This past week has been crazy if you’re driving down Blue Ridge. Cars lined up as far as the eye can see. It can only mean one thing: State Fair!!!!!!!!!Tony and I love the N.C. state fair; there’s local culture*fried food*, the arts*more fried food*, and agriculture *did I mention fried food?* Oh yeah, and then there’s the food. I love fairs and carnivals because it’s such a great excuse to indulge and the fair always finds new ways to push the fried envelope.
There was a rumor of fried butter this year (how does that even work??), but the big draw was the fabled chocolate-covered bacon. I went and found “Pig Lickers” (what a terrible name) immediately. As soon as I got them, two ladies approached me, “Is that what I think it is?” After all, everyone loves chocolate and bacon is the closest thing to Godliness as far as I’m concerned. That’s why this is the saddest thing I’ll ever write: It wasn’t that good. The semi-sweet chocolate overwhelmed the poor, thin strip of bacon it covered and there wasn’t enough saltiness to cut through the sweet. Plus, I walked away with major heartburn from the chocolate. So very sad…
We went the day of the cooking competitions, but sadly came too late to catch anything good. However, we did get to see that one of my favorite N.C. wines, the Childress Winery Cabernet Franc had won a gold medal. I loved the Cabernet Franc when we went to the winery last summer; it’s a deep, jammy, yet smooth wine that really deserves a top prize among NC wines.
Since you can’t go to a state fair without seeing livestock, we headed to the poultry tent. Yep, lots of chickens, lots of ducks. The interesting thing was since there’s the H1N1 scare here, there were lots of signs asking “Our animals are healthy, are you???” It felt very dystopian to me, I almost expected to have see secret hand-washing police walking around.
Man, looking at ginormous chickens built up an appetite in me. At that point, it was time for lunch. I made the mistake of picking up some ribs. Bad choice unless you’re willing to sit down and eat and then take a lengthy nap next to the “Guess Your Weight” stand. What was disappointing was the lack of NC food on the midway. The BBQ stands were few and far between, so standard carnival fare was the rule here, meaning heavy greasiness. Tony did strike some luck with his Grilled Peppers and sausage were tasty with enough salt and spice.
The final splurge was something deep-fried. For Tony, that meant a deep-fried Hoho. Tony called it an “oozing, chocolatey mess of fried goodness.” I’m not a big dessert person, so some fried pickles were a welcome treat. Not too soggy, not too salty. However, the stand we went to for both had a line so long, it was at least a 30 minute wait. However, this was definitely the place to be, the stand offered fried pecan pie, fried twinkies, they would probably fry a toad if you asked them to.
The weather was a little drizzly, the people were a little loud and pushy, but as Tony and I sat on top of a ferris wheel and looked out at the downtown skyline, I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. I can’t wait for next year.