St. Stephen – This year is St. Stephen’s 150th birthday, and the Town is looking for creative ways to celebrate, even in the midst of a pandemic. Many of the activities will be viral, including a fun chocolate cooking contest. After all, St. Stephen is Canada’s Chocolate Town, and what better way to celebrate this milestone birthday than with delicious chocolate recipes.
Town Coordinator Michelle Vest said the Town is teaming up with The Chocolatier to host this chocolate recipe contest. People are asked to submit their favourite chocolate recipes to the St. Stephen 150 Facebook page, where they will be judged. There will be 12 monthly winners, along with a grand prize winner at the end of the year.
“We’re coming up with the events,” said Vest. “It just takes a bit of time. We’ll work on things we can do no matter what. We didn’t want to stick to baking. You can use chocolate in anything, even main dishes. Every month on the 17th, starting this month, we’re going to choose one recipe as a winner. It will be posted online, and they’ll get their prize. The Chocolatier is providing the books and the chocolates, and the Town is providing the cash prize.”
Each month, the winning recipe entrant will receive a cash prize of $50, plus a box of Ganong chocolates and the book, “Ganong: A Sweet History of Chocolate”.
On December 31, 2021, a grand prize winner will be chosen, and they will receive a cash prize of $150 to commemorate St. Stephen’s 150th birthday. If enough recipes are submitted, there is talk of creating a new Chocolate Town cookbook.
“About 20 years ago, the Town had a Chocolate Town cookbook, and it was full of recipes from local people. Over time, the books have gotten lost, been thrown out, etc. So, we’re going to do it again. If you give us a recipe, you’re saying we have the right to include it in our cookbook. Send us a picture. Use your imagination,” said Vest.
Normally, for a contest such as this, entrants would bring in samples of their recipes for taste-testing. Since that cannot be done this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the St. Stephen 150 committee will recreate the recipes in the Town Hall kitchen, and do their own taste-testing. When they get down to a couple of finalists each month, the committee will look over the recipes, and then cook the dishes and sample them in a safe manner.
“I wish we could have people drop off samples for us, but we’re going to have to make them ourselves,” said Vest. “It would be really nice to have people drop off those samples, but we’ll have to make some ourselves in our kitchen upstairs. The earlier you get the entry in, if it doesn’t win the first month, it carries forward. If you have a different recipe, the next month you can submit that different recipe.”
Jeff McShane, business unit manager at The Chocolatier, said this collaboration is a fun way to get people to engage in St. Stephen 150 celebrations. He talked about the old Chocolate Town cookbook, and said they used to sell it at the store, and it was also carried at the Chocolate Museum. If a new version is created, it will come from the online submissions.
“We’re looking at everyone to submit their recipes and celebrate the 150 and Canada’s Chocolate Town,” said McShane. “One winner a month out of the submissions, and we’re providing the Ganong book on the history of Ganong’s, and also we’re providing a box of chocolates.”