Gulf Coast Flavor: Foodie Favorites at the Florida State Fair

Gulf Coast Flavor: Foodie Favorites at the Florida State Fair

As we mentioned last week's Plumlee Realty blog post, February has a lot to offer in the way of events this month. The Florida State Fair is one of them, and it's a big one. It's the first state fair of the year in the country, so it sets the stage for fair-going this year. You also get a first lookand even better, a first tasteof the new fair foods trending this year.

Let's face it, the fair is a fun event for many, many reasons. We love the rides, we love the exhibits, we love the atmospherebut we really LOVE the fair food. So foodies, this fair spotlight is just for you. Here are the palate-pleasers for this year's main event. Try one or try them all!

The thrills offered by the rides on the Midway of the Florida State Fair are matched only by the thrills served up by the food vendors throughout the fair. This year, adventurous foodies can feast on the colossal Double Barrel Burger, which switches out the traditional bun for glazed doughnuts and throws in a scoop of mac and cheese for good measure. Other novel noshes include the PB&J and Bacon Quesadilla, Pizza Funnel Cake and Fried Birthday Cake Pop. And fair fans once again chose the People’s Choice Burger.

"As the first State Fair in the country, the Florida State Fair has introduced some of the most unique food creations. Over the years, food has become an extremely important part of the fair experience, and our vendors work very hard to bring fairgoers the newest, most delicious foods. We’re always excited to taste the latest creations.” ~ Charles C. Pesano, executive director of the Florida State Fair Authority

The People's Choice Burger Award Winner Is....

Every year there is heated competition for the best new burger at the fair. The votes are in and Florida State fairgoers have decided that bacon really is better! The Bacon Bomb Explosion Burger is the resounding winner in the Florida State Fair’s People’s Choice Burger Awards.

Bacon Bomb Burger at the Florida State Fair

The Bacon Bomb Explosion Burger beat out three other burger concoctions during online voting between Jan. 20-27 and will be featured on the menu during the Florida State Fair in Tampa on February 4-15.
The winning burger features fresh ground chuck, with ranch, BBQ sauce and a special seasoning. After the addition of some bacon crumbles, the meat is wrapped in a lattice of fresh bacon and slow roasted with hickory smoke until golden brown, then sliced into patties. This mouthful of a burger is served on a Kaiser roll with a slice of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and, for the adventurous, a few more strips of bacon.

The Bacon Bomb Explosion Burger edged out the runner up, Red Neck Burger, which is a fresh burger patty, with bacon & cheese, fried bologna, baked beans, potato sticks, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, on a toasted bun. The French Toast Burger was a close third. This breakfast-inspired burger featured a burger patty topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle, sandwiched between slices of homemade French Toast and drizzled with a special sauce. In fourth place was the Ice Cream Burger, a beef patty with cheese bacon, tomato, onion and pickle, and topped with a coated scoop of Mexican-style fried ice cream.

Wow! How about those burgers?

Pizza Funnel Cake

Hey there pizza lovers, and lovers of all things dough, this one's for you. Pizza funnel cake starts with pizza dough flavored funnel cake topped with pizza sauce, melted cheese and pepperoni. It brings pizza to a whole new level. Try it! It might be your new fair favorite.

Peanut Butter, Jelly & Bacon QuesadillaPB&J Bacon Quesadilla

The PB&J classic combo gets a Tex-Mex makeover in the Peanut Butter, Jelly and Bacon Quesadilla, another new sensation on the menu at the Florida State Fair.

Or try the Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadilla, perfect as a pre-performance snack before the annual Elvis Extravaganza, featuring the country’s best Elvis impersonators. Adventurous food lovers will try any of the quesadillas with a side of chocolate chips and caramel. A Bacon and Cheese Quesadilla is also available for your dining pleasure, if you dare.

Deep-Fried Birthday Cake Pop

Decadent desserts are a must! This year deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos will have to compete with the new Deep Fried Birthday Cake Pop, another Florida State Fair first. It’s a mini birthday cupcake, dipped in a sweet batter and deep-fried. It’s topped with colorful sprinkles and cream cheese icing for dipping. Yummy!

Healthy Alternatives

If you're not into the traditional fair foods or the new arrivals, fear not. There are always healthy options at the Florida State Fair. There is a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options, including Island Noodles, a warm filling stir-fry made with buckwheat Yaki Soba noodles and tossed with garlic, ginger and up to 21 fresh vegetables. Island Noodles contain no gluten, dairy or nuts and can be made with or without meat. Roasted corn on the cob is a traditional favorite, too. Have you tried the falafels? They're good!

The 2016 Florida State runs February 4-16. For the latest updates, visit the Florida State Fair Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. Let us know if you try any of the new fair food! Happy fair-going!

What Florida State Fair food are you eating this year?

Comment on this post!