The World Testicle Cooking Championships
Six things you need to know about the WTCC
In 2004, the first “BallCup” was held in the idyllic forests of Serbia. Today, the festival, a “cultural exchange” that celebrates testicles, food, and partying, spans three days – location, weather, and successful organisation permitting (it’s run entirely by volunteers) – and attracts between 1,000 and 4,000 people. Countries that have been represented include: America, Australia, Ireland, Brazil, Israel, Bulgaria, Romania, Switzerland, and South Africa.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records: “The world’s largest and longest-running testicle-cooking championship is the World Ball Cup, held each year since 2004 in Gornji Milanovac, Serbia.” It’s estimated the amount of balls used at the 2011 event was around the 100kg mark.
Besides those from a human, all animal testicles can be consumed. And there’s a rich history of it: the Greeks used to eat sheep’s balls prior to battle for strength; the Romans believed dining on the balls of a healthy animal could heal a man of his own testicular problems; and the Chinese used them as a libido booster.
In Serbia, balls are affectionately known as “white kidneys.” The reasoning behind eating them? The WTCC organisers told us that testicles are the only meat that can be eaten while the animal donor remains alive. In addition to that, they look to promote the responsible consumption of animal meat i.e. If an animal is killed for its meat, why not eat the whole animal?
Generally, in Serbia, the price of testicles is much cheaper than ‘regular’ meat. In fact, depending on your level of enthusiasm, butchers have been known to give them away for free. The Serbs have various specialties based on offal, and sack Skittles, which were a favourite of the Serbian Royal Family, are no exception. Since they’re packed with minerals and cholesterol, testes are to be consumed in moderation.
Sixteen species of animal donate their testicles to the WTCC’s culinary cause. The array of options available is impressive: boar, bull, donkey, kangaroo, ostrich, rabbit, deer, shark, ram, horse, rooster. The majority of balls are from either boars or bulls.
A three-festival veteran who makes the tough calls on balls
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 extremely 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-eating family.
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?
For more on Anna: www.annawexler.com
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