3 Nov 2012

We've done it again! Fortnum's pumpkin success!

(And by "we, I don't mean me at all but the junior members of my sister's family!)

This Hallowe'en I couldn't make it to the annual Fortnum & Mason pumpkin carving competition as I was working a long day but my sister's Midlands-based family made the effort and trekked down to London for it; I joined them for the last couple of hours in the evening.  A couple of years back, my niece Kate won the inaugural competition, coming home with a bespoke besom broom and the promise of a Fortnum's delivery truck dropping off a £1000 hamper at her door.

Last year, my great niece Lottie (then 7½) scooped the top award for her entry into the children's section - her winning pumpkin was featured in Fortnum's publicity for this year and she took home a sizeable selection of Fortnum's sweets in one of their famous hampers.

Lottie's prize winning pumpkin, 2011
Image from Fortnum & Mason website
So, no pressure for this year then...   To be honest, the bar is now set so high, with very seriously competitive entries from professional pumpkin carvers, that it would be (almost) impossible for the hobbyist to win in the adult section.

The 2012 adult winner: 3 gruesome faces carved around the pumpkin.
Makes me think of the first Harry Potter film!
Thank goodness, then, for the children's section where, yet again, the winning pumpkin was chosen from those entered by members of my family - this time by Lottie's younger sister, Sophie (6½). Her sister and cousin were also commended for their efforts.  In case you can't immediately see it, this is a devil-faced pumpkin with flames, plaited raffia beard and (slightly slipping) horns - and, in my humble and totally biased opinion, much nicer than the adult winner, retaining a certain charm and friendliness.

Winning Children's pumpkin, 2012.

** Well done, Sophie! **

And thanks for saving me the truffles from your huge hamper of Fortnum's delicious sweets!  ♥♥♥

I do keep banging on about this Hallowe'en event but it's a lovely thing to go to if you're a) in London and b) not busy trailing after mini sweet bearing ghouls in your neighbourhood. Like most established department stores, Fortnums know how to keep the crowd entertained - we were treated to superior snacks and drinks in sugar-rimmed martini glasses throughout the hour long judging.  I loved the Jeeves-style waiters with their silver salvers of sliced pumpkin and sausagemeat in pastry, bowls of spiced pumpkin risotto and plates of pumpkin pie with vanilla cream and a disc of sugar-dredged, deep fried pumpkin. The last was a diet-breaker; even so, I'd dearly love the recipe! (I've looked online and nothing seems to resemble it; I think there were ground almonds in the pie filling.)  

I was very thirsty after my day at work so avoided more than a sip of the blood-coloured vodka and blackcurrant purée in favour of the non-alcoholic thirst quenching blackcurrant purée and soda.  Hmmm, it was all so lovely that I'm now wondering about slipping along to the macaron making demonstration this afternoon! 


14 comments:

  1. Congratulations to Sophie, what a brilliant pumpkin. Your family are so creative. It's funny but I was actually thinking about your post from two years ago on Halloween and wondering if your family were entering again. What a shame I'm nowhere near London, I'd love to go to the event.

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    1. Thanks, Jo. We are a very creative family but this has been fostered from an early age by each generation of parents. We like the children to keep themselves productively busy and creative pursuits are great boredom busters! It's easy for me to get to the event (20 minutes on the tube) but I really admire my family making the trek from the Midlands - and it's lovely to be able to easily meet up with them.

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  2. Did the children have to do them on the spot or were they done and entered in advance. It's bloomin' hard work scoring out a pumpkin. Well done to Fortnums for putting on such a great event.

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    1. There is a kitchen for last minute adjustments but, no, the pumpkins are done ahead of time and brought to the event. I discovered the perfect pumpkin scoop a couple of years ago - I use a melon baller, the edges are perfect for gouging through pumpkin flesh!

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  3. Oh what fun Caro. You must have artistic and imaginative genes in your family. Not at all sure about the adult winner's entry especially those pegs but your nieces's creations are brilliant.

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    1. Thanks Anna! And, yes, the evening was great fun - a little slice of how the other half lives, especially when you look at Fortnum's prices! I thought the winning adult pumpkin was well creepy, but I guess that's rather the point!

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    2. We hadn't seen Sophie's entry - it's brilliant. Quite sorry we didn't make it this year. It would have been nice to have seen everyone. Julia

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    3. Hi Jules! We missed you too! Glad you were able to see Sophie's pumpkin via the internet - good news CAN travel fast! Hope we'll see you soon! xxx

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  4. sounds a really fun event. Congratulations to Sophie for a great pumpkin! Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina! It was - definitely one that get put in the diary every year!

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  5. Caro, it was so lovely to see you there........ very proud of Sophie and great to see creativity recognised and rewarded. x

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    1. Hi Sis, very pleased to be able to join you yet again - it was a bit squished but lovely to catch up with everyone ... and a great achievement from Sophie and all the children. xx

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  6. What a brilliant event. Your family clearly know what the judges are looking for. They must be over the moon when they win. Loving the sound of that vodka.

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  7. Well spotted, Welly! We do try to push the boundaries! There's just 4 criteria to meet: skill, creativity, scariness, translucence. In the first year, a professional carver created the King of the Wild Things out of an Atlantic Giant pumpkin - awesomely impressive, but not hollowed out so he didn't win. Boy, was he cross!!

    Re the vodka: two words - simply delicious!

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Caro x

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