(Photo credit Calgary Stampede)
Back in 1886 the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair. In 1912 the first rodeo and festival became a part of the show and the rest, well, is history. Today the Calgary Stampede is known as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth and brings people from all over the world to our fair city. They come for the rodeo, they come for the midway, they come for the big name entertainment and of course they come for the food.
For years now, Stampede food vendors have been pushing the envelope, trying to be the one who comes up with the next great festival food (cronut anyone?) The choices get more interesting with every passing year, and this year, there are forty new foods that were all specially created for the event. Stampede 2017 may be the only time you can try these foods, as next year the creative minds will have upped the ante yet again. Here then is just a sampling of what to expect at the Calgary Stampede 2017—food wise:
We seem to be obsessed with all things deep fried. We have deep fried pickles and deep fried chocolate bars, and now, thanks to some great creative mind we have deep fried Jello. How can this be? Well, they stuff Jello into tasty donut like balls and then deep fry the whole thing and sprinkle them with powdered sugar. Also on the deep fried menu this year is deep fried mashed potatoes which really don’t need much of an explanation and the return of deep fried cheese. You can choose from mozzarella sticks, hot jalapeno cheese bites, cheddar bites or Canadian cheese curds all battered and fried to perfection.
(Photo credit Calgary Stampede)
Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! To celebrate at the Stampede, why not try the new Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls? This creation is a twist on last year’s Big Pickle Dog and features a hot dog shrouded in bacon and pickles, then battered, deep fried and served on a stick. Fun, Canadian and good for on the go. Who could ask for anything more?
Staying on the Canadian birthday theme there is Funnel Cake Poutine. Poutine being a favourite of many Canadians, they have now put it on top of a Pennsylvania Dutch funnel cake. Yes, cheese curds and gravy. There is also Clam Chowder Poutine, but that starts with crispy French fries and is topped by creamy cheese, and crab meat aplenty. Tropical Bobster is a lobster poutine with lobster, mango salsa and fresh coriander all sitting on top of tasty fries.
Another big trend this year is anything unicorn. At the Stampede you can try Unicorn White Hot Chocolate which is a hot, creamy drink surrounded by rainbow sour poppers, sprinkles, sugar starts, rainbow ribbon tail candy and of course, a cotton candy cloud. Sugar rush, anyone?
If you like your cotton candy, but want something cold with it, you’re in luck as the Cookie Dough-ne is new this year. This is raw cookie dough in a waffle cone with cotton candy around the cone and of course, topped with sprinkles.
It seems Stampede foodies love to try to put traditional foods in untraditional surroundings. Take the Pieshake as an example. This dessert is pie or cake in a traditional, hand blended milkshake. It’s all topped with whipped cream and more pie for a garnish. It’s like having pie and ice cream together (traditional) but in the same glass (a bit more untraditional). The Texas Waffle is working with the same traditional/untraditional idea, only served on a plate. The waffle is Texas shaped and has cheese and chopped jalapenos baked into it and it’s served with Southern fried chicken and maple syrup on top.
We all love our hot dogs and this year you can try the Double Bacon Mac n’ Cheese Dog which is a bacon wrapped foot long dog with creamy macaroni and cheese on the top, garnished of course with onions and bacon bits. A different take on macaroni and cheese is the Pineapple Express which has diced ham, pineapple and a teriyaki reduction over the traditional noodles.
Desserts and sweet treats are always a Stampede hit. This year you can try a cereal monster sandwich which consists of large cereal marshmallow squares with ice cream in the middle. If you’re a cotton candy fan there is the maple walnut cotton candy which is made with real maple syrup and infused with walnuts and what can be more Stampede-y than mini donuts? This year you can get the Maple Bacon Artisan Donuts which consists of the donuts topped with cinnamon and icing, maple glaze and of course, bacon.
Rolled ice cream is the latest trend and why not? It’s creamy and delicious, is easy to handle and it eliminates the drip factor that cones can have. This year, try this new treat topped with all manner of things like whipped cream, fruit, graham crackers, brownie bits, sprinkles, etc. Another way to enjoy this treat is to have it in a Waffle Taco. The waffle cone is shaped like a taco shell, the rolled ice cream is the ‘meat’ and the garnishes like fruit, brownie bits, chocolate chips and the like are the toppings. Yummy.
If you’re looking for a lunch or dinner at the Stampede this year two new burgers are on the menu. The Hickory Smoked Cordon Bleu Stuffed burger features Angus beef patties stuffed with Swiss cheese and honey cured ham all served on a brioche bun. The Angry Chicken Sandwich is a breaded chicken breast with chipotle aioli and sweet and sour sauce on top, layered in coleslaw and also served on a brioche bun.
For the first time ever, the Stampede will offer a variety of craft beers this year. What used to be a Labatt products only affair has opened its doors to include offerings of IPA, pilsners, ales and seasonal varieties of beer from 23 of Alberta’s small craft breweries. The craft beers will only be available at the Big Four Station which is a bar and restaurant located on the lower level of the International Pavilion. While guest are enjoying their craft beer, they can also check out the displays about the agricultural aspects that bring that beer to fruition, from the barley farming through the malting and brewing process. Also new this year is the Brewmaster’s Dinner Series which will pair specialty craft beers with specialty menus throughout the ten days of Stampede.
Whatever your tastes you are sure to find it this year’s edition of the Calgary Stampede. From Mr. Crab to chicken feet on a stick and the chili infused lemonade and rain drop cake can the food this year be beat? You can be sure in 2018 they will certainly give it a try!