Every year Saratoga Springs hosts Chowderfest, a competition between local restaurants to see who makes the best chowder. For $1 you can get a sample of chowder from one of the many competitors and vote on which chowder was the best. On February 6, over 80 different participants made hundreds of gallons of chowder, with everything from classic New England clam chowder to dessert chowder. I spent the day trying every type of chowder you could think of, and these were my favorites from Chowderfest 2016.
Classic New England Clam Chowder
If you’re looking for chowda, Circus Cafe has got you covered. This chowder was thick and creamy with the perfect amount of clam. Although the weather was pretty mild for upstate New York, this chowder was perfect for a chilly day. Make your own here.
Manhattan Style Blackened Catfish Chowder
Normally I prefer New England chowder to Manhattan, but One Caroline Street Bistro might change that. Their chowder had the perfect amount of heat, and the catfish was an unexpected variation on the traditional clam. Make your own Manhattan clam chowder here.
Corn Chowder with Smoked Oyster and Chipotle Crumble
Boca Bistro really went all out, and this chowder was by far my favorite of the day. It was creamy and the chipotle crumble on top added the perfect amount of heat. I would put it on everything if I could. Here’s an awesome recipe so you can make your own (chipotle crumble not included).
Leave it to Ben & Jerry’s to come up with dessert chowder. Phish Food ice cream topped with sea foam (whipped cream) and croutons (M&M’s). If only the samples were bigger. Normally I’m not a huge fan of ice cream in the winter, but this was SO worth losing feeling in my fingers.