Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Soupfest 2013

The 5th Annual Soupfest was held in Kemptville, Ontario on Saturday March 2.  This was the second year the event was held at the Kempville Municipal Centre after 3 years at the Winchester site.  There were only 15 restaurants represented this year, but the soups were far better than last year, and it was more difficult to pick a favorite....at least, for me.

The room quickly filled up with people, and, as usual, there were not enough chairs for everyone.  It's meant to be a social event though, so they expect you to move about and mingle and discuss the various soups with others.
We tend to gather family members from Avonmore and Vernon each year, and it's great fun to have lively discussions over which soups are marvelous, and which, to some, are just plain gross.  Most of my table this year chose the Squash Bisque with Chicken Dumplings sauteed in ginger jus from the Brigadoon as their favorite.  I must admit it made my finalist list, even though I have never been fond of squash.  The winner for me though, was The Butter Chicken Soup from Chuckles Jack in Smiths Falls.  There was only one soup I didn't taste, and that was because I watched everyone else at my table make a face and dump it in the trash.  I should have gotten that one after the first protest, while I could still give it a fair try. But I waited too long and then just chickened out.
 I think the best display this year was by the Nakhon Thai Restaurant, which we just discovered a week ago at the Wine and Food Show.

I'm not sure how we managed it, but most of those at my table somehow found room for dessert. There was a table with a wild assortment of goodies which could be had for just an extra dollar.  It's all for a good cause, after all, as Soupfest is a fundraiser for the TLC Ministries. We made that small extra donation and forced ourselves to devour a piece or two of pie or cake or some other goodie.  I did see one clever person with four treats on a plate, ready to take home.
There were a few goodies reserved for auction.  Celebrity judge,  CTV2 host,  Kurt Stoodley, helped out in that department.
Brad the Balloon Guy was on hand to entertain again this year. This fellow is easily the most talented balloon artist I've ever seen. He can create a wide variety of things, including a full length Mountie, complete with an actual face.

There was also a musician in one corner, playing an acoustic guitar. When we first arrived, we were careful not to place ourselves too close to where the music was going to be as we didn't want it to interfere with our conversation.  No worries there. He was completely unamplified and I had trouble hearing him even when I went right over and stood nearby to purposely listen to him.  He might as well have stayed at home.

I'm afraid I can't tell you who the winners were this year.  We got tired of waiting for them to tally the votes and left before the winners were announced.  I usually find it interesting that the winners the judges pick are not necessarily the ones that win the People's Choice award.  I think some of the restaurants try hard to please the judges.  After all, Chef Michael Dunn, who was chef  for the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace for 16 years, was one of the judges, so who wouldn't try to impress him?  But if you are in the business of selling soup, wouldn't you rather please the people?  They are the ones who will come to spend their money at your establishment, and tell their friends, if they like the taste of what you created. This year, most of the competitors certainly succeeded in pleasing the public. It was an enjoyable day out, and we all left well fed.

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