Yesterday, the annual California State Fair opened and I can’t wait to get there this weekend. Each year the fair has a new perfectly ghastly food item that always makes me cringe. This year really is no different although I was also intrigued.
Among other fried tid bits, new this year there will also be chocolate-covered bacon and fried scorpions. The scorpions are right out – first I’m a vegetarian and second it just sounds wrong in so many ways. The chocolate-covered bacon – now that’s interesting. I’ve heard of bacon ice cream so why not other salty/savory combinations with bacon?
I thought I’d try it myself so picked up a package of ‘veggie’ bacon and got out my double boiler. The result was actually quite good. I imagine though that real bacon would impart a stronger meaty, salty flavor. I made some creative additions: one piece I sprinkled with brown sugar, one with big chunks of salt, one with sliced banana, one with red pepper flakes and one with plain, colored sugar. My favorites were definitely the salt and banana.
So give it a-go at home or at the fair. I plan to post the recipe I came up with this Sunday on my food blog, www.vegetarianized.com, if you’d like to try the former.
Also at the fair, I’ve found many food and wine treats beyond the endless aisles of greasy, fried foods. Here are some of my favorites from years past and new things to try this year:
- Margaritas at Hussong’s Cantina: Not frozen and not a mix with fresh lime juice – yum!
- Savemart Wine Country: Not that you think high quality wine when you think of Savemart, but I have found there is always something new to try and the prices are pretty inexpensive.
- Wine, cheese and garden competitions: Taste and drink up award-winning foods from across the state.
- Brewfest: This year it’s Saturday, July 31st starting at 5:00pm. There is a Commercial Craft Brew Competition, and tickets are an additional $15.00 on top of fair entrance fees.
- Cooking demonstrations and sampling: Held most days at multiple times at the “Dirt to Dish” Kitchen.
- Firehouse Challenge: The challenge will be held Sunday, July 18st with the cook-off finals on Sunday, August 1st in the Expo Center #2 building – sounds pretty cool, but maybe that’s just because my brother is a fireman!
For more foodie ideas at the fair, check out the official program (pages 32-34). You can download it by clicking here and then on the blue box on the right that says: “download the 2010 official program here!” Tickets to the fair are between $8.00 and $12.00; parking is $10.00. And don’t forgot the fireworks display every night at 10:00pm. The main website for the fair is www.bigfun.org. Wine and cheese photos courtesy of the California State Fair.
The Early Girl: Foodie Weekend is published weekly on Thursdays so you can get the ‘dish’ on the food-wine weekend events in/around Davis. Find out where else you can find me blogging, writing, teaching, cooking and having other food and wine adventures at Vegetarianized.com.