BRATTLEBORO -- The Strolling of the Heifers recently announced the focus of its 2014 culinary competition -- the Great New England Bread Pudding Bake-Off.

This year’s event will showcase bread pudding as an easy, economical and delicious dessert, and as a healthy alternative to processed commercial desserts. Contest finals will happen at the Stroll’s new home at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden. Bread pudding is defined as a baked sweet dessert, comprised of bread baked in a custard. It may consist of any kind of bread, milk and or cream, eggs, fruit or any number of other ingredients. For the competition, you’ll want to use ingredients that are locally or regionally produced whenever possible.

In addition to their recipes, contestants will be asked to "tell the story" of their entry: If they created it, what inspired them? Or is it a family dish? Was it a secret pried from a relative? An accidental discovery?

All entries must be submitted using an online entry form posted on www.strollingoftheheifers.com/breadpudding/, or mailed to Strolling of the Heifers to arrive no later than midnight, Friday, May 16. Up to 10 finalists will be notified by May 22.

Finalist recipes will be adapted for preparation in a commercial kitchen, and will be cooked in quantity by Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. These will be brought to the River Garden on Friday evening, June 6, where the community judges will have their opportunity to taste the finalist recipes during the Street Festival, and vote to select the "People’s Choice" award winner. Winners will be announced at about 7 that evening from the entertainment stage on Main Street. Finalists are encouraged to attend. Professional judges will be recruited from Brattleboro’s extensive farm, food and culinary community.

Both professional and amateur chefs are invited to enter.