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Woodstock Magazine

Mac and Cheese, Please! Vermont’s Annual Mac & Cheese Challenge

Sep 03, 2014 11:30PM ● Published by Erin Frisch

What’s better than Vermont cheese? Vermont cheese baked with pasta, of course! On September 14, 2014, the Second Annual Vermont Mac & Cheese Challenge will take place in Windsor, Vermont. All you need bring is a ticket for entry and a very hearty appetite. Come hungry and ready to eat mountains of gourmet mac and cheese, prepared for you by the best chefs of the Upper Valley and beyond. Ultimately, you and your fellow samplers will cast your votes for the best mac and cheese of Vermont.

The Mac & Cheese Challenge comprises 20 local restaurants preparing and presenting their best macaroni and cheese dish. Discerning taste-testers make their way beneath the tents, eating sample-size cups of each gourmet offering. There are, of course, the traditional, creamy mac and cheese dishes, but more eclectic varieties will also be found. Some are spiked with spicy sriracha sauce, while others are dressed up with diced apples, cranberry relish, or vegetables, and many contain generous portions of local ham or bacon. Chefs from restaurants such as Pine, King Arthur Flour, Elixir, and Big Fatty’s BBQ put their best spoon forward for this competition. Originality is highly praised here, resulting in masterpieces such as orecchiette pasta topped with bacon crumbles, chives, and chipotle aioli, and a cheesy pasta loaded with pulled pork and topped with cornbread. For the People’s Choice or Kid’s Choice award, you and your family can score each mouthful you take based on cheesiness, creaminess, texture, flavor, and more. Last year’s winner, Singleton’s Market, created a knockout dish of macaroni blended with their smoked cheddar and shredded ham. You can try out the award-winning recipe for yourself!

Another signature of this popular event is the large quantity of beer on-site, thanks to Harpoon Draft. Beer is available for purchase to wash down all that rich cheesiness. Live music and calf petting make the setting kid friendly and upbeat. Best of all, profits from the event benefit Vermont Foodbank and Sustainable Woodstock. This investment in food pays off for you and your family, and your community.

The event is held at 75 Artisans Way in Windsor, Vermont. Mac and cheese is served from 11am to 3pm, but be sure to arrive on time, as nearly 1,000 hungry mac and cheese lovers attended last year. Tickets can be purchased online in advance for $12, or at the door for $15. Children six and under eat for free. For more information on tickets and directions, click here.

Which entry blew your mind and tantalized your taste buds at last year’s Vermont Mac & Cheese Challenge?

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