Norwalk, CT - Thousands of chowder loving foodies from all over Connecticut converged at Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach to determine the state’s best chowder, soup and bisque at Chowdafest.
They got their spoon, their pencil and their ballot and off they went to sample 30 different entries. They rated each entry on a scale of 7 to 10 to determine the winners of four different categories. The restaurant with the best overall average in their category are declared champions.
Voters chose Donovan’s of South Norwalk for their New England clam chowder, winning for the third consecutive year. Norwalk restaurants took all top three awards with O’Neill’s coming in second narrowly missing first and new comer Sparks Sports Grill taking third place.
Gray Goose of Fairfield took first place in their first Chowdafest competition winning the Traditional Chowder category for Manhattan and Rhode Island clam chowders only. They were the clear winner over runner-up Liquid Lunch of Shelton & Milford who finished second last year with their Manhattan clam chowder. Third place was Dunville’s of Westport who was the categories previous champion also with a Manhattan entry. Westfair Fish & Chips of Westport finished with the top rated Rhode Island clam chowder.
The very popular Creative Chowder category was exceptionally close as eight restaurants showcased their culinary skills. The Spread from South Norwalk took top honors for their chorizo and shrimp chowder which was also the highest rated entry for the entire event. Taking second was Norwalk’s Brewhouse restaurant who won this category previously. Third place was Liquid Lunch with their Great Pumpkin & Lobster Bisque. Norwalk’s Simply Delicious missed the podium by 0.01 of a point for their lobster & corn chowder.
Newcomer Soup Thyme of Monroe won the Soup & Bisque category with their chicken pot pie soup. “I’m so glad we finally entered” said Ron Lee, owner. “We’ve been invited for several years and I’m thrilled we could finally compete”. Tikkaway from New Haven came in second with their chicken cilantro bisque. Third place finisher was Local Kitchen and Beer Bar of Fairfield & Norwalk with their Thanksgiving harvest bisque. LobsterCraft of Darien had the highest rated lobster bisque.
Attendees also got to sample craft beer, wine & crackers, farm made ice cream and even birthday cake from presenting sponsor Stop & Shop who was celebrating their 100th anniversary. Tim Curry’s Motown band entertained the crowd. Kids decorated chef hats and got to meet “Goldie” the goldfish from Pepperidge Farm.
“We’ve been to all seven Chowdafests…” said Barbara Leon of Norwalk. “…and this is definitely the best yet. The crisp autumn weather was perfect for hot soup. I loved that there was so much more room to get around and when you think of chowder, you think of the shoreline and holding the event at the beach made everything idyllic. Can’t wait until next year”.
Final attendance and donation figures are still being tabulated. Chowdafest, presented by Stop & Shop, benefits Community Plates in an ongoing effort to eliminate hunger.