Great Mac & Chili Challenge is Sunday at Sherwood Island in Westport

Competition Going Beyond the Boundaries

The 3rd Annual Great Mac & Chili Challenge to be held Sunday, Nov. 5th at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, looks to push the culinary boundaries in this year's competition.  “You never know where you might find a great chili or mac n' cheese,” said event director Jim Keenan.  “For example, you wouldn't expect a great mac n' cheese from a pizza joint, would you?  Well, you can find an incredible Alfredo Mac recently entered in this year from Pizza Planet in Norwalk”.  That's just one example says, Keenan, as you can find other examples like a great pesto mac n' cheese from the Cast Republic in Norwalk or a spinach and artichoke mac from Killer B also from Norwalk.

The chili entries are just as amazing.  From local classic favorites to creative chili entries like a Yankee white bean and seafood chili from Harbor Harvest in Norwalk and a green hatch chili from Geronimo in Fairfield.  “Your taste buds will be dancing,” says Keenan.

This people's choice competition determines who has the best classic chili, creative chili, classic mac and creative mac n' cheese as all who attend are given a spoon, ballot, and pencil when they arrive.  They'll rate each entry on a scale from 7 to 10.5 and the restaurants with the highest rating average in their category will be declared this year's champion.

“I love how seriously everyone takes this event,” said Keenan.  “First, they grab a complimentary coffee or tea from the New England Coffee Company or Harney & Sons, then discuss their strategy about whether they start their day with chili or a mac n' cheese.  They bring a muffin tin from home to carry their samples.  Some break-up and head in different directions and meet in the middle to discuss who they think is the best and compare ballots.  They take their voting seriously as they know it determines who is declared the best”.  Keenan says it's great fun and to come early, come hungry and bring your muffin tins!

Joe's American Bar & Grill from Fairfield along with Pizza Planet from Norwalk recently joined the competition that now includes: Firehouse Grill in Monroe, Hub & Spoke in Blackrock Bridgeport, Little Pub from Wilton, Fairfield, Ridgefield and Greenwich, Prime 16 from Orange, The Blind Rhino from Norwalk, Cask Republic in SoNo, Stamford and New Have, Geronimo of Fairfield and New Haven, Harbor Harvest of Norwalk, Simply Delicious of Norwalk and Westport, Burger Bar & Bistro in Norwalk, Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint of Norwalk, Bobby Q  's Cue & Company of Norwalk, Killer B of SoNo and Old Post Tavern of Fairfield.

Those who attend can add Hummel hot dog “bites” to either their chili or mac n' cheese samples grilled up by the DogTracks food truck.  To cap all the sampling, attendees can enjoy sweet samples of Farmer's Cow ice cream and milk, try amazing cookie dough form the CT Cookie Company and grab a sample of famous NECCO Wafers!

The Great Mac & Chili Challenge is held from 11AM to 3PM on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport CT.  For additional information please visit website:  The Great Mac & Chili Challenge is sponsored by The Farmer's Cow, New England Coffee Company, Hummel Brothers, Cabot Creamery, Connecticut Cookie Company, New England Confectionery Company, Acadia brand water, WEBE 108, Clover, Lowe's, Harney & Son Teas and City Carting & Recycling