At 11am on Sunday, the bright sun and warm temperature greeted over 10,000 visitors to the Stop & Shop sponsored Chowdafest at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. The traffic exiting I-95 North and South was jam packed with soup-seekers who arrived from all over New England and New York. Of the 40 purveyors of chowders, bisques and gumbos, the most common offering was the traditional New England Clam Chowder, though many other inventive recipes were up to the competition. Enthusiastic providers ladled their savory soups and asked for votes until 3pm when they scraped the bottom of their pots empty. (View the list of winners below.)
I concur with the hum of the crowd that the New England variety was the overall favorite style offered. The wait was by far the longest at 2015 and 2016 first place Pike’s Place from Seattle. However, as the son of a Bostonian and a self-described connoisseur of this creamy and comforting soup, my top vote went to 250 Market from Portsmouth, NH.
Aside from chowder, two of my favorite standouts from Connecticut were the Truffle Mushroom Bisque from Old Post Tavern in Fairfield, and the Cheddar and Ale soup from J. Timothy’s Taverne in Plainville. This event is a culinary highlight for Connecticut and one that makes me proud to be a New Englander.
Congratulations to our new 2017 New England Chowdafest Champions - did your votes line up with:
1st - Crab Shell Restaurant
2nd - Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill, Fairfield
3rd - J Timothy's Taverne