Yes, that’s right people. Chocolate covered bacon. Take the two tastiest foods in the world and put them together to get a delicious salty, sweet treat that you won’t forget for a long time. Only in Canada, my friends.
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) is Toronto-based annual fair, which for many signals the end of the summer, the advent of the school year, the bidding of farewell to summer and the preparation for autumn. For many families, it is a yearly tradition to visit the CNE (or the Ex, as it is affectionately called) and a chance for children to spend the day running around in the sun, hopping on and off rides, and gobbling up cotton candy, ice cream waffles, and all sorts of other sugary treats that their parents have the sense to allow them to eat only once a year.
For my own family, going to the Ex has never been a deeply rooted tradition. Perhaps it’s because neither of my parents grew up in Toronto, but all I know is that although I have many fond memories of the Ex, for many years it seems that the CNE has come and gone without our passing through the famous Princes’ Gates.
But this year I went with my dear friends Heather, Erik, Dane, Katie, and Elizabeth for some serious shopping and some serious eating. Heather’s family have been going to the CNE every year since she can remember, and some years– like this one– they go multiple times. One trip for the games and rides and another for the shopping. This is no one trip for the food because really, every trip is for the food.
Which brings me back to the chocolate covered bacon.
I’m still flummoxed by the sheer genius of the person who thought not only to combine the two unlikely items, but to market them at the Ex. Like for myself and I’m sure for many others, the Ex is a place when we let are belts relax a bit and pretend that the poutine and ice cream that we chow down on today won’t be appearing on our hips tomorrow. One trip to the Food Building will convince you that health conscious individuals are few and far between, or at least are in denial of what they’re eating. (Potatoes count as a vegetable, right? Sorry dear, not when they’re deep friend, and smothered in bacon, cheese curd and gravy.) So what an excellent venue to introduce a new dish like chocolate covered bacon.
And now I’ve talked so much about the food at the CNE itself, but I haven’t given you much of a description of what the chocolate covered bacon actually tasted like. The first few moments after your pluck up your courage and pop that piece of dripping, chocolatey bacon in your mouth are filled with an appreciation for the rich, dark cocoa in the chocolate sauce. Then you chew and savour the salty sweet combination of the chocolate and bacon before it hits you with a jolt that your eating… chocolate covered… bacon. And enjoying it? Yup, and willing to go back for seconds!
However, at $5 for 3 slices of bacon the dish is still a bit of a novelty item. Still, for what it is and for where you are (the Ex), it’s definitely worth a try if your up to the culinary adventure of chocolate covered bacon!
As I mentioned in passing before, the CNE’s Food Building is a paradise of greasy delights. This year on the menu for us were beavertails, perogies with sour cream, bubble tea, hummus pitas (one of the few healthy options in the food court), 99¢ spaghetti and garlic bread, hot dogs, bacon poutine, ice cream sandwich waffles, and milkshakes. (This feels like a description of the This is why you’re fat.)
And I haven’t even touched on the Ex phenomenon of food on a stick! Does it make it taste better? Certainly it must make it a bit handier to eat. Well, whatever the reason, food on a stick seems to have taken the CNE by storm. Of course there were the old favourites like shish kebabs and pogos, but some of the odder new additions to the “food on a stick” family included mini cinnamon buns, jumbo pickles, pizza on a stick (which made an appearance last year), fudge on a stick, and my personal favourite for visual effect, the potato tornado.
The potato tornado is a potato which has been cut in a long spiral then skewered on a wooden rod and deep fried. The result is a gimungus (much larger than I was expecting!) carb loaded, tornado of potato that seemed to delight Ex-goers of all ages. I didn’t get to eat anything on a stick this year (I was too distracted by the chocolate covered bacon), but certainly next year it will be on my list of eats!
And what’s a trip to the Ex without at least a glance at the International building and shopping outlets? I swear, most of us spent more money that we’re willing to admit at this moment, but when most items are averaging under $10, it’s hard to go wrong!
Except maybe with this…
So, folks, that was my exciting day at the CNE yesterday with wonderful company and gorgeous food. I think I’m going to go see if my newly bought clothes still fit or perhaps go for a jog… :P
Until next time and check out the Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition!
Note: A big thanks to Katie for letting me use her camera and post the pictures. You’re awesome!