Let the predictions begin.
What will be the darling among the bumper crop of new foods making their debut at the 2013 Minnesota State Fair? Will it be cannolis filled with candied bacon? Deep-fried bread pudding? Mini-donut batter ice cream?
No one knows for sure, but a record 47 new food items will grace this year’s edition of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Most will be hawked at returning vendors, although eight new food stands will be on the fairgrounds, including St. Paul’s iconic Mancini’s (serving bread cones filled with meatballs, a steak sandwich and garlic toast) and Sonora Grill of Minneapolis, maker of some of the Twin Cities’ best tacos.
There’s so much pork on the list that a reasonable person might assume that the Minnesota Pork Board is a sponsor — it’s not — with delicacies along the lines of Cajun-style pork rinds, bacon-wrapped grilled shrimp on a stick, ham-engulfed pineapple baked into pretzel dough and served on a stick, slow-roasted porchetta, barbecue pulled-pork tacos, pork belly sliders, a ham-bacon-roast pork pressed sandwich and more.
Those with a sweet tooth will have plenty to explore, whether its chile-infused chocolate ice cream, a sci-fi caramel corn and funnel cake sundaes. While the red-hot Cronut — a cream-filled, croissant-doughnut hybrid — didn’t make the list, there’s a grilled glazed doughnut served with a strawberry-mint dipping sauce.
Craft beer fans can check out onion rings dipped in a batter made with Daytripper, an American pale ale. The fairground’s 320 acres are surely home to the nation’s largest concentration of deep fryers, and this year they’ll be busier than ever. Culinary brainstorming of the highest order has yielded deep-fried pumpkin pie, deep-fried meatloaf on a stick, deep-fried olives and, yes, cheddar cheese bits that are breaded in Cocoa Puffs and — you got it — fried.
The fair runs Aug. 22 through Sept. 2.
Antacids are sold at Steichen’s Grocery & Deli in the Commissary Building.
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