Norwalk, CT – To the surprise of no one, the 2020 New England Chowdafest, originally scheduled for Oct 4, 2020, has been officially postponed until 2021. However, to the surprise of everyone, fans are happy about it. That’s because Chowdafest is proud to announce its new Chowda Club, which is designed to bring the Chowdafest experience to the safety of your own home AND all year round!
Similar in concept to a ‘chowder-of-the-month-club’, two different quarts of chowders will be offered each month starting with the first delivery in the beginning of October, which is the time Chowdafest is traditionally held. The timing intentionally coincides with the tradition of unofficially kicking off the start of comfort food season.
“Two quarts of handcrafted goodness every month? How do I sign up?” said Tony Cossuto, a longtime fan who was happy to hear he can still get his chowder fix. The club will feature chowders, soups or bisque from two restaurants every month. A total of 24 restaurants from all over New England have been been invited to participate.
The selection of soups will be seasonally appropriate and reflect all four categories Chowdafest is known for, like New England Clam Chowder, Creative Chowders, Soups/Bisque and the popular Vegetarian. “There will be a 50/50 mix of both fan favorites plus those new to the event,” said Jim Keenan, creator of the both Chowdafest and now the Chowda Club. The Club will kick off with five-time champions Pike Place Chowder from Seattle and Our House Bistro from Vermont to be the club’s inaugural shipment. “They’re fan favorites and we want to start the club on a great note,” Keenan added.
Historically, Chowdafest has made the fight against hunger their charity cause, providing over three million meals over their twelve years; but now their focus as changed. The Chowda Club will benefit restaurants which have been so adversely affected by this pandemic by earning a portion from the sales.
The Club is much more than just great chowder as members get to rate all the soup they sample, just as if they attended Chowdafest. Unlike Chowdafest, Club members' ratings won’t determine who is the best of the chowder/soup makers, but it will establish a star rating: up to five stars, that each restaurant can promote. Every member will be emailed a unique code to do this online each month.
This new Club is designed to co-exist with Chowdafest, though no alternative date has been determined for Chowdafest at this time. Keenan says that he thought Chowdafest had its run, but “now we’re excited about this new venture," he says.
The Club will provide an e-newsletter each month to members. It will offer more extensive information than just an announcement of chowders available. Receivers will enjoy chef videos, recipes, inside information and more. The Chowda Club is also designing a merchandise line for its fans to include such things as caps, aprons, t-shirts and soup mugs, on which members will get first dibs. Maybe the best part is that membership costs only $10, half the price of what it would cost to attend Chowdafest.
Notably, you don’t have to belong to the Club to purchase the great chowders and soups. But only members get to rate the soups plus get all the extras. Keenan calls members “clam-bassadors” and says, “For only $10, you can’t afford not to be an official member."
Keenan says months of planning went into the design of the Club, from finding the perfect chowders to feature right down to how to deliver them cold. The club is limiting delivery to only New England residents. “From our perspective, it’s much easier to plan Chowdafest: fewer moving parts,” noted Keenan.
Keenan adds that this initiative opened new doors for sponsors like Samuel Adams, which is now the official beer of the Club and will provide monthly pairing recommendations with each featured chowder or soup.
Keeping the New England influence alive, Keenan says that the first 200 people who become members can receive a complimentary trial subscription to Yankee Magazine, a bimonthly magazine about lifestyle, travel and culture in the New England since 1935. “All our sponsors play a role in the Club -- Westminster Bakery, for instance, is including its delicious oyster crackers with each shipment. We’re thrilled to have all our sponsors,” Keenan noted.
For additional information about this Chowda Club by Chowdafest and to become a member, please visit www.Chowda.Club. The Chowda Club is sponsored by Cabot Creamery Co-operative, Chica de Gallo, Copp's Island Oysters, Hood Cream, New England Dairy, Polar Beverages, Samuel Adams, The Farmer’s Cow, Westminster Bakery and Yankee Magazine.