The Wisconsin State Fair has returned. With almost a week left of fun, it pays to give some thought to how you’ll spend your time enjoying all it has to offer. After all, there are countless things to enjoy at the fair – adorable farm animals, interesting music, shopping, enjoying SpinCity, or trying your hand at slip-sliding down the gigantic aluminum slide.
But, everyone knows that one of the highlights of the fair is in the eating. So, I’ve compiled a list of interesting bites you can sample while you’re there – from classic Wisconsin treats to brand new items and bizarre creations.
When you visit the Fair, let me know which ones you tried, and if you found anything else that was worthwhile. I might just list your suggestions on my list next year!
Foods that were made from local ingredients in our home state. What could be better? Honestly – these are my "must have" treats.
- Cream Puffs – You’d be silly to resist this mountain of sweet cream sandwiched inside a glorious pâte à choux baked to a lovely golden brown.
- Door County cherry pie on a stick from the Door County Fish Boil folks.
- Maple cotton candy from the Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers Association is exactly what it sounds like. It’s sticky and sweet, and it might make you crave pancakes.
- Beer from The Micro – Experience the biggest – and best – selection of great Wisconsin brews. Kill a keg and you could win a t-shirt. I’ve got at least one t-shirt in my collection. You?
- Grab a loaded baked potato from the Wisconsin Potato Growers in the in the Wisconsin
Products Pavilion. You’ll never go Idaho again.
- Honey ice cream from the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association.
- Wisconsin wine from the Wisconsin Wine Garden – Choose from 24 Wisconsin wines featured to taste or enjoy by the glass.
- Cran-Crunch on-a-stick from the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association features crunchy granola, sweetened dried Wisconsin cranberries and milk chocolate topped with a specialty pink drizzle
It’s always a hoot to check out the new foods at the fair. Here are some that seem worth your time.
- Winter Wonderland ice cream from Cedar Crest - A creamy White Chocolate Ice Cream with White Chocolate covered Salted Pretzel Balls and a Milk Chocolate Truffle Blend.
- Bacon wrapped hotdog on a stick from Apollo Gyros - Beer Battered Bacon wrapped Cheese Hotdog On-a-Stick featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Beer battered macaroni & cheese bites with jack cheese and bacon from the Budweiser Pavilion
- Beer donuts from the Miller Lite Sports Bar & Grill - Available in Miller Lite, Summer Shandy and Honey Weiss
- Brioche con gelato from La Coppa Artisan Gelato - golden brown, light and fluffy, sweet French Pastry filled to the brim with Vanilla Bean Gelato topped with our homemade Raspberry Sauce.
- Cajun frog legs on a stick from Joey’s Seafood Grill – two saddles of tender frog legs, spiced with a special seasoning. According to the web site, "They will make you very ‘hoppy’!"
- Not sure exactly what spicy pig candy on-a-stick is, exactly (though we suspect it contains bacon), but we’ll trust Machine Shed. After all, they did come up with the chocolate covered bacon phenomenon a few years back.
The Wisconsin State Fair’s First Annual Food Competition, the "Sporkies," takes unique and unusual food creations at the Fair to a new level. Fair food vendors were challenged to create the most inventive and exotic culinary creations imaginable to be considered for competition. Here are the eight finalists. Which ones are winners? You be the judge.
- Cajun mac-n-cheese from Tropics at the Fair
- Deep fried peanut butter & bacon nuggets with Berry Weiss jelly from Saz’s
- Iced Irish coffee float from Slim McGinn’s West
- Mac Attack from West Allis Shrine Club
- Mela Fritta gelato on-a-stick from La Coppa Gelato
- Rasta shrimp sliders from Tropics at the Fair
- Island Slaw from Island Noodles
- Thanksgiving waffle from Slim McGinn’s West
- The deep fried Fat Elvis on a stick from Lakefront Brew Pub & Eatery seems like something you have to try at least once. It is, after all, a peanut butter cup dipped in banana batter, wrapped in bacon, and then deep fried.
- If you didn’t already try it, you’re obligated to give the chocolate covered bacon on-a-stick from Machine Shed a try. You just are.
If you’re avoiding gluten, you’ll be happy to note there’s a list of Gluten-Free foods at the Fair.
Feel free to leave your favorite finds from the Fair in the TalkBack section. Maybe I’ll feature them on my list next year!
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.