Peach cookoff a tasty tradition

Of the myriad of events that make up the Peach Festival, one of the more interesting is the cook-off. Held every year by the county extension, the cook-off requires one main ingredient: Chilton County peaches.

After that, almost anything goes. From savory to sweet, if you can think of a way to incorporate peaches to the dish, you can enter it.

“Last year, for the first time, we had sushi,” said Gay West, county extension coordinator. “We have things all across the spectrum of taste.”

West says she believes the reason the event is so popular is simple; people absolutely love food, and people love Chilton County peaches.

“Part of it is ‘culinary tourism,'” she said. “People simply love food. They love everything about it, to taste it, to cook it, to see it being prepared. The other part is that it’s a great opportunity to promote the county’s crop.”

The cook-off will be held at Thorsby First Baptist Church on Saturday, June 18. It will start at 10 a.m.

The following is a list of guidelines as set by the extension:

•Any dish entered in the contest must contain fresh Chilton County peaches.

•There is a limit of one entry per person.

•The recipe need not be original.

•Judging will be based on using fresh, quality peaches (10 points); appearance (20 points), taste (50 points) and creativity (20 points). Dish can be displayed in participant’s container of choice.

•All entries must be in by 4 p.m. on June 15.

•Dish must be registered and on the table ready for judging at 10 a.m.

•Cooks must be present to win.

•Recipes using raw eggs will be disqualified (such as in ice cream custards). If a recipe calls for raw eggs, cooked custard can be made, or pasteurized egg products may be substituted.

•Dish entered in the contest must be made available for participants and attendees to taste at the conclusion of the event.

In addition to the cook-off, there will be a cooking demonstration put on by Chef Eric Helfinstine of 7Place Café during the judging portion.

Up for grabs for the winner of the Adult (20 and older) Division is $50, a Lions’ Club Peach Festival T-Shirt, and of course, a blue ribbon. The winner of the youth division is awarded $25. For more information, call West at 280-6268.

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