Thursday, May 19th, 2022 marked the return of a delicious event that has gone by the wayside the last two years in lieu of the pandemic.

The Dubuque Mac & Cheese Fest came back with a roar last night with hundreds flooding the Grand River Conference Center in pursuit of some mouthwatering mac and cheese, great local beers, and exactly the kind of camaraderie that was sorely missed over the past couple years.

I was one of a handful of people selected to judge the event, which was a unique albeit bloating experience. One can only scarf down so much mac and cheese at any given time. I will admit, the process was made a pleasantly palatable experience thanks to so many delectable dishes from the likes of Flatted Fifth, Envision, University of Dubuque, River Rock Kitchen and Tap, and J&D Catering (who took home the "Golden Noodle" award), just to name a few of those who came out!

A look inside the Grand River Conference Center. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
A look inside the Grand River Conference Center. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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In addition to all the food, several local breweries came out to crack open some bottles/cans to help festgoers wash down all the noodles. Potosi was pouring their delicious summer shandy; Dimensional Brewing Co. had a wide variety of libations to complement any palette; many others joined the fun as well!

Vesperman Farms' Mac and Cheese Ice Cream. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
Vesperman Farms' Mac and Cheese Ice Cream. Photo Credit: Steve Pulaski
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To my surprise, in addition to all the mac, Vesperman Farms pulled their camper into the venue and offered something different. You might've heard about the advent of macaroni and cheese flavored ice cream. That too was being served! Despite my initial apprehensions, it was a suitable palette cleanser: think vanilla ice cream with a hint of cheese. I'm one of the pickiest eaters you'll find. Trust me when I say, it's better than you might think!

Pictures do this festival better justice than words, in some ways. Check out my gallery below for all there was to experience at Mac & Cheese Fest!

2022 Dubuque Mac & Cheese Fest in Pictures!