Okay, So What's Actually Going to Be At the Mac & Cheese Challenge? Just a Few Clues Out There...
Next weekend is the 6th Annual Vermont Mac and Cheese Challenge, hosted by the folks at Vermont Farmstead Cheese. If you pay any attention to local social media, it's hard to imagine you're unaware of this.
What you might have missed, though, is that over the last ten days or so, VT Farmstead has been teasing the event by wondering what each of this year's competitors might be up to. There aren't many clues -- this is serious competition, after all. But the posts have been both a clever drip of publicity and an entertaining look at what creative minds can do when they apply themselves to one of the basic American food groups.
For instance, last year's winner, Mo's Backyard BBQ, LLC, won with a smoked gouda mac & cheese that had the judges raving. No hints of what they might bring this year.
Meanwhile, the Omni Mount Washington Resort will be showing up with something called "Stickey's Pate Au Fromage." The UVM Medical Center will be using alehouse cheddar. Quechee's Public House will be back -- with, possibly, a lobster-inflected mac & cheese. And although there's nothing about what Quechee's Singleton's Market might do this year, there's a link to an article by one of the judges who helped them win in 2014. This was what did it: "Singleton’s own Smoked Cheddar, Vermont Farmstead’s Alehouse Cheddar, muenster cheese, and Singletown’s shredded smoked ham, topped with buttered breadcrumbs, was rich and creamy, with a satisfying extra-savory element added by the housemade meat."
Second place that year, by the way, went to Hanover's PINE, who did "orechiette pasta in a creamy white cheddar sauce, drizzled with a chipotle aioli and topped with chives, local bacon, and a manchego crumble."
This is a big event, attracting thousands -- for entirely understandable reasons. Here's where to learn more.