one of the tastiest events on the Moray calendar as plans for the 2015 Cullen Skink World Championships take shape.
The fourth annual contest will take place this November in the seaside town famous for creating the dish, giving budding cooks six months to perfect their recipe.
Entrants will compete for two championship prizes – one for the best soup made using a traditional recipe, and the other for best Cullen Skink “with a twist”.
The Cullen Voluntary Trust Initiative launched the annual celebration of the soup in 2012.
Since then they have seen the competition stir up interest across the country.
The group’s Simon Tucker said: “Last year, for the first time, the traditional Cullen Skink World Championship trophy left home soil, with Fife man Neal Robertson taking the honours.
“However, we managed to keep the Cullen Skink ‘with a twist’ cup here, with the Cullen Bay Hotel’s Ian Watson winning for his rum-smoked Cullen Skink with a Bermuda Twist.
“As well as maintaining the tradition of an iconic recipe, we look at the competition as a means of promoting Cullen as its home.”
The championship event is set for Sunday, November 22, at the Cullen Bay Hotel.
Hotel owner Rena Watson said: “We are delighted to be hosting the event this year.
“There is a real buzz on the day, and events like this help showcase what a fantastic place Cullen is.”
Those entering the traditional Cullen Skink contest are required to use smoked haddock, milk, potato and onion.
Those looking to apply a twist to the traditional recipe must also include those basic ingredients, but are free to be as creative as they like with added elements.
The finalists in each cook-off will have one hour to produce three 250ml portions of the soup for the judges. They will be allowed to prepare raw ingredients in advance, but all cooking has to be conducted at the event itself under competition conditions.
Last year’s winner, Neal Robertson, who owns the Tannochbrae Tearoom in Auchtermuchty, added the title to previous triumphs at the world porridge, stovies and jam-making championships.
He said: “It’s all about celebrating local food from local producers.
“These competitions are great. You come across all sorts of interesting people who are passionate about food.”
Entry form are available on www.discovercullen.com, on request by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phoning 07831 768349. The closing date for entries is 31st October 2015.