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The Fair Must Go On! Here are my Top Fair Food and Wine Pairings...

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Hello, Corkers!

Ok, if you're from Minnesota, you are familiar with the State Fair, aka the "Great MN Get Together." This food-focused festivity draws in over 2 million guests annually during its 12 day run and statistically, is the most popular tourist attraction in the region.

Just a little bit of MN State Fair history for you all.....(take notes for this week's Corker Quiz!), it started in 1854 to highlight agriculture and and encourage farming, but didn't actually become the MN State Fair until 1859, one year after MN was granted statehood. Yes, you read correctly. The MN State Fair has been going strong since BEFORE Minnesota was actually a state!

Since its inception, the fair been held every year with only 6 exceptions:

1861 and 1862: Civil War and US-Dakota War

1893: scheduling conflicts with the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago

1945: federal government travel restrictions during World War II

1946: polio epidemic

2020: COVID-19 pandemic

So, sadly, the fair has been cancelled this year, which has spurred many avid fair-goers to improvise with new and creative ways to enjoy the sentiment of this special summer tradition. One such solution is hosting State Fair themed gatherings, which I attended last night. We used these adorable burger baskets with deli-sheets to give the party an extra festive flare. Plus, they make clean up a breeze!

Click the image to purchase from Amazon. For $19.95 you get 12 reusable baskets and 120 deli squares. Plus, they are Prime eligible!

If you're planning to munch on some delightful food-building inspired snacks, read on, Corkers! I'm about to share the top fair foods with wine pairings designed to make your taste buds tingle.

  1. Pronto Pup: when consuming hearty meats, stick with an earthy red wine like a Californian Cabernet or a GSM blend from Southern Rhone. The smoky, leathery notes in the wine will pair nicely with this deep-fried delight.

  2. Deep Fried Pickles: Pickles are high on the acidity totem pole so you'll want a wine that isn't easily overpowered. Try a Picpoul, which literally means "stings the lip." This acidic, yet light option will bring your pickles to a whole new level!

3. Mini Donuts: I'd say go with a Sherry here. The velvety texture of the wine will make your cake taste that much more decadent. Plus, the sweetness in the wine won't be overpowered by that sugar covered-ball of goodness.

4. Sweet Martha's (Chocolate Chip Cookies): A fortified Ruby Port will be a great option here. Port is the most famous fortified wine. It's sweet enough to hold up to a cookie. Its chocolate notes will bring out a nice congruency while the bold fruit notes will result in a chocolate-covered-cherry-like explosion!

5. Roasted Corn - While corn can sometimes be considered a "neutral" food that can pair nicely with many varietals, I would recommend an oaked chardonnay. The buttery notes in the wine will hold up to that buttery cob, plus, who doesn't want to sip something chilled after burning your tongue on a freshly roasted corn?

6. Original Cheese Curds - fried foods pair nicely with sparkling wines because the bubbles on your tongue help to lift some of the fatty notes and textures. Try a Cava or Cremant for a tantalizing treat.

7. Fresh French Fries: See above ^. Again, go with a brut sparking wine like Champagne or Cava. The dryness in the wine will offset the salt and the bubbles do something special when paired with fatty foods.

8. Duck Drummies: Try a light to medium bodied, aromatic red wine with fried duck; a Grenach or Tempranillo will be perfect.

9. Pork Chop on a Stick - Pork chop makes a wonderful contrasting pairing with a German Riesling. The wine will serve as a lovely palette cleanser.

10. Cotton Candy: Ok, I know what you're thinking...who, over the age of 10, eats cotton candy?! Well, maybe you're just not doing it right. Seriously! Try pairing this sticky, sugar spun snack with Lambrusco. The wine will pick up the fruity flavors, plus, the carbonation will give your mouth a nice cleansing effect.

There you have it! Ten popular fair foods paired with wines. You will ever experience the fair the same way again! Don't forget to follow me on IG @thecandidcork for budget friendly wine recommendations and more.

Cheers, Corkers and have a safe and wonderful Holiday Weekend!

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