Eat (and Drink) The Minnesota State Fair 2022 – Heavy Table
PHOTOS BY BRENDA JOHNSON / HEAVY TABLE
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Love. Joy. Brutality. Calories. The Minnesota State Fair only happens once a year, and THANK GOD for that, because it’s a whirlwind of a bear a beast a project for finalists like the Heavy Table Wrecking Crew .
This year, instead of tackling every new food with straight reviews, our writers and photographers took Heavy Table subscribers on a journey through 10 themed “flights” of eating and drinking at the Fair. (We’ve previewed the State Fair Sweets Flight for you below.)
Culinary excursions include:
Flight #1: Stunt foods | Amy Rea
Volume 2 : State Fair Barbecue | Piercarlo Valdesolo
Flight #3: State Fair Candy | Stacy Brooks
Flight #4: A dairy tale | Jeanne Lakso
Flight #5: Blue Ribbon Brewing | Louis Livingston Garcia
Flight #6: State Fair Classic Foods | Amy Rea
Flight #7: Vegan Tour | Stacy Brooks
Flight #8: Compare and Contrast: Classics Edition | Amy Rea
Flight #9: Healthy fair fare | Jeanne Lakso
Flight #10: ‘It’s so bad it’s remarkable’ | James Norton
THEFT #3: STATE FAIR CANDY
By Stacy Brooks
My third-order superpower is that I can consume almost unlimited amounts of dessert. When other people push away their pieces of three chocolate cake, complaining about how rich it is, I go for a few seconds.
My go-to gourmet day at the State Fair would be Mouth Trap cheese curds and as many desserts as possible. If you’re of the same mind, this flight is for you: the successes and failures of this year’s novelties, as well as old favourites.
Best Newcomer: Hot Indian Kulfi ($5)
This Indian ice cream on a stick is a delight. Available in three flavors (almond/cashew/pistachio, mango and saffron/almond/pistachio), it is made with condensed milk for a creamy mouthfeel. The mango flavor is fruity enough to almost be mistaken for a piece of frozen fruit, and the almond/cashew/pistachio version has an appealing intensity, with the nuts and warming spices giving it a savory quality. Plus, each large-sized kulfi is only $5, making them the best deal in the new food line.
Biggest Disappointment: Snack House Deep Fried Ice Cream ($8)
An ice cream/fried food mashup sounds like the perfect fair trade food, and it sounds so promising: a slice of ice cream covered in cornflakes, fried and artfully topped with raspberry sauce and sprinkles. In reality, the vanilla ice cream is shoddy and artificially flavored, the breading has an unpleasantly grainy texture, and the raspberry sauce and sprinkles don’t add much other than color to the photos of hurry.
Had the most potential: Blue Moon Dine-In Theater Lemon Cookie Tortilla Chips ($9)
The Blue Moon Dine-In Theater produced some of my favorite State Fair desserts, including Snow Ribbons (RIPs) and Smoked Soft Serve. This year’s effort features tortilla chips made with lemon sandwich cookies, served with a dip in the center of the cookie-cream topped with a dollop of lemon curd. The dip is quite good – they really managed to strike the balance between tart and sweet, and it has a nice creamy texture. Unfortunately the fries are chewy instead of crispy and so dry they looked overcooked. Better luck next year.
Also had potential: Sara’s Tipsy Pies Minty Magic Tart ($8)
These little pies are certainly made with care, with a frozen creme de menthe filling, a dollop of freshly applied whipped cream and a sprinkle of Andean mint pieces. The topping worked for me: the invigorating mint flavor served as a much-needed palate cleanser, and it has an interesting lightness that sits between ice cream and whipped cream. If only the crust was good, it was frozen and almost impossible to cut with plastic cutlery. Grasshopper pie traditionally has an Oreo crust, and I wish they had taken that approach.
The most trusted crowd pleaser: Nordic Waffles S’more Waffle ($9)
Combining a classic Nordic waffle with a beloved dessert flavor isn’t exactly a swing, but it definitely gets you on base. The waffles are thinner and softer than their American counterparts, making them an optimal collapsible container for chocolate spread, marshmallows and crumbled graham crackers. It could have easily turned into the terror of sugar overload, but the hand held with the chocolate makes the s’mores waffle a reliable hit.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Sonny’s Fair Food Deep-fried Cookie Dough On-a-Stick ($10)
It’s the platonic ideal of a State Fair food: chocolate chip cookie dough threaded onto a skewer, dipped in sweet batter, and fried. The gooey, chocolatey balls of sugar and fat will bypass the pleasure center of your brain, bringing you to a state of pure bliss. For some people, one bite is enough. But I? I eat everything.
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