The time has come for the annual Queso-Off, or Quesoff, at The Mohawk in Downtown Austin on August 25. This free event benefits the Central Texas Food Bank. Attendees are encouraged to bring two canned goods donations or a $2 donation. Doors open at 2pm and bags of chips are available for purchase for $5.

Austin prides itself for being the Queso King. Outside of Texas, this delicacy is hard to find. If you ask for it in a restaurant you may find yourself with some melted shredded cheese on a plate. That is why Texans come together for the festival to celebrate this delicious appetizer.

Over 30 vendors will go head to head to be bestowed the honor of having the best dip in Texas, a feat not easy to accomplish. Everyone from top chefs to your mom will be competing in four categories – Meaty, Spicy, Veggie and Wild Card.

Each year brings new surprises where people create the unimaginable, all involving queso. Past years have brought queso ice cream, tandoori queso and duck mezcal queso. Who knows what people will come up with this year!

This year’s judges will be the esteemed Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, LeighAnn Bakunas of YETI, Kristen Kish of Arlo Grey at The LINE Austin, Mariam Parker from Austin Food & Wine Alliance and Matthew Odam from the Austin-American Statesman.

Local Austin eateries lined up to compete include Dai Due, Micklethewait Craft Meats, Central Standard, Il Brutto, Fresa’s, Better Half, Scholz Garten, Trudy’s, Pelóns, Mama Fu’s, Austin Daily Press, Jo’s Downtown, Posse East, Kesos Taco House, Counterfeit Queso, Asador Mexican BBQ, Tapatio, Austin’s Pizza and Liberation Kitchen.

The “mayor of all quesos,” Mayor Steve Adler, is rumored to be attending and tasting queso along with the fine folks of Austin. This continues the tradition of Austin mayors attending, with former Mayor Lee Leffingwell having judged the second ever Quesoff in 2012.

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