LITTLE ROCK — This city’s World Cheese Dip Championship made Gourmet magazine’s Top 10 list of America’s Best Food Festivals.
Roadfood writers Jane and Michael Stern, who penned the June piece for Gourmet, admitted they intentionally overlooked some heavies like California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival and New York City’s Feast of San Gennaro, preferring instead to focus on “10 lesser known festivals for adventurous appetites.”
The World Cheese Dip Championship, now in its third year, is listed among other festivals including the Boudin Cook-Off in Lafayette, La.; the Ohio Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville, Ohio; and the Artichoke Festival in Castroville, Calif.
The Sterns’ wrote: “Cheese dip is dug into everywhere, but nobody likes it more than Arkansans.”
That’s because it was invented here, in 1935 at Mexico Chiquito.
The championship takes both pro and amateur entries, plus the winners of a couple of feeder competitions — the Northwest Arkansas Cheese Dip Classic, held in May, and the Mid-South Cheese Dip Classic in Memphis.
A third preliminary event is the in works, says event director John McClure. He is headed to Austin next weekend where a couple of fellows have established an event called Quesoff at The Mohawk. Organizers of the Queoff agreed to send their winner to the Little Rock championship.
“I love my job,” McClure said.
This year’s World Cheese Dip Championship is Oct. 20 at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. Proceeds go to Harmony Health Clinic, a free, nonprofit healthcare provider for the uninsured and under-served in Pulaski County.