We are SO excited. After several hours of debate and review, Tony and I have finally chosen the recipes that will be advancing to our semifinalist round. With almost 50 recipe submissions, this task was much harder than we anticipated, and there was more than a little spirited discussion as we each argued for our favorites. Many thanks to my mother, Marilyn Anstett, for mediating this process.
And with that, we are pleased to present our 12 Semi-Finalists, in no particular order:
- Jalapeño Popper Dip, from Sherre Sattler of Grand Forks, ND
- Lake Dip, from Patty Anderson of Fargo, ND
- Black-Eyed Pea Dip, from Martha Simmons of Moorhead, MN
- Baked Onion Dip, from Gary Litt of Moorhead, MN
- Cranberries Gone Wild, from Jean Eppler of Fargo, ND
- Seafood Fondue, from JoAnn Berg of Moorhead, MN
- Zesty White Bean Dip, from Suzanne LaPalm of Oakdale, MN
- Cheeseburger on a Chip, from Tom Shorma of Fargo, ND
- Spinach Dip, from Marlys Santwire of Detroit Lakes, MN
- Minty Pea Dip, from Jaime Staska of Lake Elmo, MN
- Curried Chutney Dip, from Jenny Marhula of West Fargo, ND
- Hot Beef Taco Dip, from Peggy Fisher of Fargo, ND
What Makes a Perfect Party Dip?
We began by establishing our criteria for what makes a perfect party dip, and came up with our Top 5 list:
1. Taste – The Perfect Party Dip should be a crowd-pleaser. With just the recipes to guide us, we were looking for dips that would have a broad-based appeal for every appetite.
2. Ease of Preparation – The Perfect Party Dip should be easy to prepare in just a few steps, so that and consist of common pantry items, or items that are easy to find in our local grocery store.
3. Affordability – The Perfect Party Dip should consist of ingredients that are not only easy to find, but also affordable so that the recipe can be doubled (or tripled) easily.
4. Appearance – The Perfect Party Dip has to have a Wow-Factor. It should be visually appetizing, and able to stand out on a crowded party buffet. Several people sent in photos with their recipes as we suggested, which was very helpful in creating a visual reference for us.
5. Dipping Item – The Perfect Party Dip should have some versatility when it comes to dipping items, so that you can use whatever you might have available in your pantry.
Next, we eliminated the recipes that did not meet all five of these criteria. We had a few recipes that were very creative but didn’t make the cut, either because they required too many steps in preparation or consisted of uncommon/expensive pantry items, or both. These recipes hold a specific appeal to foodies like us, but the extensive prep and hard-to-find ingredients may be a deterrent to the everyday home cook.
We took other factors into consideration, too, which helped highlight recipes we might otherwise not have considered. Throughout the contest we featured recipes in our Contest Spotlight, and we watched to see which of those generated the most visitors to our blog. We also listened to our customers, staff, family and friends, and if they mentioned a dip that had caught their eye, or that they had actually prepared, we definitely made a note of it.
On occasion, we received recipes that were very similar to each other. When this happened, we deferred to the recipe that was submitted first. One contestant submitted four recipes, and since we hadn’t prohibited this in our rules, we considered all four and then made a mental note to review this allowance when writing the rules for our next contest.
We finally narrowed down the entries and chose twelve recipes to advance: six hot, six cold. Now the decision, thankfully, is out of our hands. The semifinalist party dip recipes will be served to our independent panel of judges this evening, who will select our finalists after tasting and scoring each dip.
The public will then have the opportunity to taste the party dips of each recipe finalist, and cast a vote for their favorite. Our public tasting will take place at Sarello’s next Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (Oct. 29 & 30, time TBA), and the winner will be announced here on the blog and in our column on November 6, 2013.
We are grateful to everyone who shared a recipe with us or gave us feedback along the way – what a fun experience this has been! We are particularly grateful to our participating sponsors for helping us design an incredible Grand Prize Package, including:
A “Chip and Dip” piece of Tama Smith’s original pottery from
Prairie Fire Pottery
If you click on the link, the pictured piece is similar to the prize gift
A $50 Gift Card to
* Thank-you gifts will also be awarded to all of the runner-up finalists *
To see a list of all the entries, click here: Party Dip Contest Recipes. We’d like to know: Do YOU have a favorite from this list? If so, post it in the Comments section below.
Congratulations to our 12 Semifinalists and GOOD LUCK!