It is now August and summer is quickly moving along toward the WV State Fair! This is a perfect chance to get out and enjoy an exciting, family friendly, fun and diverse event that celebrates some of the best qualities that West Virginia has to share. Last year, I tasted my way thru a few of the foods on grounds with friends and family…twice! Yep, this is the time to indulge a bit. Here are some of my fair fare comparisons. Take note and give them a try. Most of all, have fun, and live your best life!
We began with the Famous Ben Ellen Donut versus the Cinnamon Roll. I have to say that I was surprised at the salty, sweet, butterscotch/caramel taste of the Cinnamon Roll. The Cinnamon Roll is large and can feed a family of 4 for dessert – Bonus! The Ben Ellen Donut is a light, cinnamon delight – and not too big for one – no wonder it’s been there for decades!
Our second comparison was a traditional powdered sugar funnel cake versus a traditionally made elephant ear with cinnamon & sugar. The funnel cake when hot is easy to eat…pulls apart, sweet, chewy and great (don’t let it sit – it gets a little on the tough side). The elephant ear is similar to what your grandma made with the left over pie dough – by adding sugar and cinnamon and with a crisp edge to it, it is really close. Again, both are large in size and could feed a crowd – at least 4 folks for dessert each.
Our third comparison was a bit more on the healthy side. We compared apples! Candy apple to Caramel apple (I know it’s a stretch, but there is a great piece of fruit involved). Candy apples are super sticky, cinnamon and if you have dental work it’s a tough chewy bite, however, tasty. Caramel apples are simply delicious. I definitely preferred the caramel, but saw a lot of red/pink faces after a candy apple was enjoyed!
Our final comparison was a fried contest….fried pickles versus fried mozzarella. The pickles were salty dills in a crunchy batter meant to be eaten quickly with ranch dressing. The mozzarella was surprisingly lightly battered, gooey and dipped in a light marinara. I could’ve eaten more of this (but I own a cheese shop – so there’s that!)
Of course, it goes without saying that these foods are not some of the healthiest on the planet but it is fair fare and only once a year that we get to let our hair completely down, get food on our face in public without worry and enjoy the entire fair experience – food, craft, farms, gardens, music, animals, fireworks, and more. The WV State Fair is a bounty of the work of a lot of devoted folks from WV and beyond and is definitely worth sharing, definitely something to be proud of, and does not disappoint.
I hope my notes conjure up your curiosity if you have not attended our state fair yet. This year let your guard down a try a few new tastes. And, I hope to see you there!
– Tamera Pence, owner at Bella the Corner Gourmet in Lewisburg, WV.