Written by Art Petrosemolo
We all have favorites. You know, from past blogs, I love Lapp’s ice cream and maple walnut is my favorite flavor. You know from my corn blog that I favor bi-color over white or yellow.
Today you will learn I have been on a hunt to find the very best Lancaster County Chicken Corn Soup. I’ve found it but am a little reluctant to share my find as I don’t want her to be out of soup on my next visit. Only kidding…. I’ll share.
So my favorite chicken corn soup has rivels in it. I eat it with rice, noodles, pieces of egg…just about anything but I love it with rivels.
A rivel – if you haven’t grown up here or have been living in a cave – is a small dumpling made of flour, water, butter and egg. My wife, who is of Polish heritage, calls it a kluski and has eaten it since she was a child. I don’t like kluski but I love rivels in soup. Go figure!
So, since we moved back to Lancaster County in December, I have tried chicken corn soup everywhere we have been. Most of it is good, some is very good but I found nothing exceptional. There was only that, for me, was so bad I would not order it again. Although it must be popular, as it stays on the menu.
Tina makes chicken corn soup for me and it is good…..not a world beater but it doesn’t go to waste, ever. Tina also makes great beef vegetable soup in the slow cooker so she makes that more often.
I have tried chicken corn at the smorgasbord restaurants and they, surprisingly, do a good job. The soup is always fresh as it turns over so quickly. I have had it at the White Horse Luncheonette in Gap and the Town Hall restaurant in Blue Ball. And both do a good job….And surprisingly the luncheonette counters at Green Dragon Farmers’ Market do an excellent job with chicken corn. When we lived in NJ, I always brought a quart – or two – home.
When I did an internet search with Google as my search engine, I found 88,000 references to chicken corn rivel soup and dozens and dozens of recipes so it must be popular.
Recently, I found what I think is the absolute best chicken corn rivel soup locally. I like it so much that I consume it there and always take a quart home for later. It is to die for.
So Art, are you going to tell us about this place or keep it to yourself? OK, I’ll spill the beans…For me, the best chicken corn rivel soup comes from the lunch counter – Country Lunch Basket – at Bird-In-Hand Farmer’s Market on PA Rt 340 in Bird-in-Hand.
My friends have asked, “Are you sure, Art?” And I answer, “Oh yes, I’m sure!”
The lunch counter is on the west end of the market in the corner. It has about 12 seats, I think, in an L-shape design. They also have great fried chicken, made fresh, right there at lunch. But if you go, bring the fried chicken home and try the soup.
The counter is run by Mary Byler of Ronks and her daughters Esther and Nancy. I was at the market on a rainy day earlier this summer to pick up cinnamon-raisin bread from Michael’s Bakery (Strasburg….but that’s another blog for the future) and needed something to eat. I tried the soup and it was so good I had a second bowl and took a quart home.
I visit almost every week now to pick up soup. However, Mary, who I met for the first time a few weeks back at the counter, does not make it with rivels every week. I actually call to find out if she made it with rivels before I go to pick it up. Now, don’t get me wrong, Mary’s chicken corn soup, without rivels, is good but just NOT AS GOOD as it is, for some reason, with rivels.
So, if you are a fan of chicken corn soup and you want the best, stop at Mary’s luncheon counter – Country Lunch Basket – at Bird-in-Hand Farmers’ Market on your next trip and tell her that Art Petrosemolo sent you.