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New England Chowda Festivals

Thousands of chowder fans will again descend on Sherwood Island State Park in Westport to sample and cast votes for their favorites in four categories. “This may be the most diverse and tastiest line-up yet,” said excited event director Jim Keenan.  “We have chowders, imaginative soups and bisques, even some incredible gazpacho.  First-time visitors and longtime attendees’ taste buds will be blown away”.

The 12th Annual New England Chowdafest takes place Sunday Oct. 6th from 11AM to 3PM.

Chowdafest will showcase entries from over 30 extraordinary restaurants, half of which are new to the event and eager to pit their best against some of the most-decorated chowders in the region and nation.  Restaurants will compete for titles in four different categories including New England clam chowder, Creative chowder, Soup/bisque and Vegetarian. While many associate Chowdafest with local favorite New England clam chowder, each of the categories is hotly contested and popular with both restaurants and taster-voters.  New to the New England clam chowder category is 21 Lake Restaurant of Danbury, Cove Deli & Cafe of Norwalk, Hub & Spoke of Black Rock Bridgeport, Redding Roadhouse of Redding and Smithsonian Chowder House of Massachusetts.  They will compete alongside last year’s category runner-up Our House Bistro (VT) in an all-out effort to unseat four-time defending champion, Pike Place Chowder (WA).

The Creative Chowder category will feature a coconut seafood chowder from Crave of Ansonia, a spicy Bermuda fish & crab chowder from Jasper White’s Summer Shack at Mohegan Sun, a Hungarian Chowder from Hungarian Bistro in Fairfield, Clive’s Fish Chowder from Milestone in Georgetown CT, a Southwest Shrimp & Corn Chowder from Pink Ribbon from NY, a Montauk chowder from Tarry Lodge in Westport, plus the defending champion Drunken Pumpkin seafood chowder by Our House Bistro from Winooski VT.

“We never expected to have so many great entries in the Vegetarian category or for it to be so popular” said Keenan.  This year’s vegetarian category includes a smoked Maitake mushroom chowder from the Stand Vegan Cafe in Fairfield, Cast Iron soup from the Cast Iron Chef Oyster & Chop House in New Haven, a roasted butternut squash & seared pumpkin bisque from Saybrook Soup & Sandwich  Co. in Old Saybrook,  a golden gazpacho by Rory’s of Darien CT, a cauliflower, apple & gorgonzola bisque by Penny Lane Pub, also in Old Saybrook, CT, a ginger carrot soup by Mystic Market in Westport and a curry coconut gazpacho from Bridgestreet Libations & Temptations of New Hartford CT.  “Restaurants competing for the vegetarian title may submit a chowder, soup, bisque, or gazpacho entry so long as it’s vegetarian” added Keenan.

Last but not least, is the Soup & Bisque category.  One of the many creative entries includes a lobster Asiago bisque by Braise & Brew from Westbrook CT.  Multiple time champ Dunville’s Restaurant in Westport CT has entered a new category and think “it’s our best yet” said owner Steve Carpenteri.  Newcomer Gate’s restaurant of New Canaan CT has entered a crab & corn bisque.  Defending champion Geronimo of Fairfield is showing off its Mexican roots by competing with a shrimp posole soup in the ChowdaMex section.  Mystic Market of hometown Westport CT has taken a twist on the known with a decadent Buffalo Chicken Noodle Soup.  Old Post Tavern of Fairfield has entered their crowd -pleasing lobster bisque   “I think this year’s line-up really shows the talent of the chefs for sure” said Keenan.  “If you’re a foodie, you’re going to love this year’s creations”

Chowdafest is presented by Stop & Shop and benefits Food Rescue US in the ongoing fight against food insecurity.  Over 2 million meals have been funded through Chowdafest in the past 4 years alone and the event hopes to add another half million meals to that number.

For additional information about Chowdafest, please visit www.chowdafest.org.

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