On Fridays, I highlight products that I think are sweet, in every sense of the meaning–sometimes literally, but not always!
I love Minnesota.
The Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to me and has been for my entire life, save a few semesters spent in Florida for college. I was never the type who wanted to move away, but my hometown pride became even more apparent in college. Living in Florida was an incredible adventure and I would study there all over again in a heartbeat, but I’m a Minnesota girl through and through! It didn’t take long for my southern roommates to take notice of my “Minnesota nice” and Scandinavian phrases–I never heard the end of it when I put my groceries in a baaaaag or let an “Uffda” slip out.
And I am proud of it, thank you very much!
Living away from home for a few years only made me love my home state more. Sure, the winters get long, but the summers make up for it. Ten thousand lakes, the friendliest people around…
And the State Fair.
Believe it or not, even as gung-ho about Minnesota as I am, last year was the first time I ever attended “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.”
I know, I’m a little ashamed. I was slacking in my duties as a Minnesota resident. I can only hope my fellow Minnesotans will forgive me.
Better late than never, though! I made up for 20-some years of skipping the State Fair by eating enough deep-fried foods to fill 20 of me. I had a lot to catch up on and I loved all of it! The Minnesota State Fair is known for its foods-on-a-stick and deep-fried delicacies, and there are plenty to offer, since it’s the second-largest state fair in the country (second only to Texas–they do everything bigger there!). Every year, Minnesotans–and others who travel for the Fair–eagerly await the big reveal of the new foods for the year.
It’s a foodie’s paradise. Which is precisely why I had to go.
I did my research before venturing over to the Fair, making a list of all the mandatory favorites, the new trends, and the just plain weird.
I never made it to the alligator-on-a-stick booth (maybe that’s still a little too Floridian for me?), but it felt like I made it just about everywhere else! The Red Velvet Funnel Cake from Smoothies and Jurassic Dogs was new for 2012, and it was at the top of my list to try:
Also on the agenda were the classic cheese curds from The Mouth Trap. These were no stranger to me; years ago, there was a place in the Mall of America food court that sold similar cheese curds, and they were amazing! The ones at the Fair were equally delicious…and equally fattening. Definitely a once-a-year treat, but one to look forward to!
I thought Sweet Martha’s cookies were over-hyped. They were fine, but not as good as I expected, and they didn’t even come close to homemade chocolate chip cookies. I see the appeal, though–even on a hot summer day, it’s fun to get a giant bucket of cookies that are still warm and melty. Especially when you pair them with the $1 unlimited milk.
My favorite purchase of the day had to be the caramel apple milkshake from the dairy building, though. Once I saw how long the lines were, I had a pretty good indication of what was to come, and this milkshake didn’t fail to meet expectations. So creamy and delicious! There were other great flavors like raspberry and chocolate that were also worth trying. Since Minnesota’s known for its dairy, it’s hard to go beat anything in that category on the State Fairgrounds!
The turkey sandwich from Minnesota’s Turkey-to-Go was also really good–so good that it was voted 2012’s Best State Fair Food! Not to mention it was far healthier than most foods at the Fair.
As much as I enjoyed everything I tried and felt like a major glutton as I exited the gate, I still left with a list of things I wanted to try another time. I’ve heard interesting things about the sweet corn ice cream, the hotdish-on-a-stick, and so many other crazy concoctions.
This coming year, Candied Bacon Cannoli, Cocoa Cheese Bites, and Dough-sants will be introduced to State Fair-goers. I don’t know whether those will be unexpected hits or major misses, but I can’t wait to try a few of them!
This year’s Minnesota State Fair begins August 22 and runs through Labor Day, September 2. For a list of new (and old) foods, Grandstand performers, and attractions, visit the Minnesota State Fair website. See you there!