Dish of the Week: MN State Fair

Our dish of the week is the State Fair as a whole because how do you pick just one item? Personally, I have two favorites, neither of which are revolutionary, but both are the best versions of themselves I get all year: the sweet corn and the chocolate ice cream at the dairy building. I’ll eat corn and chocolate in practically anything. Quick! Somebody combine them and feed it to me — I’ll write you a glowing review, even if the “experts” won’t.

Corn: Any corn roasted and doused in butter has the makings of greatness, but this corn comes at peak season, so the kernels are impossibly light, and juicy, and sweet. It is often Stop #1 in my day (and sometimes Stop #last, too).

Ice Cream: Ice cream, especially the artisanal stuff, is booming in the TC, but the Dairy Building offering embodies the intoxicating vibe of the State Fair’s constant fight between new and old: bring any “new food” challenger you want, this old heavyweight will KO them all. I love it so much that I completely forgot to take a picture before devouring it. If you told me that farmhands were literally milking chocolate ice cream straight from the cow’s udders, I would 100% believe you. It is impossibly smooth, impossibly creamy, impossibly chocolatey. Every July I forget how good it is, and every September I wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares about butter sculptures coming to life and exacting their revenge on their milky overlords, depriving me of my reason for being. (This happens to everyone, right?) Also, the powers-that-be have created a marvel of human ingenuity. They churn through people so fast that a line that looks and hour long takes barely ten minutes. As much as I love the ice cream, I love efficiency so much that this might be my favorite part.

Those two alone are worth the price of admission, but since you’re asking, the grilled peach was the best of the bunch. The peach itself was so juicy. Grilling it brought out the the natural sugars and a burst of flavor (#maillardreaction). And if that weren’t enough, the Produce Exchange topped it with some herbed goat cheese and honey. It was so sweet and rich, that it’s a wonder it took until 2018 to introduce this to the fair. My guess is the lack of a stick and the healthy-adjacent fact of there being an actual fresh fruit involved. But if you’re not a weirdo and like the taste of summer, the $9 price tag on this is totally worth it.

If you go: The State Fair is open through Labor Day. You know what to do.