Sun, Fun, and Seafood: What You Missed at the Great Chowder Cook-Off

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The Great Chowder Cook-Off is the longest running competition of its kind. For over 30 years, this event has featured Chowder recipes from across the country, with competitors all vying for the highly coveted crown. Chefs all the way from Seattle to New England came to prepare their champion-caliber recipes with the hopes of obtaining the ultimate bragging rights. For only $20, one tickets allows you to sample “all-you-can-eat” style cups of “Chowdah.”. After six hours of sampling, thousands of hardcore chowder fans then vote for their favorites in three different categories (best seafood, best clam, and most creative).

The weather was beautiful with not even a single cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to relax in Newport and enjoy some seafood under the sun. In case you missed it, here are highlights from the 2013 Great Chowder Cook-off along with official results for this year’s winners!

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Thousands were in attendance for this awesome event. In Rhode Island, we love our chowder!

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Aside from the chowder itself, it’s all about being the most spirited so that people remember your booth when it’s time to cast their vote. Memorable slogans like “cheer lowder for the best chowder” is an example of a catchy phrase that you will remember hours later.

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The Chowder Cook-Off is a fun event for everyone. All the contestants proudly handed out their samples with a smile. The Boat House from Tiverton, RI was one of my personal favorites (shown above). They represented Rhode Island well with this tasty cup of chowder!

Not everyone used clams for their chowder. Octagon Restaurant brought the Bayou to New England with their “Dragon Chowder” made with alligator. In fact, it even won them a trophy!

Creative Category
1st Place: Octagon Restaurant / Groton, CT
2nd Place: Boat House / Tiverton, RI
3rd Place: The Mooring / Newport, RI

The clam category was the most competitive with more contestants than any other category. It’s disappointing to see Rhode Island didn’t wind up in the winner’s circle here, especially since we are known for our clams. Oh well, better luck next year Rhody!

Clam Category
1st Place: Stefano’s Seafood / Long Beach Island, NJ
2nd Place: Pike Place Chowder / Seattle, WA
3rd Place: Luke’s Lobster / Hurricane’s Soup – Greene, ME & New York City

Last but not least, there was the seafood category. These delicious chowders contained everything from lobster to scallops. Everyone eagerly sampled these upscale chowders for a smorgasbord of seafood flavors.

Seafood Category
1st Place: Melville Grille / Portsmouth, RI
2nd Place: Rhody Joe’s / Wakefield, RI
3rd Place: Stone Ridge / Mystic, CT

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And as that wasn’t enough, for the first time, they introduced the addition of the Newport Oyster Festival. Right outside the Newport Yachting Center on America’s Cup Avenue, it featured some amazing local shellfish and seafood from Matunuck Oyster Farm. In case you still had an appetite after sampling endless cups of chowder (which is tough to imagine :)), you could order some fresh seafood from Matunuck’s menu (shown above) for very reasonable prices.

I can seriously say…the Chowder Cook-Off / Newport Oyster Festival combo is the best value around. I’ve attended this event for a few years now, and each year seems to get bigger and better. So if you missed it this year, don’t worry. Just mark your calendars early and be sure to attend next summer.

Congratulations to all the winners and a great effort from all the honorable mentions. You all helped make the 2013 Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-off a clam-tastic experience!

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