The teams’ meals will be evaluated and rated by an international jury, headed by the president of the jury Anna Wexler, an American journalist and culinary expert, who is presiding the World Testicle Cooking Championship’s jury for 6 years in a row since 2009.
Judging on the experience of the consumers, these specialties are an exceptional aphrodisiac that stimulates sexual energy.
Members of jury are usually women, food experts or experienced journalist. They are eminent experts, qualified to judge these specialties. Colour, taste, smell, combination of spices, the most beautifully organized camp, the hottest dish, the funniest joke... is what counts. Curious visitors rate the most simulative specialty.
PRESIDENT OF THE JURY - ANNA WEXLER
WHEN DID YOU FIRST HEAR ABOUT THE BALLCUP?
I came across the testicle festival the way I find out about all important things in my life: by Googling weird shit late at night. Somehow I came across Ljubomir’s e-book and in the opening video he mentions the festival. Right then, I knew that I had to go. I emailed Ljubomir, offered to put on a free fire show [Anna is a fire performer], and several weeks later I found myself on a rickety bus heading into central Serbia.
THE APPEAL OF THE BALL CUP FOR MEN IS OBVIOUS E.G. ''HEY, LOOK! I'M COOKING WITH BALLS!'' WHAT IS THE APPEAL FOR A WOMAN?
It’s the same appeal. Although, to be fair, probably about 95 per cent of the cooks are male. There are more women in general attendance, but overall, it’s definitely a male-dominated event.
YOU'VE BEEN HEADING THE JUDGING PANEL FOR THREE YEARS NOW. HOW DID YOU BECOME JURY PRESIDENT?
When I first came to the WTCC, in 2009, I was in for a bit of a surprise: it turned out that I was the one who’d travelled the farthest to eat balls. I’d come from my home in Tel Aviv, Israel, and everyone else was from Serbia or the Balkans. That may be part of the reason why Ljubomir gave me the honour of being President of the Jury.
AND WHAT DOES THIS EXTREMLY PRESTIGIOUS POST INVOLVE?
Tasting the testicles in the top-secret jury room, along with the rest of the jury. Unfortunately, I don’t have veto power. I’m also part of the “face” of the WTCC: I lead the opening ceremonies, speak at the press conference, give interviews, and present the awards at the closing ceremonies.
WHAT IS IT THAT KEEPS YOU COMING BACK TO THE WTCC FOR MORE?
For two full days I’m a rock star in Serbia. I’m in the newspapers, on radio and TV, and I lead the opening and closing ceremonies. Last year I even had a bodyguard. I get to do ridiculous things, like present the “Ballsiest Man of the Year” award to Barack Obama at the press conference [in 2010]. It all culminates in tasting over a dozen testicle dishes and awarding the official BallCup trophy, which is a wooden sculpture of a man with a gigantic erect penis.
HOW'S THE CROWD?
I like hanging with crazy people and Serbs are pretty f—king nuts. There’s no bullshit with them, no pleasantries – they’re open, honest, and they’ll tell you what’s on their mind. They’re funny, too. There’s definitely a language barrier, but alcohol – especially that Serbian rakia – has a magical way of breaking it down. The people are extremely hospitable and everyone at the festival has become sort of like family… my Serbian, testicle eatingfamily.
WHAT IS THE OVERALL ATMOSPHERE LIKE?
I like to think of it as a kind of redneck-style American cookout, only transplanted to Eastern Europe, which means more alcohol, more partying, and just total craziness. I’ve travelled to
some of the best parties in the world – Burning Man, raves in Goa, Full Moon parties in Thailand – and BallCup tops them all. It’s authentic.
A RATHER DEEP QUESTION NOW: WHAT DO BALLS MEAN TO YOU?
Well, I’m happy I don’t have them – I can’t imagine walking around with two wrinkled, über-sensitive sacks dangling from any part of my body, much less my crotch – but I’m happy that I can metaphorically have them. That is, as a writer, I’m thankful for the role balls have played in enriching the English language. Why bother calling somebody “courageous” or “adventurous” when you can just say that he’s got balls?
There are a number of different awards: There is an overall prize for taste, which is the most coveted, but there are also prizes for things like presentation. In 2009, because of a language miscommunication, I actually invented an award for best texture. In terms of the main prize, the first time I taste a dish I try not to be too cerebral about things. There are always a few dishes that immediately stand out – like, holy shit, this is f—king fantastic – and there are also a few that you quickly want to spit out into a napkin.
I usually go back and re-taste all the top contenders, and only then do I start to consciously analyse things. I think about style, creativity, texture, and flavour. The dish that won top prize the last two years in a row is incredible: It’s a kind of stew with testicles, vegetables, peanuts, olives, and lots of spices. There’s an initial taste, followed by a second taste as the spices kick in, and then after you’re done swallowing there’s another taste that floats up – and you’re just left with this awesome aftertaste. I don’t know how they do it.
There’s no written description next to each dish in the jury room, so I actually never know what kind of testicles I’m eating. Bull is probably the most popular variety, though. In terms of logistics, the scoring works slightly differently each year and it’s often a bit chaotic. Generally speaking, all the judges give an independent rating of each dish – say, on a scale from 1 to 10 – and the overall totals are tallied up for each dish. If there’s a tie, we re-taste the dish and give new ratings to break the tie.
(interview Maxim Australia, March issue 2012, Daniel Steiner).
FOR MORE ON ANNA: www.annawexler.com