‘Potato is­land’ chips in with fries record, seeks global fame

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

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.

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