Saturday, February 5, 2011

Chowing Down on Chowder

Where's the chowda?
A staple of New England winters is chowder!  (Or "chowda"...depending on where you're from)  When we heard about the annual Chowder Festival held at Saratoga Springs as part of the Winter Festival, we had to check it out. 

Corn Chowder with
bacon & cornbread
As Southerners the only chowder we've ever really had came out of the Campbell's soup can.  Turns out, it's really good made fresh!

The stew or soup is usually made with cream or milk and cooked in a huge pot.  New England chowder was traditionally made when fishermen would throw portions of the day's catch along with other available foods into a huge ol' pot and simmer the whole mess.

Most folks think of clam chowder first, but guess what?  Apparently there are tons of varieties.  We tried all kinds chowders!  We smacked our lips sampling lobster, corn and even ice cream chowder while deciding on our favorites.

Ice cream chowder!
At the Chowder Fest, we paid $1 for 3 oz. samples of chowder from all the participating restaurants and got stamps from our favorites.  We turned in our ballots to help cast our vote for "Best Chowder."  It's amazing that you can stuff your face on soup!

With more than 70 restaurants across the city taking part in the competition, there were plenty of choices.  We started out on Broadway and made our rounds downtown chowing down on chowda'.  Some places served gluten free, some served vegetarian and some folks were even dishing it up for their doggies (most of which were wearing coats and little booties).

Let's just say, we didn't come across anything we didn't like!

One thing we've learned about weather up rarely stops New Yorkers from having a good time.  Our 3 oz. samples kept us warm with all the snow on the ground and we barely even noticed when the "blizzard" hit.

Our bottom line...chowda is mmm, mmm good!