Yesterday I was invited to attend an event at the PNE where we received a tour and samples of some of the newest and craziest food items to come to the PNE this year.
Our first stop was at a booth in the market place called Monkey Butter. Monkey Butter is a local brand that makes all natural peanut butter that comes in a bunch of cool flavours like maple bacon, dark chocolate banana, and salted caramel. I sampled the maple bacon peanut butter and it was thick and creamy with sweet and smokey notes.
The first vendor we went to was the Pennsylvania Dutch Funnel Cakes stand. As you can probably guess, they specialize in funnel cakes and other deep fried desserts.
Here we got to sample deep fried wagon wheels and maple bacon funnel cakes. The maple bacon funnel cake was very indulgent. It was liberally topped with whipped cream, pieces of bacon, and powdered sugar. This combination reminded me of pancakes with bacon, just with more deep fried batter. It is definitely something to try for the bacon fanatics out there.
The deep fried wagon wheels actually ended up being my favourite food item of the day. The wagon wheel inside the batter was soft and got gooey and warm. The batter on the outside wasn’t too thick and it added a nice bit of crunch. I would recommend trying one of these if you visit the PNE.
Next up on the tour was fountains and fruits, a new addition to the PNE this year. They have two massive chocolate fountains (one dark and one milk chocolate) and they sell skewers of chocolate dipped fruit and marshmallows.
I had some of the milk chocolate dipped strawberries and the dipped marshmallows coated in graham wafers and coconut. The strawberries were plump and juicy and the sweet rich milk chocolate was velvety smooth. I also enjoyed the graham cracker coated marshmallows.
La Casa Gelato is a gelato shop in Vancouver and they have a stand set up at the PNE. We came here to sample their maple bacon and durian flavours. For those of you who don’t know, durian is an Asian fruit that is known for its pungent smell and something that seems to be a love it or hate it food.
I’ve never had durian so I was curious to try it and I now know why this fruit causes so much controversy. This fruit definitely tasted pretty funky and it’s not something I would want to try again.
The last stop on the tour was Granny’s foods, which is a new stand straight from Texas.
The items they had for us to try were deep fried kool-aid and deep fried cheesecake. I had high hopes for the deep fried kool-aid, but unfortunately it was a disappointment. I didn’t actually taste any kool-aid flavour and it just tasted like deep fried dough.
The deep fried cheesecake was very sweet and it melted in your mouth as you ate it. The small piece of it was good, but anything larger would have been too rich to eat.
After the tour was over, I was feeling the need to balance out all of the sweet deep fried food with something savoury. I hit up the Smoke & Bones stand for some BBQ.
The pulled pork sandwich ($9) was piled high with tender smokey pork and drizzled liberally with a tangy and slightly sweet sauce. The bun was also topped with a cool creamy coleslaw that was extra refreshing after all of the greasy deep fried food. This was a solid sandwich and it hit the spot.
The PNE has food for everyone and they have crazy things you can’t find anywhere else. If you go to the PNE during their last weekend make sure you try a deep fried wagon wheel along with all of your other fair favourites.