TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Sunday, hundreds gathered in Downtown Troy to enjoy a delightful autumn afternoon of chowder. Over 20 vendors set up tables and stalls, offering four oz. samples of unique recipes that ranged from the more traditional clam chowders to a delectable spicy espresso chocolate chowder.

This year, the regular Chowderfest vendors were joined by a few last-second additions, including Sara’s Kitchen and the Hudson Valley Community College HVCC- Educational Opportunity Program. Michael Landow, Coordinator of Institutional Advancement for HVCC, says the Educational Opportunity Program has participated in past Chowderfests, which influenced their decision to participate this year.

“We actually found out that the EOC even took second place one year,” said Landow. “We thought that this was a great opportunity for our students and a way for us to be a part of the community. The students have been very involved throughout the process. We made about 60 gallons for the festival, and it took them over a week to pull it all together.”

This year, Chef Taffy Elrod and the culinary students brought a mouthwatering Smokey Chicken Poblano Chowder. Chef Elrod says she drew inspiration for the recipe from her father. “My dad, who is also a cook, makes a chicken poblano soup that is very popular, so I just took that notion and ran with it. Another motivation was I didn’t want to come out with shellfish today.”

Cheft Elrod was one of many who opted out of serving a shellfish-focused chowder. Many vendors showcased their creativity, using distinctive ingredients, including okra, roasted pumpkin, melted leeks, and cheesy bratwurst.

Despite the unusual chowders, first-time Chowderfest attendee Gian Angelo Tria, a resident of Saratoga County, was pleasantly surprised. “There were not a lot of traditional chowders but a lot of ethnic representation with different Mexican chowders,” said Tria. “My favorite was the smoked chicken and poblano corn chowder with candied bacon from Hill Creek Tavern. It was a sweet and savory mix with a good consistency that I could actually call a chowder.”

Attendees could vote for their favorite chowder. Winners were announced on Monday afternoon. This year, Tara Kitchen Troy took first place with its Moroccan Chowder. Dotty Lou’s BBQ finished second with its Cheesy Bratwurst and Smokey Corn Chowder, and Muddaddy Flats came in third with a Roasted Pumpkin and Sausage Chowder featuring house-made sausage.