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Sideshow Snacks: cronut burgers, Nutella fries and bacon-covered everything at the CNE

Cronut Burger

The much-hyped Cronut Burger (Image: Epic Burgers and Waffles)

The CNE food tent has devolved into a culinary freak show: a place where ordinary snacks—like ice cream cones and hamburgers—are jacked into unrecognizable fat-bombs, most of which are crammed with bacon and crisped in a deep-fryer. This year’s lineup is no exception with items ranging from playful (Nutella-dipped popcorn) to alarming (pork-infused milkshakes). Here, a few observations to get you prepped for next week’s grand opening.

Bacon is still the ultimate trash-food…

Salty rashers continue to dominate. Options include a bacon and peanut butter milkshake, bacon-wrapped deep-fried Mars bars (a holdover from last year) and the Canuck Burger, an all-bacon patty topped with a coronary-inducing mix of bacon strips, bacon bits, bacon mayo, peameal bacon and cheddar cheese.

…but Nutella’s making a comeback

The chocolate-hazelnut spread and infamous breakfast imposter will be slathered on sweet potato fries, stuffed in a grilled cheese, encased in a deep-fried banana split and packed in a cone with vanilla soft serve, chili flakes and, yes, bacon.

The cronut thing is still a thing

Epic Burgers, the stall behind the 2011 Krispy Kreme monstrosity, and Le Dolci bakery, Toronto’s one and only cronut manufacturer (sorry, Loblaws), have collaborated on the Cronut Burger, a hot beef patty sandwiched between two halves of a flaky croissant-slash-doughnut.

But all is not lost (if you can’t stomach the grease)

A few relatively healthy outfits will be lurking among the fast-food stalls, including a Greek yogurt stand and a vegan stall selling faux-beef nachos and gluten-free portobello wraps. Added bonus: at this fat-fest, they’ll likely have the shortest lines.

Canadian National Exhibition, Exhibition Place, August 16–September 2, theex.com