This month Taste of Home invaded the Wisconsin State Fair, eating our way though some unique and incredible eats. Here’s a wrap-up of a few of our favorite and best treats.
Assistant Editor-Digital Home & Garden
Honestly, I’m a sucker for cheese curds. It’s not original, but I just love them—and it’s the one food I love calorie-splurging on. (That and funnel cakes, which I didn’t get my hands on!) As for the new foods I tried, I loved the sweet potato tots. They were hot, sweet and totally delicious! I’m a savory over sweet kind-of-girl so I’d choose that over The Elvis, which was a close second.
General Manager – Taste of Home Cooking Schools
My favorite, tried and true, stand-by at the fair is the Mexican Corn. Traditional roasted corn on the cob doesn’t stand a chance up against this delicacy traditionally served by street vendors. Grilled corn on the cob (sometimes taken off the cob and served in a bowl as they do at the fair), mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder and fresh squeezed lime- it’s truly an inspiring combination. Note: if you want to try this at home and can’t seem to find it – grated parmesan is an acceptable substitute.
There is no Wisconsin State Fair that could be complete without cheese curds. If you are a regular fair goer… you know there are many places along each path to pick up these poppers of ooey-gooey goodness… however, the best on the grounds comes from Brad and Harry’s. Why so special? A curd is a curd? NEVER! To start with, they ONLY use a white cheddar curd and the batter is light and airy – so you really get to taste the cheese, lightly salted, and you have perfection. Brad and Harry’s – win’s the Curd Challenge every time.
The two new must-have’s for me was the Deep Fried Country Bacon and Gravy on a stick from the Firehouse and The Elvis(Deep Fried peanut butter cup in banana batter from Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery. Both of these delights had me at hello and what struck me in concept did not disappoint in execution. The Deep Fried Bacon and Gravy was warm and salty with a slight smokiness that was completely brought to balance by the peppered gravy. The Elvis… takes TCB (taking care of business) to an entirely new level. Chocolate, peanut butter and nanners deep fried, need I say more? Check yes on your must-try list and thank me later. This one is a true star.
Deep Fried Beer? Never again. Nough said.
Associate Brand Manager, Experiential Marketing – Taste of Home Cooking Schools
My favorite dishes HAD to be – the Jamaican Red Hot featured at the Tropical tent and although not a crowd favorite, the deep-fried PB&J. The spiciness of the red hot combined with a frosty beverage – made for a perfect afternoon meal! Then, biting through the crusty goodness to get to the sweet and salty combo of melty PB and sweet jelly made me weak in the knees. Long live the state fair and fried food!
Field Staff and Program Manager – Taste of Home Cooking Schools
Overall, the Best Dish goes to the Duck Fajitas. It was tender, flavorful, and a total surprise. The Best Deal goes to the $2 Grilled Cheese in the Wisconsin Products Pavilion … Give me cheddar! The Best Food On a Stick was The Elvis – peanut butter and chocolate wrapped in a soft and sweet banana batter. And finally, the Best One Stop Shop goes to the Wisconsin Products Pavilion…. Eggs, milk, pork, honey, cheese, ice cream, apples… I need nothing else to be happy.
Digital Marketing Associate – Taste of Home
Love & Homemade Recipes Blogger
For me, it’s all about the Jamaican Red-Hot. The sausage was juicy and had just the right amount of spice without being too over powering. The sweet tropical relish blended perfectly with the heat from the sausage - it was a winner!
If you’re craving something sweet, then go with the Elvis. It’s the classic combination of peanut butter and chocolate, dipped in a banana batter then deep-fried to golden perfection. The chocolate and peanut butter melt into a decadent, gooey mess, but the banana adds a tangy sweetness that you won’t get from anything else. All I can say is, Elvis would be proud.
PR Manager – Taste of Home
In terms of beverages (because you work up a thirst tasting all those snacks on a stick) I told all my friends and family that the Honey Lemonade in the WI Products Pavilion is incredible. A new fair MUST. It’s the perfect drink for a hot summer day – super refreshing and strikes just the right balance of sweet honey and tart lemon juice.
I got a bite of the Duck Fajita (also from the Pavillion) and have been thinking about it ever since. It was almost a little overly-cheese-laden (and this is coming from a cheese aficionado) but it was savory, sloppy, delicious and had just the right hint of exotic duck flavor. I know what I’ll be doing with our fresh duck this fall! Honorable mention: Bison Tostada. Such a great snack.
Last, but not least: The traditional Caramel Apple. It’s one of the original on-a-stick treats that still reigns superior in my book. Eating these at the fair always makes me excited to make my own in the Fall.
Sales and Marketing Manager – Taste of Home Cooking Schools
Root Beer Milk! Root Beer Milk! Root Beer Milk! This cold, creamy, sweet delicious milk is my favorite treat at the State Fair. I usually have at least two glasses. And, only $0.25! What a steal! Now, if only they’d sell this flavor in the stores. I also loved the Pork Burger with BBQ Sauce. It was savory deliciousness! I definitely want another… and another!
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