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Monday, July 29, 2013

Not Just Food On-a-Stick: What’s New to Eat at State Fair

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While many State Fair attendees return year after year for traditional favorites like the famous cream puffs, baked potatoes and pork chop sandwiches, others can’t wait to taste what’s new. Past “experimental” fair foods have included treats like deep-fried butter and chocolate-covered bacon. This year fair planners have upped the ante by creating the “Sporkies” food competition. The challenge was put forth to the State Fair’s food vendors to come up with new dishes to be judged under the categories Best Tasting, Most Creative and Grand Champion. More than 40 entries were submitted initially; then the field was narrowed to eight, with final judging taking place just before the Fair opens. Finalists include:

 

■ Cajun Mac ’n’ Cheese—Classic mac ’n’ cheese with spicy crawfish tails and crab meat, topped with Old Bay Seasoning, created by Tropics at the Fair.

 

■ Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Bacon Nuggets—Peanut butter and bacon coated with Panko bread crumbs and deep fried, served with Berry Weiss jelly for dipping, brought to you by festival stalwarts Saz’s.

 

■ Iced Irish Coffee Float—An iced coffee mixed with Purple Door Irish Whiskey ice cream and topped with whipped cream and shamrock sprinkles, crafted by Slim McGinn’s Irish Pub.

 

■ Mela Fritta Gelato On a Stick—Vanilla Bean Gelato and apple bits, dipped in caramel sauce and chopped nuts, put together by La Coppa Gelato.

 

■ Mac Attack—A grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with ham, bacon, tomato and mac ’n’ cheese, offered by the West Allis Shrine Club.

 

■ Rasta Shrimp Sliders—Pan-fried seasoned shrimp “burgers” on a bun, topped with citrus-flavored mayo, another creation from Tropics at the Fair.

 

■ “Slaw-tered” Chicken—Rice vinegar-based “fruity” coleslaw, with teriyaki chicken, topped with a hint of wasabi and garlic macadamia nuts, developed by Island Noodles.

 

■ Thanksgiving Waffle—A bread stuffing and craisin waffle topped with mashed potatoes, turkey and gravy, another creative entry by Slim McGinn’s.

 

If these Sporkies entries aren’t enough, there are a whopping 70 new menu items for hungry fair-goers to nosh on. Bacon lovers will be in heaven while eating bacon-centric foods like Bacon Brat On a Stick, Beer Battered Bacon Wrapped Cheddar Hot Dog On a Stick, or the Better with Bacon ice cream bar that consists of an ice cream bar that’s been rolled in bacon pieces and then dipped in chocolate.

If bacon is not your thing, there are plenty of other new foods too. Try the Cajun Frog Legs (on a stick) or the Deep Fried Taco Cheesecake. One thing is certain: visitors to the State Fair will have no shortage of delicious things to eat. The only problem may be choosing which taste to indulge!

The Wisconsin State Fair runs Aug. 1-11. For more information and a complete listing of all new foods visit wistatefair.com.
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