SOUPer Bowl: The Importance of Coming Together

No, I didn’t misspell the the title.  Last Saturday, I took a train from Rochester to Rome, New York to experience The Central New York Souper Bowl, a contest featuring local vendors’ best soup creations.

On a cold day, over 300 people from all over the region piled into the bright, toasty confines of the historic Rome train station and sampled soups from 12 different CNY vendors.dsc06729dsc06669Live music added to the atmosphere of culinary delights as the happy festival-goers moved about the venue.dsc06674dsc06695dsc06704dsc06733dsc06743dsc06756dsc06768dsc06740And of course, there were the soups.  If there’s something I’ve learned while blogging in Central New York over the last 2 years, it’s that the food, whether it be a gourmet entrees or more pedestrian delights, is second to none.  As delicious as the pictures below look, the unique flavors, the presentation and the culinary craftsmanship were astounding.  As a foodie from a food-friendly city like Rochester, I was blown away.dsc06661image1img_1092“These events are so important to us and what we do,” said Rome Main Streets Alliance executive director Michael Brown.  “They provide a community context for us in which to operate across political, economic and social  strata to start.”dsc06771Michael talked a bit more about Rome Main Streets, the organization responsible for the Souper Bowl last Saturday.  “We’re working in so many different arenas here in Rome.  Housing, business development, beautification, promotions, technology… and all these require expertise and bodies in the form of volunteers.”

Rome Main Streets Alliance is one of the rising organizations that are working hard to ensure that Rome takes the necessary steps into the future, while still being true to an area with rich history and tradition.

Villa Verona won first prize at the Souper Bowl for their enticing Butternut Squash Soup, followed closely by Nola’s Winter Squash and Ginger Bisque and Teddy’s Tuscan Soup.

But this event wasn’t about the winners… it was about a community coming together, connecting, conversing, sharing in the beauty of an underutilized space and enjoying some fabulous local cuisine.  Events like this in our small cities are the heartbeats that pump the pro-local blood through our communities, reminding us all how much life and excitement we can create when we love where we live.  Cheers to you Rome, another amazing job!