‘Chili Special’

By on February 20, 2019

Zig’s Bakery & Café captures chili cook-off title

Lots of people have an opinion on what makes the best chili. Saturday’s Lititz Fire & Ice Chili Cook-Off challenged 1,100-plus people &tstr; with varying ideas on the magic of the perfect chili &tstr; to pick their favorite 13 tough chili makers.

“Chili has got to have meat and a tomato base. Trust me, I know. I come from Texas,” said Doug Morrissey, who now resides in Lititz with his wife Leslie, both chili fans.
Mary Harrington, who traveled from Maryland, promoted her belief that great chili must be “rich and meaty.” Kara Cee of York agreed that meat was key to chili that has just the right amount of heat.

“I love chili,” said Gillian Navin of Elizabethtown, noting that she likes a thicker chili with a little spice. The addition of sides like cornbread, grated cheese and sour cream only makes it better.
Patrick Murphy of Lititz said the ideal chili combines spice with just a touch of sweetness, for a balance of flavors.

In the end, the top winner for best chili at the chili cook-off was all that, and then some. The vote was close, but Lititz’s own Zig’s Bakery & Café captured the fans’ vote for best chili. It was a classic chili with lots ground beef, beans and tomato. It’s the same chili served at the café at Brick Gables on Newport Road. The top winner for the charity that collected that most tickets was Lititz United Methodist Church, which was raising funds for its Appalachian Service Project that helps needy families in the Appalachians. The recipe was cooked up by Paul and Denise Dohner, who used Jamaican Jerk spices to add extra zing to a rich tomato-based smoked pork chili.

“I’m guessing that we had 1,100 to 1,200 people here,” said Lititz Police Chief Kerry Nye, who coordinated the chili cook-off with his wife, Bonnie, a member of the Lititz Lions Club, which sponsored the chili cook-off. All charities received donations for their participation, while the top charity earned extra money. The Peoples Choice winner got an extra $200 and bragging rights.
Lively music from the DJ filled the cafeteria at Warwick High School, with oldies like “Shout!,” “Macarena,” and “Walk This Way.” Chili lovers got to sample the 13 chilis through their purchase of a $10 button.

Chili CookOff Winner- Brandon Ziegler of Zig’s with Lititz Lions President Frank Calamia

Most followed the time-honored tradition of meat, beans and tomato, with a few taking some liberty with Texas-style chili. Victory Church chefs Roger and Dawn Mast created a white chicken chili with bacon and ranch seasonings, to benefit their Jamaican missionary project. Ron Crosbie of Appalachian Brewing Company took his popular campfire chili into the deep, with the addition of salmon, scallops, clams and shrimp. ABC was benefiting Lititz Meals on Wheels.

Mark Hoffman of Luther Acres decided to go radical with no-meat chili. In fact, it was a vegan chili with no meat or animal products at all. Made with vegan burger, lots of veggies and dark chocolate, the vegan chili benefited the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

“It’s really good,” said Lori Dickerson of Lancaster. “I thought it had meat in it. It has just the right amount of spice.”

Abel Ismael and Jazzy Garcia of Isaacs.

Amanda Gilbertson of Tommy Foundation

Kathy Fair of Brewsters

Mark Hoffman of Luther Acres serves up some chili goodness.

Meaty chilis were in a abundance, like Per Diem’s flank steak chili with pinto beans that was the hottest of the chilis. It was perfectly rounded out by cornbread with candied jalapeño. The Rock Lititz restaurant was benefitting Childhood Cancer research. GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center had a meaty chili with ground beef and sausage. Brewster’s Bar-B-Q used their own smoked beef brisket with chiles and black beans, benefitting Cystic Fibrosis. The Tommy Foundation to support families dealing with autism had a spicy pork based chili with beans.

Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre put the emphasis on smoked beef brisket, with a well-balanced chili created by chef Gary Fern, to benefit Friendship Community. Brisket was the key ingredient in Lancaster Catholic High School’s chili that used DK Smokin’ BBQ Sauce.

Isaac’s had two entries in the chili cook-off contest, benefitting two different charities, Pet Pantry animal rescue and the Tree House of Lititz playground. One chili was a Buffalo chicken chili that is often served at the restaurant. The other was a jacked-up Tomato Pepperjack chili that took Isaac’s popular soup and jacked it up with Mexican seasonings, peppers and hamburger.

“This might not be traditional chili, but it’s really, really good,” said Matthew Adams of Lititz. “To tell the truth, I like them all.” Next door to the Chili Cook Off, kids were having a blast at the Kid’s Carnival with inflatables, games and face painting. The Vendor Fair showcased everything from clothing and hand-knit goods to Tupperware, homemade cookies, honey and jams.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to The Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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