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.
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