‘Potato island’ chips in with fries record, seeks global fame
NAXOS, Greece — It took more than 1,500 kilograms of potatoes, 22 huge caldrons, the hard work of 40 volunteers and the determination of a whole island.
But in the end, Naxos broke the Guinness World Record for the largest batch of fries.
“Greece is celebrating,” said Dimitris Kapounis, president of the island’s agricultural cooperatives union.
The electronic scale that weighed the fried potatoes read 554 kg, which is 100 kg more than the previous world record set in 2014 in Idaho, United States.
According to organizers, setting the record was not an easy task. In order to make it into the famous book, strict rules apply.
In this case, the potatoes had to be peeled and cut in a certain way, they had to be fried according to specific hygiene standards, weighed, served in a single container, and then distributed and eaten.
All these stages had to be documented by photos, videos, testimonies and formal statements. The evidence was then sent to the Guinness committee to be assessed before it puts its famous stamp on the achievement.
For Naxos, the biggest of the Cyclades group of islands in the Aegean Sea, potatoes are as precious as gold.
“Naxos is where the heart of the potato beats,” said chef Stelios Korres, who supervised the cooking leg of the operation.
Cultivated on the island since the early 1800s, the potato provided a cheap and nutritious alternative to the rural poor.
However, it didn’t become the island’s signature product until 1953, when Naxos was officially designated by the Greek state as the center for the cultivation and production of the seed potatoes.
To this day, more than 250 families depend on potato growing and livestock breeding on Naxos, an island where 60 percent of the population make their living in the farming sector. They produce 8.5 million kg of potatoes per year, most of which are sold on the mainland.
Locals hope that the record will bring their island global fame.
“Our aim is to make Naxos potato famous all around Greece, all around Europe, all around the world,” said Kapounis.