A blueberry pierogi sundae — a merging of two vendors–Moolicious and Millie’s Pierogi and an 18-inch bratwurst on a bun from the Wurst Haus, operated by Student Prince Cafe, were some of the highlights when The Big E, which should just be called the “The Big EATS” unveiled some new menu items for the fair’s 100th anniversary today and gave a few of us lucky media peeps a chance to check them out.
I’m not shy about my love for The Big E, it’s something I look forward to every year and I usually go more than once. What’s not to love? There’s food, shopping, animals, beer tents, more food, carnival stuff, food … and also food. Did I mention there’s food?
I have my yearly staples, like a slice of apple pie from Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and a giant baked potato, but each year, I veer off and attempt to try something new. I discovered lobster rolls at The Big E (and now I’m addicted), fried cheesecake, maple candy, along with dozens of other items. Fair food is seriously the best.
I was one of the lucky few to get a chance to try out the newest items that are sure to be a hit at this year’s fair — and I promise — finding the room in my stomach for all these treats wasn’t even the toughest part of my day!
I tried what my stomach would allow, so you’ll know which fair fare, is worth the fanfare:
Blueberry Pierogi Sundae
Moolicious ice cream’s Joe Deedy explained to me that this sundae was a partnership between two business owners. Millie’s Pierogis, which makes my all-time favorite pierogis, local and far, has a blueberry pierogi. She told Joe if he ever made a pierogi sundae, he’d have to use hers, so he did. Served up in a waffle cone — the pierogi goes in first, it’s topped with vanilla soft serve, homemade blueberry variegate, a mound of whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and fresh blueberries. Add a spoon and you’re ready to eat. This one’s a must-have, but I’ll warn you, it’s messy, like most delicious things are.
Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie Bites
Coffee Break is fall-ified and ready to keep me warm like my UGG boots each year. They’ve got deep fried pumpkin pie bites — that perfect something sweet if you want a light treat that tastes like fall. They come four to an order — pumpkin pie filling stuffed into a wonton wrapper, lightly fried to perfection and then dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar — they’re topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Deeeeelish. And shareable, but why would you want to? Also, I see myself trying to recreate this recipe when The Big E is over, so I can share it with you.
Southern Chicken n’ Waffles
The Deep South Company is replacing the Italian Pavilion, but don’t worry, their food is so good, you won’t even miss that ole’ thang! They’re serving up southern fried chicken n’ waffles — the perfect blend of sweet and savory. If you’ve never had chicken n’ waffles, you might think it’s an odd combination, but I promise, this one tastes just like Georgia. A crispy fried chicken tender is wedged in between waffles topped with sweet maple syrup and it’s worth taking a bite out of. Or two.
The Deep South is an on-site full service restaurant this year, just like Wurst Haus. They’re also featuring a muffulata sandwich, fried green tomatoes, a po boy sandwich, and more, plus — a southern-inspired cocktail bar!
Deep Fried Bacon Mac n’ Cheese Balls
Yep, I went there. I ate bacon for you and you know that’s a special occasion, because as delicious as bacon is, I don’t do that whole red meat thing. E.B.’s of Agawam, a fair and local staple, cooked up these delicious treats you just have to try. Ready? Here are the reasons it can’t be wrong: It’s mac n’ cheese. There’s also cheese. Then, there are panko bread crumbs. It’s fried. There’s bacon it in. There’s cheese on top of it. Then there’s more bacon on top of that. One mac n’ cheese ball was enough for me, but the order comes with five of them, and I honestly don’t think I’d share them. Sorry not sorry.
Southington, Connecticut’s mobile “Poutine Gourmet” is serving up a VEGETARIAN version of this treat. I never get to eat poutine fries, but now, I can. The fries are fresh cut, topped with vegetarian gravy and yummy cheese curds. You can’t go wrong!
The Dessert Ball
Yep, more balls. We made lots of ball jokes at work today, but it’s fine. We’re 12. This was the last thing I ate. The nail in the proverbial coffin that was my stomach. This was delicious though. OK, you ready? The Storrowton Tavern is serving this giant cream puff pastry, stuffed with vanilla ice cream and topped with gooey hot fudge, a mound of fresh whipped cream, sprinkles and of course, a cherry. I couldn’t finish it, and neither could my coworker comrade, Matt Scott (that’s my arm making a cameo and delivering his sundae ball at the end of his package!). Luckily, my pal Nora from Mix 93.1 (and from high school) was able to ditch it for me. I had a great conversation with one of the owners, Rob, and I can’t wait to check out some of the other treats they’ll be serving this year.
I passed on the muffulata sandwich and the bratwurst (you know, the whole meat thang) but heard good things about both from fellow attendees!
The Big E runs from September 16 – October 2, 2016.
What are your favorite fair foods? Do you have a traditional Big E food you have to get each year like I do?