Yummy, It’s the Great Petaluma Chili Cook-off

Get savory and sample a host of great stews.

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WHEN IT COMES TO LOVING CHILI, it is all about the A) meat or the B) heat or C) the beans or D) a special, not-quite-name-able quality that involves how the spices and ingredients come together in one rhapsodic, easy-to-eat symphony? That's a toughie, and while there's likely a strong showing for every selection listed above, most chili heads probably land closer to the D) category. For it is the real everythingness when it comes to a bowl of great chili, that makes it work, and pinpointing why the stew is such a success is as subjective as subjective matters come. It's a super thing, then, that California is so flavorfully awash in chili festivals, with many of them steaming up the calendar as summertime grows closer (and, indeed, as summer begins). For chili is just a perfect backyard bowl food, a close cousin to the summer hamburger, with a tummy-warming spin that a burger doesn't always deliver. Ready to get your chili on and taste an assortment of spoonfuls, all while you search for that perfect D) combo of spice and magic? Best head north on...

SATURDAY, MAY 19, the happy date of The Great Petaluma Chili Cook-off. There shall be a salsa and beer tasting, too, at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds, and if you spend $20 you can taste all you like from the chili and salsa categories. Pay $30 and receive unlimited chili and salsa tastings plus 10 beer tasting tickets. It's a benefit for the Cinnabar Theater, so that's nice, and some 40 chili-making teams will be there, so that's tasty, and you can get all the info you need right here, so that's helpful. Do so now, peek at the breweries showing up, and get those chili-focused taste buds in top form, all for one of the tastiest Maytime fundraisers.

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