It was a nice fall day to be out and about. Hubby, sister and I went to Calf Pasture Beach in South Norwalk, CT to attend our first ever Chowdafest. There was a bit of a hiccup with the parking, but nothing worth whining about. We did manage to park, so any petty annoyance can be easily forgiven.

After checking in, we were told to get a spoon, a paper plate, ballot and a pencil. I was a woman with a mission – to sample each offering from each booth.

We started off with #11 High Tide Gourmet because it was the nearest booth from the main entrance.

Chowdafest #11. High Tide Gourmet and their New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #11. High Tide Gourmet with their New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #10. Simply Delicious and their Lobster and Corn Chowder
Chowdafest #10. Simply Delicious and their Lobster and Corn Chowder
Chowdafest #9. Old Post Tavern and their New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #9. Old Post Tavern and their New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #8. Post 154 and their Turkey, Bacon and Cheese Chowder
Chowdafest #8. Post 154 and their Turkey, Bacon and Cheese Chowder
Chowdafest #7. Ginger Man and their Sweet Potato Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #7. Ginger Man and their Sweet Potato Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #6. Cask Republic and their Roasted Chicken Barley and Candied Bacon Soup
Chowdafest #6. Cask Republic and their Roasted Chicken Barley and Candied Bacon Soup
Chowdafest #5. Donovan's and their New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #5. Donovan’s and their New England Clam Chowder

Froom booths #11 to #5, I’d get a sample, take a pic then eat. Then I realized that it wasn’t an efficient use of my time. So I went to 3-4 booths, got their samples, took pictures of the grouped samples, then ate.

Chowdafest #4. O'Neill's Pub served New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #4. O’Neill’s Pub served New England Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #3. Brewhouse served Chicken and Roasted Corn Chowder.
Chowdafest #3. Brewhouse served Chicken and Roasted Corn Chowder.

Mysteriously, there was no #2 booth listed – the official ballet went from 1 to 3, skipping 2. I wonder what that was all about.

Chowdafest #1. LobsterCraft served Lobster Bisque.
Chowdafest #1. LobsterCraft served Lobster Bisque.
Chowdafest #30. Gray Goose served Manhattan Clam Chowder
Chowdafest #30. Gray Goose served Manhattan Clam Chowder

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Chowdafest #29. Tavern on Main served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #29. Tavern on Main served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #28. Soup Thyme served Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
Chowdafest #28. Soup Thyme served Chicken Pot Pie Soup.
Chowdafest #27. Washington Prime served Clam, Corn & Bacon Chowder.
Chowdafest #27. Washington Prime served Clam, Corn & Bacon Chowder.
Chowdafest #26. Southport Brewing Co. served Spinach, Artichoke and Chicken Chowder.
Chowdafest #26. Southport Brewing Co. served Spinach, Artichoke and Chicken Chowder.

Unfortunately, #25 Local Kitchen ran out of their Thanksgiving Harvest Bisque. I didn’t even get to try. 🙁

Chowdafest #24. Liquid Lunch served Farmhouse Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #24. Liquid Lunch served Farmhouse Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #23. Liquid Lunch served The Great Pumpkin and Lobster Chowder.
Chowdafest #23. Liquid Lunch served The Great Pumpkin and Lobster Chowder.

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Chowdafest #22. Lobster Post served Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #22. Lobster Post served Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #21. Lobster Post served Lobster Bisque.
Chowdafest #21. Lobster Post served Lobster Bisque.
Chowdafest #20. Sparks Sports Grill served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #20. Sparks Sports Grill served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #19. Tikkaway served Chicken Cilantro Bisque.
Chowdafest #19. Tikkaway served Chicken Cilantro Bisque.

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Chowdafest #18. Sails American Grill served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #18. Sails American Grill served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #17. Parallel Post served Lobster Bisque.
Chowdafest #17. Parallel Post served Lobster Bisque.
Chowdafest #16. Rory's served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #16. Rory’s served New England Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #15. The Spread served Chorizo and Shrimp Chowder.
Chowdafest #15. The Spread served Chorizo and Shrimp Chowder.
Chowdafest #14. Dunville's served Manhattan Clam Chowder.
Chowdafest #14. Dunville’s served Manhattan Clam Chowder.

Booth #13 for Olio Restaurant on Hope was nowhere to be found.

Chowdafast #12. Westfair Fish and Chips served Rhode Island Clam Chowder.
Chowdafast #12. Westfair Fish and Chips served Rhode Island Clam Chowder.

I went to get free Blueberry ice cream thanks to The Farmer’s Cow. They also had Peanut Butter Banana ice cream. Despite the long lines, I stuck it out and waited for my cone of sweetness.

Free Blueberry ice cream courtesy of The Farmer's Cow
Free Blueberry ice cream courtesy of The Farmer’s Cow

These are the cups of all the chowders, bisques and soups that I tasted yesterday. Chowdafest game strong!

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27/29 cups of chowders, bisques and soups tasted in one day.
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Community Plates folks
The lovely folks of Community Plates
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014
Chowdafest 2014

Here’s the two of us before leaving Chowdafest. My sister was roaming around somewhere. 🙂

chowdafest-43

In my rush to eat, I missed taking pictures of some booths’ fare. Can’t blame a girl for that. After endless tasting, rating each one on a scale of 7-10 was so difficult because they all served really delicious food. In fact, I wish they had separate categories for chowders, bisques and soups. At least it would be pitting apples against apples, not apples versus oranges versus bananas.

I did come up with own list of favorites:

1. Simply Delicious – Lobster and Corn Chowder. How do I even begin to describe their chowder? Their name pretty much covers it, simply delicious. I checked the results from previous Chowdafests, but I don’t see Simply Delicious there. If it’s their first time to join, then they’re off to a good start.

2. The Spread – Chorizo and Shrimp Chowder.

Tied for third were all New England Clam Chowders because I really love New England Clam Chowders!
3. Donovan’s – New England Clam Chowder
3. O’Neill’s – New England Clam Chowder
3. Sparks Sports Grill – New England Clam Chowder

There were no long waits per booth, except for the ice cream booths so yay! Great decision to hold this event in an outdoor location. Even if the event was well-attended (I think there were more than 1,500 attendees), you don’t feel crammed because you can walk around and hang out near the beach while you’re sampling the offerings. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to visit the other booths (Sierra Nevada, Pepperidge Farm, William Hill Winery, among others). But I was also very happy to see that the trash cans were monitored and cleared out accordingly.

I definitely enjoyed attending this event. Even better, it’s for a good cause because it benefits Community Plates. I can’t wait to find out this year’s winners and to attend next year’s event!


Update: Jim Keenan, Chief Chowda-head of Chowdafest, told me that there are actually four categories of competition: New England, Traditional (Manhattan and Rhode Island only), Creative chowder and soup/bisque. Here’s the press release on this year’s winners.

6 Comments

  1. Loved this!! Your friend (me) is such an forgetful airhead at times!! I’ve “liked” over a thousand FB pages. So, yes I receive your notifications. But no, I don’t visit your site! Because I kept thinking – hmm, I don’t like food. Why would I be getting notifications from a food page? lol DUH!! All of a sudden, I went OMG that’s Cecilia’s page!! I am soo sorry for not supporting you better!! That being said, I LOVE YOUR SITE, your photos, what you have to say & your style!! I am soo proud of you!! Keep it up!! You go girl!!

    Jennifer Ching Lopez
  2. This was fun wasn’t it!!
    I’m so bummed I missed you – This was my 3rd year covering the event so I knew the drill. Snap – slurp – and move!!! I arrived super early and loved, loved, loved the venue and was so happy that they had a beautiful day!
    I probably won’t eat chowder for another year – but what a great day!

    1. We got there around 1pm. Thanks for sharing your drill! I’ll keep it in mind for next year. Like you, I loved the venue! I don’t think I’ve tasted so much chowder in my entire life until last Saturday…hahaha!

      Cecilia

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