In some parts of the country, it is still a bit chilly. Nothing beats the cold like a nice hot bowl of soup! How about a big bowl of clam chowder? Our clients love clam chowder, and I would venture to guess it is one of the top sellers in the soup category. Often, our clients simply request “clam chowder” and we could assume that they are requesting a creamy-based liquid with potatoes, vegetables and clams. But are they?
Depending on the region of the U.S. you are from (or in) clam chowder can mean dramatically different things. When your passenger requests “clam chowder” take a few minutes, and ask some questions to make sure your guest is getting the experience they are looking for.
The two most common chowders are New England and Manhattan.
New England Clam Chowder – The most commonly requested clam chowder. Originated in the New England area and is made with potatoes, sautéed onions and celery with clams and their juice, and a thickened milk or cream base. There are no tomato products in a New England Clam Chowder.
Manhattan Clam Chowder – Brought to the U.S. by Portuguese immigrants, this soup is made with potatoes, sautéed onions and celery, clam juice, clams and fresh tomatoes. Traditionally, there is no dairy ingredient in this soup.
Other varieties have been created over the years based on the endemic ingredients and local cultures.
Long Island Clam Chowder – Take the New England and the Manhattan recipes and combine them to create a creamy tomato broth clam chowder.
Delaware Clam Chowder – Consisting of fried salt pork, potatoes, diced onions and quahogs (large hard-shell calm) and clam broth.
Hatteras Clam Chowder – Popular in the Outer Banks region of North Carolina, this brothy version combines clams, clam juice, bacon, potatoes, onions and is thickened with a flour roux. It is garnished with scallions and local hot sauce.
Minorcan Clam Chowder – A traditional St. Augustine, Florida tomato-based clam chowder with a spicy kick from a key ingredient, the datil pepper.
New Jersey Clam Chowder – This version has a bit of scepticism about it. Recipes claim it is a bit like the Long Island Clam Chowder, with the addition of Old Bay Seasoning, asparagus and sliced tomatoes.
Rhode Island Clam Chowder – A clear-broth clam chowder with onions, potatoes, bacon and local fresh clams.