MIDDLEBURY — Although Burlington’s Bluebird Tavern walked away from Saturday’s Vermont Chili Festival in downtown Middlebury with the banner for Best Overall Chili, a number of local vendors and organizations also became winners in one of the six categories at the annual event.
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According to the organizers, the estimated 5,000 attendees of the event — a record in the festival’s four-year history — chose their favorites among six types of chilies: Best Beef Chili, Best Chicken Chili, Best Pork Chili, Best Game Chili, Best Veggie Chili, and best “Kitchen Sink” Chili, as well as Best Overall Chili.
Bluebird Tavern also prevailed in the Best Beef Chili field, edging local favorites Greg’s Meat Market and 51 Main Street in second and third, respectively.
Cornwall’s Breadloaf View Farm tickled the most taste buds in the Best Chicken Chili category, followed by New Haven’s Tourterelle in second and East Middlebury’s Jeff Jones in third.
Leunig’s of Burlington offered the Best Pork Chili, followed by The Middlebury Inn in second and Shoreham’s Whistle Pig Whiskey in third.
The consensus pick in for Best Game Chili was prepared by the Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department. The firefighters followed up their victory in a major bond vote earlier in the week by edging out Mary’s at Baldwin Creek from Bristol in second and South Burlington’s The Pour House in third.
Youth was served in the Best Veggie Chile competition, where Addison Central Teens’ product garnered the most support, followed by 51 Main in second and East Middlebury’s Waybury Inn in third.
Jessica’s Restaurant at Middlebury’s Swift House Inn walked away with the Kitchen Sink Chili banner, with Middlebury’s Sportin’ Wood Construction in second and Shelburne’s Bark Eaters earning bronze.
Other local Vermont Chili Festival contestants were American Flatbread, Bar Antidote, the Basin Harbor Club, Cattails, Cyclewise, Fire & Ice, Jackson’s on the River, Middlebury Bagel, Middlebury Baseball, Middlebury College, Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, Middlebury Inn, Middlebury Rotary, and the Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association.
Also, Mister Up’s, Noonie Deli, Otter Creek Brewery, Pazzo’s Pizzeria, Plan-it Sheri Catering, Rosie’s, Saint Stephen’s Church, Sama’s Café, Starry Night Café, Storm Café, Sweet Marie’s, The Turningpoint Center, Two Brothers Tavern, and Woodchuck Hard Cider.