Saratoga Specialties Company is more than just the home of the famous Original Saratoga potato chip. It’s a local novelty increasing in popularity as it increases its own emphasis on community, with no venture more indicative of that than the chowder its owners created for the 11th Chowderfest in Saratoga Springs Saturday, Feb. 5.
We put together a chowder that is community based and that was really part of the larger message, said Danny Jameson, president. `Yes, we’d love to win but the real story we wanted to promote is we have such a great community.`
Jameson’s wife and business partner, Shelly, whipped up a batch of the chowder in their home kitchen. It’s a concoction of locally based ingredients that blend together to create a traditional chowder which is potato, bacon and cream.
Moon Brand Original Saratoga Chips provide the potato component, pounds of the thick cut Hickory Smoked Bacon from Oscars Smokehouse goes in, cream donated by Stewarts Shops and whole milk from Kings Dairy make the cream base, and ingredients like the new Moon Brand For Goodness Shakes seasoning and Moon Brand Original Saratoga Dips finish it off.
`While [the chowder] represents something we put together as a company, these are just a handful of really great products available to us locally and we wanted to point that out,` said Jameson. `We have a great area and a lot of great businesses that need your support.`
Besides being a community chowder, Jameson said it also shows how Saratoga Specialties Company is growing.
`We’re relatively new, just a year-and-a-half old we wanted to show people some of our new products and that we’re not just Saratoga chips,` said Jameson. `We have a new line of dips and shakes products so we wanted to showcase all our products and how each one of them has a diverse use profile.`
Many customers initially associate the company with `pure snacking` but Jameson said even though the dips and shakes are perfect with the chips, they can also be used on sandwiches and to kick up potatoes, soups and pasta.
There will be 1,000 servings of Saratoga Chip Chowder available at Chowderfest and the goal is to sell out, said Jameson. Tasters will also get to sample Saratoga Specialty Company’s newer products when they buy a chowder.
Saratoga Specialty company isn’t the only new vendor jumping into the action this year. Connie Crudo, membership and services coordinator of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau which sponsors the annual event, said this year’s participants jumped to 72 from last year’s 56.
`That’s a big jump and we’re growing quickly,` said Crudo. `We approximated 11,000 people showed up last year and 56,000 plus chowders were sold in five hours. This year’s numbers will be staggering.`
In addition to more chowders to taste, Crudo said the awards presentation will be held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the City Center. Traditionally it’s done Monday morning but Crudo said by that time, the buzz has died down.
`We wanted to do it so people who have gone and tasted chowder can come root for their favorite and make it fun for everybody,` said Crudo. `We wanted a bunch of people to cheer and hoot and holler and support everybody.`
There will be a cash bar and DJ playing music and doing games and prizes at the ceremony. There will also be Chugs, or reusable Chowderfest mugs, available for the first time at local retailers for $5.
Chowderfest will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Samples are 3 ounces and $1 each. Tasters can fill out ballots and return them to Saratoga Arts Council or the Saratoga Visitor Center. More information is available at www.discoversaratoga.org. Saratoga Specialty Company’s Chip Chowder recipe will be available at www.originalsaratogachips.com.