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May the best mac win

Mac-n-Cheese Bowl to benefit appetites, food bank

“We have been so surprised by the popularity and love for mac-and-cheese,” said Jessica Tanner, special events coordinator at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

Some restaurants such as Valente’s in Watervliet will add their dish to the regular menu after the contest.

“People come to the restaurant just for that. It’s actually our number one appetizer right now,” said Jack Valente, owner and chef at Valente’s.

Valente’s has won six awards for their past creations. Made up of three different types of pork, prosciutto, pancetta and sopressata, their “3 Little Pigs” dish was a hit at the first event and went on to be stocked in area Price Chopper stores.

This year, the restaurant will make a buffalo chicken dish with an Italian twist and call it “Buffalo Blues.” Valente said just like their previous dishes, buffalo chicken is not unique, but it’s the accents they put on it that make it theirs.

“Instead of putting traditional blue cheese, we decided to go with the Italian version called gorgonzola, which is a much richer, full-bodied cheese and gives it a lot more depth,” he said.

Discover your favorite mac-and-cheese at the fourth annual Mac-n-Cheese Bowl on Saturday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Albany Marriott in Colonie. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for kids 5 to 12 and free for kids under 5. They are on sale at area Price Chopper stores.

For a list of participating restaurants and more information, visit regionalfoodbank.net/annual-mac-cheese-bowl.

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