Got plans for Saturday? Now you do, at the 5th Annual New Hampshire’s Own Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off at the Courtyard Marriott Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Hosted by Granite State Dairy Promotion, this event takes place at the conference center from 1pm-3pm this Saturday, January 17th.
Granite State Dairy Promotion’s mission is to promote the sale and use of milk and other dairy products in New Hampshire. The Bake-Off is a great way for the organization to highlight local farmers and the dairy products they produce. The Bake-Off is open to restaurants and caterers, as well as homestead bakers and chefs. Although registration to enter a macaroni and cheese recipe is over, anyone is welcome to attend the Bake-Off on Saturday to try participants’ entries into the competition. Admission is $12 for adults, $3 for kids 6-12, and free for kids under 5, with the cost covering all you can eat mac and cheese and beverages.
Although the event starts at 1pm, I hear people start lining up about an hour beforehand. Hundreds of people attend, and each mac and cheese station is expected to provide 250 2-oz. samples to attendees. If you do the math, that means the earlier you get there, the better chance you have at trying all of the offerings. With past recipes covering everything from lobster mac and cheese to chocolate dessert mac and cheese, there should definitely be a wide range of options for everyone’s palate.
Mac and cheese entries are voted on by a panel of judges, with restaurants and caterers falling into a separate category from home chefs. Entries are also categorized by best traditional, most exotic, and best NH made, which requires the use of NH-produced milk and cheese products. There is also a “People’s Choice” vote. Last year’s Grand Champion of Macaroni and Cheese was Alyssa Muise, who won with her recipe for Curried Lamb Mac and Cheese. (Recipes for previous winning mac and cheese dishes, including Alyssa’s, are available online.)
So if you’re looking for something to do Saturday afternoon, head to Concord for New Hampshire’s Own Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off. Mac and cheese is one of my favorite dishes and I’m excited to see how creative people are with their recipes. I’m not competing myself, but my favorite mac and cheese recipe contains bacon and caramelized onions. Do you have a favorite mac and cheese recipe? Share it in the comments!