Chili With A Chance for Chocolate Taste-Off is February 16

Chili With A Chance for Chocolate Taste-Off is February 16Cal VanNess (shown) has placed first in the four Chili With A Chance For Chocolate Taste-Offs held in downtown Wellsboro in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Tasters vote to select the three top winners each year. The first year, there were 10 chili makers, 14 the second, 19 the third and 16 the fourth. VanNess has dished up samples of his award-winning Smoked Brisket Chili at Garrison's Men's Shop on Main Street in Wellsboro all four times and will be doing it again this year, too. Photo credit: John Eaton.

The Fifth Annual Chili With A Chance For Chocolate Taste-Off is Saturday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in downtown Wellsboro. There will be 15 great chilis to taste at 15 different sites and an opportunity to win one or more of 15 fun and unique baskets of chocolates. 

“This year’s taste-off will feature some new and exciting chilis to tickle all taste buds,” said Jim Howe, organizer. “Passports are limited to 400 due to the event’s popularity to ensure that every passport holder has a chance to taste them all.”

Beginning Feb. 1, those who want to taste the chili and select the winners can call or visit the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce office to purchase a taste-off passport in advance for $5. Each passport has a unique number and includes the businesses and a church hosting the chili taste-off entries. Some locations enter their own chili and others host chili entered by other individuals or organizations.

The 15 chili taste-off locations are: The Fifth Season, From My Shelf Books and Gifts, Garrison’s Men’s Shop, Johnny’z Hot Rod Café, Mountain Home, The Native Bagel, Peggy’s Candies and Gifts, Pop’s Culture Shop, The Roost, Senior’s Creations and The Main Street Olive Oil Company, Shabby Rue, Stained Glass Reflections, Timeless Destination, the United Methodist Church of Wellsboro and Wild Asaph Outfitters. 

Special signs will be placed outside each chili-tasting site making it easy to spot chili and basket of chocolate locations. 

Passport holders can visit as many of the 15 tasting sites as they wish to taste chili and show their passport number to enter the drawing for that site’s basket of all types of chocolates valued at $25.

Each passport holder will vote for his first, second and third place chili picks, and then turn in the passport so the votes can be tallied and the top three winners named.

In addition, passport holders are welcome to stop in at Century 21 Gold Star Real Estate to spin the wheel for a surprise. 

Taste-off passports will also be sold on the day of the event, at the chamber office beginning at 9 a.m. and outdoors in front of Penn Oak Realty, Inc., 65 Main St. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  

“At the end of the taste-off, drawings will be held and the basket winners will be announced,” said Howe. “‘A chance for chocolate’ refers to the baskets of chocolates. We are not asking people to make a chili that includes chocolate although they could.”

All proceeds from the taste-off will benefit rescued animals and programs offered by Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries.

For more information or to purchase a taste-off passport, contact the Wellsboro Area Chamber of Commerce office at (570) 724-1926 or or stop in at 114 Main St.

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