I had the pleasure of visiting Boston over the 4th of July weekend. And aside from being blown away by the Boston Pops/Neil Diamond Fireworks Spectacular show Saturday night, I participated in another Boston Harborfest weekend tradition called: Chowderfest. Famous for their New England Clam Chowder, Boston hosts this local competition on the Sunday of July 4th weekend every year. This year, eight local chowdermakers brought their best pots of New England Clam Chowder to hand out samples to locals and tourists alike. Why do they do it? To compete for a chance at the Chowderfest Hall of Fame, of course!
Pictured above is just one of the eight samples of chowder I consumed on this Sunday, July 5th. For an admission of $10, patrons got to sample as much chowder as they liked! I was too stuffed to revisit any one chowder stand but I did force myself to try all eight. If I was voting, I had to be fair! Some were too creamy, some were too salty; I was looking for one that had a perfect balance.
Additionally, all eight of the chowder stands offered condiments to add to your chowder including different flavors of Tabasco sauce and oyster crackers. I thought the playing field was pretty even until I noticed Parker House was handing out fresh baked Parker House rolls with their chowder! To be fair, I added the same condiments to each chowder so that the only variable would be the chowder itself.
I’m proud to say that I helped pick the winning chowder of Chowderfest 2009. After sampling Ned Devine’s creamy, yet chunky and very tasty chowder, I knew theirs was the clear winner. They were also the last sample I tried so that says a lot.
All in all, I was glad to be part of this very fun Boston tradition. With a 90-degree day, you wouldn’t think you would get as many people to come sample hot bowls of chowder as there were; you can tell Bostonians are very loyal to their traditions.
To make your own personal Chowderfest at home with these very different clam chowder recipes!