Festival Report: Lowcountry Soup Challenge

January 19, 2011 

Ken Ballard of Kenny B's is applauded after winning first place at last year's Lowcountry Soup Challenge, which benefits Volunteers in Medicine. This year's event will take place Sunday at The Mall at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island.

FILE/THE ISLAND PACKET

  • When: noon to 3 p.m. Sunday

    Where: The Mall at Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island

    Cost: Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the mall the day of the event.

    Details: 843-689-6612, www.vimclinic.org

A cold winter's day deserves a hot bowl of soup and plenty will be served at the 19th annual Lowcountry Soup Challenge.

Some of the area's best chefs will create their finest soups, bisques and chowders from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at The Mall at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island to benefit Volunteers in Medicine.

WHY GO

About 20 vendors have signed up to dish out soup, including chefs from Kenny B's, Hudson's On the Docks and Roastfish & Cornbread. More than 1,500 soup connoisseurs are expected to fill the mall's center court and corridors.

Visitors can sample all the soup they want for $15. Unlimited drinks and bread are available to balance the sampling. The cost goes to help Volunteers in Medicine, a clinic that provides medication and dental services to people living or working on Hilton Head or Daufuskie islands. Typically, the soup challenge raises between $15,000 and $20,000. And the money is much needed. The clinic saw 35,000 patients last year, nearly 5,000 more than the year before, said development and public relations director Margie Maxwell.

FLAVORS

The flavors can range from the more traditional to the experimental. Past entries have included Deep-fried Turkey Noodle Soup, Caribbean Calamari Chowder and Louisiana Tasso and Cheddar Beer Soup.

Visitors can judge for themselves which taste best in the People's Choice award. The 2010 People's Choice was a Lowcountry shrimp chowder by The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa Chef John Kimball. A panel of judges also dole out awards in a blind taste test.

SOUP TO GO

Take home a bit of the festival at the Soup Boutique stand, featuring Volunteers in Medicine and soup challenge merchandise, including the 15th anniversary cookbook that features dozens of event recipes.

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