Have a good cheese fun in downtown Weaverville | Fun

Small crowds excitedly dragged up and down a wet and rainy Main Street on Saturday, June 4, in Weaverville, collecting samples of macaroni and cheese before moving on to the next offering.

Small sample cups of mac and cheese were offered on both sides of the main thoroughfare, which stretches from the Highland Art Center to the Trinity County Brewing Company, and included 10 different Main Street restaurants and other businesses.

This was the second Downtown Weaverville Macaroni and Cheese Cook-off.

The event was organized by Up North Confectionery & Mercantile owner Ryan Crockett and hosted by the Trinity County Visitor Center. Buying a $ 10 ticket to enter gave judging rights to the contest, allowing people to vote for their favorite champions.

Tickets were limited to 50 judges in total and the proceeds from ticket sales were donated to the Visitor Center. The main focus of the cook-off, Crockett said, was not to make money from ticket sales, but to put your feet in the doors of local businesses and people moving downtown with the added fun of trying. several champions and get to vote for a winner.

It certainly worked for this cheese-loving reporter, who grabbed a ticket and walked up Main Street in the spring rain to see who had the best mac to offer. Here is my breakdown, in no particular order other than a good walk, followed by the final tally of the judges’ votes.

Trinity County Manufacturing Company

As soon as I took the first bite, I felt like I made a mistake. Not in a bad way, but in a “Did I just start out at the top with no higher place to go?” type of road.

The cheese was creamy with a topping of panko crumbs and a burst of deep, delicious, yet slightly unusual flavor for a mac and cheese: beer cheese. Morgan Adrian, who prepared the samples, said he was inspired to make mac and cheese using the brewery’s beer cheese. His recipe also included fontina and gouda with bechamel, cream, butter, a little more beer and caramelized onions and mushrooms.

A good start.

Mountain market

True to its roots as a health food store, Mountain Marketplace was the only cooking competitor to advertise their mac and cheese as being made with all organic ingredients. Whether it was the organic nature of the ingredients, or just the combination of flavors, with a strong herb punch of rosemary and oregano, I found myself thinking the brewery might already have been filled and picking a winner would be tough after just two. samples.

Owner Kyle McDonald said the recipe – which also included fresh milk and cream from nearby Alexandre Family Farms in Del Norte County, spicy Organic Valley cheddar, pepper jack, cream cheese, sour cream, butter and garlic – is from the mother of her partner and is something that may end up on their menu in the future.

Coffee on the Main

Without a doubt the most decadent of all samplings came, of course, from Cafe on Main.

Almost more ribs than mac and cheese, and in a peppery, salty cheese sauce, the sample looked more like a stroganoff, but with a strong bite of white and even Swiss cheddar in the mix, the cheese still had a place to shine.

Mac and cheese owner and chef of the day, Scott Boone, said the recipe is already on the bar’s current menu.

I wonder if a full dish might be too rich in flavor to finish, but it would also be difficult for me to order anything else knowing that short rib mac and cheese are available.

Trinity Theater

The first non food or drink oriented activity I tasted mac and cheese was completely acceptable. In fact, another day I would have considered him a perfect representative of a classic baked macaroni and cheese. Unfortunately, classic as it was, with the stiffness of the competition already experienced it was clear that this was not a favorite.

Angela Adrian, who runs the theater and made the mac and cheese, said if there’s a next time around she hopes to somehow incorporate a theater-like buttery popcorn flavor into her mac and cheese; even though she, she said, already has some butter in the recipe, so she’ll have to figure it out.

Gabriele’s Grill & Lounge

Owner Gabriel Thompson shared a story that at the latest mac and cheese cooking several people ended up not being able to taste his offering because they were vegetarians, and so this year he took the meat off the mac to try a recipe. vegetarian which included leeks and Chard.

It was a nice change to finally have the veggies, and the recipe also included romano cheese, gruyere, spicy cheddar, and mascarpone with a topping of cornbread crumble – another nice addition not seen in any of the other samples.

Maybe it was because I was on a barbecue eating pasta with a vegetarian focus, but the mac and cheese gave off great side vibes. It would be perfect alongside a seasoned barbecue rib or grilled sausage, but it probably wouldn’t be my first choice if I just craved mac and cheese.

Main road shoes

Another competitor on the list not known for food, Main Street Shoes offered a slow cooker mac and cheese with diced smoked sausage chunks that did a lot of heavy lifting to elevate the champion.

It was thicker than creamy, but not in a bad way. The addition of the sausage gave me a feeling that was reminiscent of childhood mac and cheese with sliced ​​hot dogs and was the kind of dish that could be served with nothing else and fully satisfy. That said, it also seemed like something I could easily do at home, and while completely satisfying, it didn’t quite reach the level of some of the others.

Weaverville Hotel & Emporium

It was Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Mountain kids

Mountain Goat Kids was celebrating its first anniversary, also offering drinks and other goodies, along with my favorite mac and cheese not made in a professional restaurant.

Taking it a step further was the addition of dubliner sharp cheddar and bacon chunks, adding a salty, salty punch without the need for large chunks of meat to distract from the rest of the mac and cheese.

Up North Confectionery & Mercantile

Owned by the event organizer, Up North threw it out of the park with its presentation, serving their mac and cheese samples in a small waffle cone bowl with a tiny American flag toothpick.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Up North’s mac and cheese was also the sweetest to enjoy using bacon jam and barbecue sauce in their recipe. Not normally my cup of tea, the sweet kick was mild enough not to be too distracting, but definitely noticeable. It was nice as a sample and would probably make a good side dish to the right dish, although I’m not sure of sweetness if that’s the kind of mac and cheese I’d like a bowl full of.

Honorable mention: Highland Art Center

As the day progressed I found myself running out of time and had to choose between voting for a winner and trying to get to the art center for one last sample, and unfortunately I was unable to try the Highland Art Center sample. What’s worse, I was told the recipe included chicken and green chillies, which means it probably would have had a place at the top of my list.

Winners

At the end of the sampling, the judges were given three coins each to be deposited in cups with slots at the top to allow for voting but not to allow people to see how many coins there were in each cup. Each cup was named after one of the cook-off attendees, and voters could put all the coins in one cup or divide them as they saw fit.

The winning mac and cheese, by a two-to-one margin by the judge, as well as my favorite, was the all-organic recipe from Mountain Marketplace with a total of 35 votes.

Going head-to-head for second and third place was Cafe on Main’s short rib mac and cheese with 17 votes and Trinity County Brewing Company beer mac and cheese with 16 votes.

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