It seems like every grandmother and every restaurant in Butte, Montana, claims to make the tastiest pasty in town. Well, soon it will be time to put your pasty where your mouth is.
All those boasts will be put to the test during the first annual Great Pasty Throwdown on Saturday, June 8, at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).
The pasty contest is part of the Summer Sosten Fest, a new day-long festival NCAT is co-sponsoring with the Butte Chamber of Commerce.
“This event is all about celebrating Butte’s food heritage and the farmers and ranchers who grow food today across southwestern Montana,” said Steve Thompson, NCAT Executive Director.
In fact, the “throwdown” comes with a twist: Pasties must include at least one locally produced ingredient, and the more local ingredients the better. NCAT will provide participants with a list of suggested sources of ingredients in the area.
The festival also will include a plant sale from NCAT’s on-site SIFT demonstration farm, along with demonstrations and workshops offering information on food production, energy conservation, solar power, and more. Festival goers will be able to purchase starter plants to pair with free know-how on growing their own food at home, Thompson said.
The family-friendly festival will include a variety of fun activities, including music, local food and drink, and kid doings such as solar model car races, a bounce house, face painting, crafts, and a petting zoo for the kids. It will also include an exhibit of historic photos chronicling local food production, courtesy of the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives.
Registration for the Great Pasty Throwdown is open and the deadline to apply is May 15. The contest will include private and commercial categories. To register and for a list of rules, go to the festival website www.sostenfest.com.
The festival will also offer table space for vendors. And NCAT is looking for co-sponsors for the event. More information is available on the website.
Commercial businesses will be selling pasties so that festival goers can do their own judging. But an official panel of judges will have the final word in awarding bragging rights to the best individual and commercial pasty bakers.
“The Summer Sosten Fest borrows the Cornish word for food or sustenance, but that isn’t intended to imply that the best pasty bakers are of Cornish heritage,” said Stephanie Sorini, Executive Director of the Chamber.
“Pasties have been part of Butte’s edible heritage for at least 140 years, and just about every ethnic group has their own variation,” she said.
In addition to the personal satisfaction of winning the Great Pasty Throwdown, there’s community pride on the line, Sorini added. “We’ll be challenging businesses in neighboring communities in Anaconda, Philipsburg, Whitehall, Great Falls, and Helena to bring their best to Butte.”