That’s right…what started as a local chowder competition to help raise much needed money for local food banks has grown immensely. So immensely, in fact, that organizer (and Chief Chowderhead) Jim Keenan had to put some serious thought into expansion. Would he keep Chowdafest at the same level…or take it to the next level? If you’ve met Jim before you know he’s never content with keeping things at the same level; he always wants to kick it up a few hundred notches. And that’s exactly what he’s doing this year with Chowdafest 2014 (Part II) on Sunday, October 12 from 12-4 pm at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk! An obvious added benefit will be a more spread out festival to help combat the large crowds that people faced last Souper Bowl Sunday.
So, if you’re new to this, here’s the deal:
Things don’t get much better in life than having good friends, good food, and good wine all together in one perfect spot. And that’s exactly how it went down yesterday, 1/30, at Zeppoleme in Port Chester, NY. This was, perhaps, one of the most fun events that we’ve been to in a long time, so we were very happy and proud to be a part of it. Let’s take you through each course. Oh, and if you were one of the bums who missed this event, Zeppoleme plans to have more, so don’t worry!
The Hearty Tuscan Tomato Soup was excellent, thawing us out nicely. It was tangy, a tad bit sweet, and had nice chunks of veggies. Marc and Robert of Zeppoleme paired this with a nicely balanced “Truth or Consequences” Riesling which was so easy going down.
Okay, so it’s finally time! You’ll never know how tough it was for us to not spill the pinto beans on this one: the chefs who will be taking part in the first ever cooking demos at Chowdafest brought to you by both of us here at OmNomCT and CTbites and sponsored by Clarke of Norwalk.
First up is Hunter Zampa, winner of Food Network’s Chopped: Teen Talent competition. You also might remember seeing him duke it out all the way until the end on Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-off. Well, here’s your chance to see him cook live as he works the Clarke Cooking Stage starting at 11:30. For his demo, he’ll be creating a Spinach Potato Leek Dip using ingredients and products from Frontier Soups and Westminster Crackers.
As if listening to Star 99.9’s Big Jim and Anna show (5:30-10 am) didn’t wake ya up enough and get you that blast of energy to power through the day, they’ve gone and made it bigger and oh so steamy. That’s ’cause they’ll be sampling 32 of the hottest bowls of soup here in Connecticut every single Friday. No, they won’t be trying all of them at the same time, but will try 8 bowls that will be featured at Chowdafest every Souper Friday.
Here’s the schedule along with the categories and the soups that Jim and Anna will be slurping on:
The Sixth Annual Chowdafest that goes down on SOUPer Bowl Sunday is just around the corner. So, whether you just love soup, you’re upset that your team never made it past the regular season, or you just want to pre-game at Webster Bank Arena, ChowdaFest will be the place to be from 11 to 3 on 2/2. There will be 28 restaurants competing to win your votes for best chowda in three different categories, yes…but there will be so much more that we can’t wait to share with you as one of the sponsors for this year’s event that helps to benefit The Connecticut Food Bank.
ChowdaQuest, the quest for the fest, was a huge success this year and it placed some amazing restaurants into the 2014 ChowdaFest competition through your votes. Going down on SOUPer Bowl Sunday, 2/2, from 11 am to 3 pm, ChowdaFest VI promises to be even more awesomerest than last year! Tickets will be just $10 and benefits The Connecticut Food Bank! We’ll have more details to share with you shortly, but in addition to everything that makes Chowdafest great like sampling chowders and voting for your favorites, there are tons of new things that you’ll love! And, speaking of liquid goodness, check out the winning competitors for ChowdaFest 2014 to be held at Webster Bank Arena:
New England Clam Chowder:
Bernard’s (Ridgefield) – first year
Donovan’s (Norwalk) – defending champion
Go Fish (Mystic) – first year
Guvnor’s Brewery (Norwalk) – first year
Mansion Clam House (Westport) – 2 time champ
Old Post Tavern (Fairfield)
Wood’n Tap (Orange and various locations) – first year
Traditional Chowder (Manhattan/RI only):
You are no chef if you can’t properly put together a warm and comforting bowl of soup. And, no, a can of Campbells or Progresso won’t cut it. That’s because soup is a complex beast, full of layers of flavor, bases, differing textures, and varied cooking techniques and times.
To help you perfect this art, you’ll need to stop by to see Nicole Straight of Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning. She’ll be at the Darien Community Association on 11/12 from 12:30-2 pm, showing how to make perfect fall soups. Tickets are $90 for members or $100 for non-members.
We’ve covered ChowdaFest for the past few years and we’ve been happy to see it grow into one of the most popular events in Connecticut. Really, what’s better? You pay just a small amount of money to go around and taste chowder after chowder, soup after soup, then vote on your favorites. And, at the end of the day, you feel good knowing that you’ve helped Connecticut Food Bank. Now, the next ChowdaFest isn’t until February 2, 2014, but there’s lots going on before then…namely the brand new experience called ChowdaQuest.
ChowdaQuest is “The Quest for the Fest” and will put even more power in the hands of hungry chowda-sippers. This all new experience came about due to so many restaurants wanting to be involved, but only having a limited amount of spots in the competition. All you need to do is check out any of the restaurants that we’ve listed below, ask for their soup sampler, then vote for your favorite soup by heading to ChowdaQuest.com. You get one vote per restaurant per valid e-mail address, so make sure you’re voting for your absolute favorite soup from each restaurant. The restaurants with the most votes by Thanksgiving will get spots in ChowdaFest 2014, so make sure that you support your favorite restaurants by voting! While you’re on the voting page, make sure to enter the Sierra Nevada contest. Just explain where your favorite place to drink Sierra Nevada is and you just might win dinner for two at any of the restaurants that are participating in ChowdaQuest 2014.
Here is the massive list of restaurants that are participating in ChowdaQuest 2014. Some of the restaurants are still waiting to confirm with Jim (nothing next to their name), but will be ready to go shortly:
We told you about Soupstock last year…a free music, food, and arts festival that is now in its fourth year. While Soupstock (taking place on June 8 from 10-8 pm at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Shelton) has always been about fun, there’s also a heart to this much anticipated event. Proceeds from the event (there are lots of chances to give and help support) go to The Mary A Schmecker Turtle Shell Fund (read more here) that benefits art, craft, and music education for children and young adults. Let’s show you why you’ll need to keep Saturday, June 8 free for you, yourself, your friends, and your fam:
1) There will be great food options for you:
We’re talking Liquid Lunch of Shelton and Milford, BRYAC from Bridgeport (they’ll have a raw bar), DiSorbo’s Bakery of Hamden, Mamoun’s Falafel of New Haven, and Addeo’s Italian Ice of Shelton. Kristien just might spend the entire festival shooting oysters, though. :P