Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, announced their menu for this year's competition being held on Sunday October 11th from 11AM to 3PM at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. Chowdafest is a unique fundraiser supporting the alleviation of hunger where people pay to judge chowder, soup and bisque from 40 restaurants representing every New England state.
Attendees receive a spoon, ballot and pencil when they arrive. They enjoy unlimited sampling and rate each entry on a scale from 7 to 10.5 with half point intervals. “It's a true people's choice event” noted Jim Keenan, event director. “I think this is part of the allure of the event, knowing everyone has a voice in determining what's the best versus food critics. Unlike many culinary competitions, it's not the quantity of votes that determines the winners, it's the highest average rating in each category that determines our champions”.
Chowdafest features four categories of competition with ten restaurants competing in each: Classic New England Clam Chowder, Traditional Chowder exclusively for Rhode Island (clear broth) and Manhattan Clam Chowders (red, tomato based), Creative Chowders and Soup & Bisque.
“The level of competition in each category is the highest yet” noted Keenan. The popular New England clam chowder category includes some of the best classic white chowder found anywhere and this year includes Pike Place Chowder from Seattle that DishTip.com rates as America's Favorite Chowder and the popular Luke's Lobster from NYC. “Great chowder can come from anywhere, be it a small clam shack off the shoreline to a popular destination – it's going to be very interesting to see who takes this category this year”.
The traditional category is for the purist that loves either the clear broth or tomato based clam chowders which now includes for the first time, restaurants from Rhode Island and Manhattan competing to defend their namesake chowders against CT's best.
“Culinary genius truly shines in the creative chowder category” said Keenan and includes:
- Curried Crab & Lemongrass Chowder – The Chelsea (Fairfield, CT)
- Sweet Potato Clam Chowder – Cask Republic (New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, CT)
- Surf & Turf Chowder – Octagon Steakhouse (Mystic CT)
- Creamy Fennel Chowder – ON20 (Hartford, CT)
- Fried Seafood & Sweet Potato Chowder – Our House Bistro (Winooski VT)
- Sweet Corn & Pepper Clam Chowder – Parallel Post (Trumbull, CT)
- Seafood Chowder – Ri Ra Irish Pub (Portsmouth, NH, Portland ME)
- Corn & Mussel Chowder – Southport Brewing Co. (Southport, Milford, CT)
- Seafood Chowder – Smithsonian Chowder House (North Hampton, MA)
- Shrimp & Chorizo Chowder - The Spread (South Norwalk, CT)
The soup and bisque category will also whet appetites and includes:
- Cowboy Brisket Soup – Bobby Q's (Westport, CT)
- Chicken Tortilla Soup – Geronimo (Fairfield, New Haven, CT)
- Chicken Marsala Soup – Liquid Lunch (Milford, Shelton CT)
- Thanksgiving Day Bisque – Local Kitchen & Beer Bar (Fairfield, Norwalk, CT)
- Lobster Bisque – Old Post Tavern (Fairfeld, CT)
- Minestrone Puree – Osteria Romana (Norwalk, CT)
- Golden Corn Bisque – Post 154 (Westport, CT)
- Roasted Banana Pepper and White Bean Bisque – Sam's American Bistro (Stamford, CT)
- Creole Clam Bisque – Simply Delicious (Norwalk, CT)
- Seafood Cilantro Bisque – Tikkaway (New Haven, CT)
Tickets to Chowdafest are available at the gate or can be purchased on-line at www.Chowdafest.org. Adult tickets are just $15 and kids (6-12) $5. Parking is FREE.