Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Soupfest 2015 - Sold Out

It's been a hard winter with so many funerals in the family, but a group of us recently found a much better reason to get together.  The annual Soupfest, in support of the TLC Ministries,  took place in Kemptville on Saturday March 7th. This year it drew a record breaking crowd.  Every ticket was sold, and we were glad we were even able to find a place to sit. 

The tables were set up for 8 people at each, but we needed 10 chairs this year. The number of cousins in this family gathering together for this event reached an all time high. One branch had three generations present. With two children at our table, Brad the Balloon Guy stopped by to work his magic, just proving that Soupfest is fun for all ages.

Seventeen restaurants took part in the event this year.  There were a couple of new ones from Merrickville.  Both the Sugar Belle Bake Shoppe (their table pictured here) and Cha Tea House are new to the village this winter and decided Soupfest would be a great way for people to become acquainted with them.  Smiths Falls representation was conspicuously absent this year. Some of my favorite soups have come from Smiths Falls entrants in the past, so I hope they come back next year.

This year's judges were Executive Chef Michael Blackie, Chef Jocelyn Myre, Executive Chef Jhonatan J Gonzales and Nutritional Columnist, Heather Westendorp. They chose their three favorite soups of the day, and the people got to vote for their favorites also. The only soup chosen by both the people and the judges was the Sweet Potato and Cabbage Soup, topped with pancetta from the Brigadoon in Oxford Mills.  The people put it in Second place while the judges gave it a First.  The judges awarded Second place to the Merrickville's Yellow Canoe and gave Third place to Brewed Awakenings of Kemptville.

The people chose The Crusty Baker from Kemptville in Third place, Brigadoon in Second, and gave top  honours to The New Rideau for it's Butternut Squash with Maple Cream.  That was a little too sweet for me, but the rest of my table just loved it. That, of course, is the fun of Soupfest. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and it's great fun to discover that the people sitting with you disagree with your choices, and vice versa. Some pretty lively discussions come about by comparing opinions on the offerings.

The various establishments hope to call attention to themselves, and while some managed to do that by letting us know they had great soup, others, like the Crusty Baker will be getting my business in the future, not only because I loved their Potato Stilton Soup, but also because they gave us a hot cross bun, which was one of the best I've ever tasted.  I'll be checking out more of their baked goods in the future, even though I'll have to travel to Kemptville to do that.

We all had a great time and are already looking forward to next year's Soupfest. It's a much more enjoyable reason to gather than another funeral.


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