Bethany Clough

Here are the top new foods at The Big Fresno Fair. We tried all 18 of them

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There are at least 18 new foods from vendors at The Big Fresno Fair this year.

I tried them all.

Just a bite of each (OK, maybe a few more if it was especially delicious) as part of being a judge at the fair’s inaugural “Food Fight” competition.

This competition focused on the fair food from concessions vendors. There was so much to indulge in: Oreo tacos, cinnamon rolls topped with bacon and Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on everything from chimichangas to corn dogs.

Four others, mostly from local media outlets, joined me in judging the foods based on taste, appearance and creativity. There were three categories (none of them healthy): sweets, savory items and beverages.

The winners were obvious. The ones we picked were also my favorites.

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This cotton candy burrito is made from cotton candy stuffed with ice cream and Fruity Pebbles cereal. It was the grand prize winner of The Big Fresno Fair Food Fight. The Big Fresno Fair

A cotton candy burrito from MKM Concessions was the clear winner of the sweets category. It’s pink and blue cotton candy rolled up with ice cream and Fruity Pebbles cereal inside.

Sounds like a weird combo, right? It is, but it works. You eat the giant concoction with both hands like a burrito. The cotton candy insulates the ice cream, keeping it cold while providing a nice contrast in textures, along with the crunchy cereal.

The burrito also was the highest rated item overall, winning the grand prize.

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Tony Boghosian of Chicken Charlie’s shows off his latest creation - a buffalo chicken chimichanga - made with Buffalo chicken, bacon, mac and cheese, deep fried in a large spinach tortilla and dipped in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. The monster chimichanga is served with Buffalo ranch dressing and will be on the menu at this year’s Big Fresno Fair opening on Wednesday. CRAIG KOHLRUSS ckohlruss@fresnobee.com

The Buffalo chicken chimichanga from fair regular Chicken Charlie’s won the savory category. This is another one where it doesn’t seem like all those ingredients would taste that good together, but they do.

Inside the spinach tortilla is Buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, and bacon. The whole thing is deep fried, and cut in half, with each half dipped in buffalo ranch and then crumbles of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos showed up in a lot of these foods and to my surprise, it works pretty well. Because you’re typically eating just one Cheeto or a few crumbles of them at a time in the fair food, it gives a little kick of flavor that still lets you taste the rest of the dish.

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Bethany Clough The Fresno Bee

The hibiscus agave drink from Fabe’s Churros & Gelato was the winner of the drink category. This deep pink drink is made from hibiscus flower (sometimes called jamaica around here), with bits of dried flower petals floating in the drink. The top of the cup is covered with bright pink candied sugar that you can also gnaw on.

Also delicious

There are a few other goodies that are also worth checking out.

The pufflecone sundae was an impressive sight and a trend that hasn’t quite hit Fresno yet. The waffle with little puffy bubbles in it serves as the cone that holds ice cream, whipped cream, pound cake and strawberries.

Also getting points for creativity? The corn caramel frappuccino. Yes, it’s a frappuccino made with blended corn and other ingredients.

Another Flamin’ Hot Cheetos food that impressed me was the baked potato with melted cheese, sour cream and the Cheetos. Simple idea, but the combo works.

And if you’re just looking for something normal and tasty? The chicken on a stick from Chan’s Concessions was straight up yummy.

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Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.
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