Casino to host Verde Valley regional Chili Cook-Off

Verde Valley residents need to get their taste buds in shape for the second annual Verde Valley Regional Chili Cook-Off at Cliff Castle Casino on Sunday, June 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The world championship-qualifying event will attract chili chefs from Arizona and afar to compete in three categories: red chili, green chili and salsa. Nearly 50 judges will be present to taste and judge each chili entry to determine who has the best chili in the state.

To enter, participants must select which category they'd like to compete in and pay the entry fee. Red chili is $35, green chili is $25 and salsa is $10. In addition, each chili chef is required to supply one gallon of his/her chili or salsa for the public to taste and vote on the "people's choice" award.

All chili chefs must be International Chili Society (ICS) members; however, non-members can enter the cook-off upon becoming a member of ICS for $42, in which case the entry fee is waived. The Verde Valley Regional Chili Cook-Off was formerly known as the Arizona Hot Spot Regional.

The chili recipes are tasted through three rounds, and first, second and third place winners are chosen in each category. In the red chili category, first place wins $1,000, second wins $500 and third wins $250. In the green chili category, first place receives $500, second receives $250 and third receives $100. In the salsa category, first place wins $250, second wins $100 and third wins $50. The "people's choice" award, voted by the public, wins $100.

The Verde Valley Regional Chili Cook-Off is free to the public; however, it costs $3 to taste the chili, which includes a spoon, 2-oz. cup, a voting ballot and six tickets to redeem at the chili booths. Additional tickets can be purchased for fifty cents each.

Traditional red chili is defined by ICS as any kind of meat or combination of meats that are cooked with red chili peppers and other spices and ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta. Green chili, or chili verde, is defined by ICS as any kind of meat or combination of meats that are cooked with green chili peppers and other spices and ingredients, with the exception of beans and pasta. Salsa does not have any cooking restrictions and it may be prepared either on-site or beforehand. Green chili, red chili and salsa recipes will be available for tasting throughout the entire day.

To heat up Camp Verde even more, The Z Band will perform inside the Dragonfly Lounge from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Verde Valley Regional Chili Cook-Off winners will be announced inside the Dragonfly at 3:30 p.m.

For more information on the Verde Valley Regional Chili Cook-Off, please visit www.cliffcastle.com, or call 567-7968.

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