Last year saw the arrival of $12 ketchup and mustard ice cream, sold-out croffles, and colour-changing soda on festival grounds, and as the CNE celebrates its 144th year, expectations are high for what will be offered this summer.
Here’s a look at all the outrageous food and drinks you must check out at the CNE in 2023:
Malibu Mac & Cheese
Looking like something straight out of Barbie, this pink champagne macaroni & cheese ($13.99) from Eat My Bowls (Food Building) uses aged white cheddar, gruyère, and parmesan for a cheesy bite.
For extra flair, it’s served in a bread bowl and can be topped with caviar for an extra $9.99. This is a super decadent and rich dish.
Cookie-Stuffed Chimney Cones
Eva’s Original Chimneys (Food Building) is a familiar player on the CNE grounds, and this year they’re serving sweet strawberry coulis in a strawberry wafer-dusted cookie cone ($14).
Pink Dragon Fruit Iced Tea
Wash down all the sweet and savoury bites with this refreshing pink drink from Fuwa Fuwa (Food Building). It comes in a fun resealable pouch with a handle so you can walk around with it freely.
Accidentally keto, this summer burger ($17) from Sam’s Grill (Midway) is definitely a sweet sticky mess, so make sure to grab extra wipes. You’ll find a patty sandwiched between thick triangular slices of watermelon.
Balsamic glaze, feta, mint, and spinach really drive the salad summer vibes home.
The other big trend in this year’s offerings is 100 per cent pickle. Mr. Vegetable (Midway) has somehow perfected the perfect sour fry.
Not super crunchy, pair them with a dill-ranch sauce for an extra level of pickley goodness.
Pickle Cotton Candy
Gone are the days of pink and blue clouds of cotton candy — go pickle or go home! Candy Time (Midway) is serving tall fluffy swirls of green candy ($10). It doesn’t have a super strong taste, so it should be a good item to share with a group.
Peanut Butter Pickle Dog
Expect the unexpected with this sour nutty corndog ($13) from Coco’s Corndogs (Midway). Jam and peanut on the outside make this dog feel more like a sandwich, tnd there’s even more peanut butter on the inside cradling the sausage.
Cheeseburger & Street Corn Ice Cream
Brought to you by last year’s polarizing Ketchup and Mustard Ice Cream makers, So Cute Ice Cream (Midway) is offering new Cheeseburger and Street Corn flavours ($12) this year. The Cheeseburger comes in a cheese-coated waffle cone, with a pretzel and pickle garnish for a salty, crisp touch.
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The Street Corn cone is topped with lime, cotija cheese, and chile seasoning.
Korean Fried Frog Legs
In the deep-fried section, you’ll find Korean frog legs ($17) from Farm to Fryer (Food Building) served splayed and covered in a sweet chilli sauce, sesame seeds, and seaweed. Definitely try these if you’re not afraid of a little adventurous snack.
Deep Fried Pizza Slice
Pizza Pizza (Galleria, Enercare Centre) has entered the chat and they’ve decided to deep-fry the classic cheese slice. Try it with a variety of toppings like hot honey, creamy garlic, and crushed Doritos ($13.99).
Four Pound Taco
Sometimes, you can eat your weight in happiness and this four-pound taco ($30) may be just that. It’s got cheese, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado tomatillo salsa, pineapple, chorizo and French fries, all in a hard shell. Find it at Machette (Food Building).
Baked in a real wood-fire oven, this pie ($20) from Wood Fired Pizza (Midway) is topped with all the poutine fixings: gravy sauce, fries, cheese curds, and green onions.
Holy Moly Cannoli
This cannoli ($14.99) by San Francescos (Food Building) is a thick beast that seems more like a crispy taco. A cinnamon shell encases a veal cutlet topped with provolone cheese, with a layer of pomodoro and garlic aioli. For extra sweet ‘n’ salty chaos, there’s hickory sticks and sprinkles.
That being said, if you like to play it safe, there are always nostalgic classics like Tiny Tom donuts, deep fried candy bars, and corn dogs available all festival long.