The Big E's newest batter-dipped creation requires no campfire, but it wouldn't hurt to have a wet wipe handy.
Deep-fried s'mores on a stick, as created by vendor Anthony Martone of the Coffee Break, provides the ideal sweet-melty-gooey combination of chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow within a protective fried shell.
Just how do you fry up something as characteristically messy as a s'more? Freeze it well, Martone said. "If you freeze [anything] for the right amount of time and [at] the right temperature, you can deep fry it."
New England's largest fair returns Sept. 12 through Sept. 28 at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Mass., introducing a new round of caloric treats to enthusiastic crowds. At a tasting event in late August, Big E executives previewed some of the foods set to debut next month.
At the Coffee Break, Martone tries to add something different every year, he said. He's fried up peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and strawberry shortcake in the past, and this September will also feature deep-fried red velvet Oreos with a drizzle of cream cheese frosting.
The vendor nearly introduced deep-fried pumpkin pie to the fair, but ultimately decided it wasn't viable in a huge volume. "It's a lot of work," Martone said. "When you get slammed at the fair, you can never get prepped enough." Martone's Westfield, Mass. pizzeria, Clemenza's, will also serve eggplant and zucchini fries with assorted dipping sauces and pizzettes at the fair's former Italian Pavilion.
If you've ever wished you could eat fried dough for breakfast, the classic fair food gets an upgrade this year at vendors Pop n'Fresh, with maple syrup and crumbled bacon. They're also deep-frying balls of banana, complemented nicely with flavor partners peanut butter and chocolate.
Another sweet indulgence takes a cue from the New England Craft Beer Pub, which returns with a dozen regional draft brews and food to match for a second year along the Avenue of States. The "Beeramisu" is a rich chocolate fudge cake soaked and brushed with a dark stout, served with raspberry and chocolate sauce and topped with a cannoli filling-inspired frosting. It was created by Log Cabin/Delaney House executive chef Mick Corduff, who first served it as part of a beer tasting at the Holyoke hotel/restaurant earlier this year.
Shipyard Brewing Company's Pumpkinhead ale was the hottest brew at the Craft Beer Pub in 2013, said Corduff, served in a glass with a caramel-sugar rim. "We'd run out of it on a daily basis...we were blowing through bags of sugar," he said.
Fairgoers looking to hold onto summer a bit longer will enjoy the addition of Matunuck Oyster Bar's new seafood stand, stationed along Commonwealth Avenue. The Rhode Island-based shellfish experts will serve fresh-shucked raw oysters, along with fried clams, shrimp cocktail, calamari, chowder and lobster rolls.
And of course, tried-and-true favorites like the Big E's signature cream puffs, deep-fried butter and the infamous Craz-E Burger (a bacon cheeseburger on a grilled glazed doughnut) are back for another year. Arrive hungry; you've got a lot of eating to do.
For more information about The Big E, visit thebige.com/fair.