The humblest of dishes—macaroni and cheese—got its due at Huntsville’s inaugural Macaroni Festival on September 15. Festival-goers could sample 12 different dishes from seven local restaurants and one caterer:
Affogato Café – Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese, Candied Bacon Mac & Cheese Gelato;
Burnt Ends BBQ – Smoked Mac & Cheese;
Huntsville Brewhouse – Jalapeño Cheddar Mac & Beer Cheese Croquette breaded in spent grain crumb and served with New England IPA Jelly;
Main St. Local – Creole Style Mac & Cheese with Crab and Bacon;
Marigold Indian Cuisine – Tikka Masala Mac & Cheese, Butter Chicken Rice, Chana Masala Mac;
That Little Place by the Lights – Creamy Baked Pancetta and Peruvian Pepper Mac & Cheese and Lasagna;
The Mill on Main – Smoked Brisket Mac & Cheese; and
Whimsical Bakery – Cheeezy Traditional Mac & Cheese.
Everyone buying the $2 sample tickets received a Pasta-Port to vote for their favourite dish. The winner will be announced by the Downtown Huntsville BIA, presenters of the event, soon.
There was also pasta-themed street art for kids, artists decorating paddles in their own pasta visions, music and square dancing at Town Hall, and a variety of vendors including the 100k Market in a new Main Street location for the day.
The festival was a nod to Huntsville’s one-time macaroni factory. More than 100 years ago, in 1913, the Strano Manufactory of Macaroni was established on Main Street. It and the then Lyceum theatre occupied the space where the Algonquin Theatre is today.
Domenico Strano came to Huntsville as the foreman of the Standard Chemical Company and later, attracted by the business possibilities in Huntsville, decided to open a bakery and macaroni factory. He found a market in the vibrant Italian community of workers at the tannery (the Anglo-Canadian Leather Company) and he also shipped to Toronto and Montreal. Strano sold the business in 1926 to Martin Iverson. The building that housed the macaroni factory survived until February 24, 1992, when it was destroyed by fire. (Details courtesy of Susan Pryke’s Huntsville: With Spirit and Resolve.)
If you didn’t get a chance to sample the variety of mac and cheese on offer at the festival, you’ll have to trust us that they were delicious. If you did, who did you cast your ballot for? Let us know in the comments!
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