Garlic Town USA // © Robert Holmes/Corbis

Food Capitals of America

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You probably know New York is the world’s financial capital, but can you name the world’s blueberry capital? Find out what tasty treats put these American communities on the map.

By Nicholas Gilewicz for MSN City Guides

Americans have celebrated food in a variety of ways for quite a long time (see: our expanding waistlines). Chief among the celebrations is the naming of the food capitalsometimes as a tool to market towns through their traditional harvests, sometimes through the emergence of a local culinary specialty and sometimes through an act of government (seriously). Regardless of the reason, a look at American food capitals reveals some tasty treats and fun festivities. 
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The stand-alone capitals

Cincinnati - Chili Capital
Cincinnati, Ohio, doesn’t serve up the Tex-Mex chili most are used to, but surely has the most chili restaurants of any city in the United States.  Created in the 1920s by immigrant restaurateurs, Cincinnati chili has more in common with a Mediterranean stew, its beef spiced more with cumin and cinnamon than chile peppers.  You get it two-way (over spaghetti), three-way (over spaghetti with cheese), four-way (over spaghetti with cheese and beans or onions) or five-way (over spaghetti with cheese, onions, and beans).  Empress Chili was the progenitor, but the Goldstar and Skyline chains are the largest, each with dozens of outlets in Cincinnati and elsewhere. Skyline met with such success that it went public in 1986 and was bought up by Fleet Equity Partners in the late 1990s.  Of course, the city’s healthy appetite for its beloved creation fosters a trove of independent eateries, still serving it whatever way you like.

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