Tuesday, April 3, 2012

International Chili Society’s world championships returning to West Virginia

It was recently announced that West Virginia will play host for the second time in four years to the International Chili Society's annual word championship cookoff. In Charleston, 400 of the best chili makers in the world will compete Oct. 5-7 on Magic Island, a park on Charleston's west side along the Kanawha River.

The championship involves red and green chili categories and salsa. None of these ones have beans. But a new category this year will allow those who desire to include them.
1.  Traditional Red Chili is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with red chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTAwhich are strictly forbidden.
2. Chili Verde is defined by the International Chili Society as any kind of meat or combination of meats, cooked with green chili peppers, various spices and other ingredients, with the exception of BEANS and PASTA which are strictly forbidden.
3. Salsa must be homemade by the contestant whose name and ICS # appear on the Contestant Application. It may be brought to the site that day or it may be prepared at the Cookoff.

Charleston hosted the competition in 2009, and it was the first time that the San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based nonprofit held the championship east of the Mississippi River. Competitors must have won a regional title in the United States or Canada before entering. However, a "last chance" cookoff will allow those who have not yet won a regional title to try to enter the event.

This year will include a special "homestyle" category where there are no restrictions on ingredients, where the cook is allowed to use their favorite ingredients, but it must be homemade and have a chili pepper flavor. And - of course - they can include beans!

The chilis are judged by the following:

TASTE Taste, above all else is the most important factor. The taste should consist of the combination of the meat, peppers, spices, etc, with no particular ingredient being dominant, but rather a blend of the flavors.
CONSISTENCY Chili must have a good ratio between sauce and meat. It should not be dry, watery, grainy, lumpy, or greasy.
AROMA Chili should smell good. This also indicates what is in store when you taste it.
COLOR Chili should look appetizing. Reddish brown is generally accepted as good. Chili is not yellow or green.
BITE Bite or after taste is the heat created by the various type of chili peppers and chili spices.

Anybody attending? And how do you like your chili - beans or bean-free?