Counting down the days until the annual Wisconsin State Fair! Taking place in Wisconsin State Fair Park from August 4th – 14th, this year promises an exciting array of attractions and entertainment – but most importantly of all, over 80 new food items have been announced for this year’s fair. From classic funnel cakes to inventive reimaginings, here’s a list of all the foods your appetite should be eager to dive into.
A staple of any American event, the fair offers a wide variety of burgers and sandwiches. The first I recommend finding is the “Surf & Turf Sliders” from Tropics. Taking us from the fairgrounds to the beach, these sliders are piled with marinated pulled pork, a layer of tropical slaw, and Tropics’ signature pineapple mango salsa. Topped with hot, crispy coconut shrimp and smothered in a jalapeño aioli sauce, enjoy this beachy delight in a fresh Hawaiian sweet roll bun. Or for a sweeter take on a burger, try the “French Toast Burger” from Robert’s: a beef patty squeezed between two slices of french toast along with a fried egg and drizzled in syrup.
Many people who frequent state fairs are no strangers to the vast quantity of fried foods offered there. Over the years we’ve seen plenty of surprisingly delectable treats come from out of the hot oil: fried oreos, fried pickles, deep-fried ice cream, etc. The 46-year-old haunt Saz’s BBQ will be offering up three Baby Back Duroc Pork Riblets, tossed in Saz’s secret rib rub, dipped in buttermilk, breaded, deep-fried, and topped with Saz’s house made Klement’s sausage gravy. The WurstBar offers some good ol’ fashioned Schnitzel, as well as the more enticing Batter-Infused White Cheddar Cheese Curds. Different from traditional fried cheese curds, the Batter-Infused White Cheddar Cheese Curds are not a normal beer-battered curd. The seasoned flour is mixed into the cheese itself and then cut into cubes and deep-fried for delicious taste without the breading on the outside. Lakefront Brewery Beer Garden is also offering its own footlong cheese curd on a stick – a literal foot of deep fried perfection with a choice of tangy garlic ranch or luscious beer cheese sauce.
For the lovers of savory, salty, and spicy look no further than Gertrude’s Pretzels, where you can find “Peno Pretzel Popper Brats” – a 10-inch jalapeño cheddar bratwurst carefully wrapped in fresh pretzel dough, topped with coarse pretzel salt and fresh cut jalapeños, and baked until it’s golden brown. Afterwards, it is brushed with butter, drizzled with white cheddar sauce, and served with a house-made jalapeño cream cheese.
For those looking for a dessert to cleanse their salty palate, perhaps try the “Walking Banana Explosion” from Mexican Grill: a bag of Nilla wafers topped with vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, nutty bar, and finished with whip cream and a cherry for a reinvented banana dessert. Or perhaps a s’more on a stick from Freese’s Candy Shop? It’s a classic whipped cream bar infused with Wisconsin Brandy sandwiched between two graham crackers, covered in milk chocolate, drizzled in white chocolate, and topped with the traditional old fashioned garnishes of dried orange and dried cherry.
For the adventurous state fair attendees, might I recommend something outside your comfort zone? All Things Jerky, alongside Exotic Meat Grill, are offering their treats coated in edible bugs. The “Bug Apple on a Stick” is a chocolate covered apple, coated in very real, very edible june-bugs, crickets, worms and ants. Likewise, the “Arctic Bug Blast Slush” is a lovely blue raspberry slush that is topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of edible bugs, which may include a scorpion.
This year’s fair is bound to have a little bit for everyone, with so much more to see and do and eat. So don’t miss out, come taste some truly enlightening flavor combinations that will stay with you until…well, next year of course!