It has finally arrived, the moment y’all have been waiting for – the highly-anticipated verdict that signifies the ultimate accomplishment in Fair food. The 18th Annual Big Tex® Choice Awards was a battle for the ages. After tasting all 10 foods and carefully evaluating each item, the all-star panel of judges tallied their scores and cast their final votes. Drum roll please…and the winners are: “Best Taste – Savory” goes to the Fried Charcuterie Board, Tami Nevins-Mayes & Josey Mayes, “Best Taste – Sweet” goes to the Peanut Butter Paradise, Chris Easter & Nicole Sternes, and Cha-Cha Chata, The Garza Family takes home “Most Creative.”
Best Taste – Savory
Fried Charcuterie Board, Tami Nevins-Mayes & Josey Mayes
Meats, cheeses, fruits – oh my! Chopped-up fresh mozzarella, salami, and crisp green apples are tossed in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian herbs. Then the ingredients are wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried to a golden crisp, topped with creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of hot honey. Everyone’s favorite appetizer rolled into one perfect bite!
Best Taste – Sweet
Peanut Butter Paradise, Chris Easter & Nicole Sternes
Man cannot live by bread alone – he must have peanut butter. Peanut Butter Paradise starts with deep-frying a honey bun. Then, caramel is injected into the honey bun and then topped with creamy peanut butter. The treat is then layered with some fan-favorite peanut butter treats, Reese’s Pieces, Crushed Butterfinger crumbles, topped off with peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel, and a cloud of powdered sugar. Just another day in paradise!
Cha-Cha Chata, The Garza Family
Sidestep all the others ‘cause it’s finally here – the milkshake that will make you Cha-Cha Chata all night long! Inspired by the cha-cha dance, the recipe starts with a triple-step of two kinds of milk and vanilla ice cream blended to perfection with the Garza family’s top-secret (but famously delicious) horchata recipe. The creamy drink is then poured into a cup rimmed with caramel and cinnamon goodness and topped with a Texas-sized dollop of whipped topping. To bring even more flavor to your tastebuds, the Cha-Cha Chata is dusted with crushed candy, a sprinkle of cinnamon galletas de gragega, and deep-fried arroz con leche bites. Take hold of the churro straw and take a sip, we promise it will cha-cha change your life!
Each year the judges of the Big Tex Choice Awards are faced with the challenging, yet highly coveted, job of selecting the winning Fair foods – this year was no exception, and the lineup proved to be remarkably competitive. Despite not taking home one of the three titles today, the other 2022 finalists include: Chicharron Explosion Nachos by Sherri and Glen Kusak, Deep Fried BLT by Tom Grace, Deep Fried Lasagna Roll by The Parish Family, Holy Biscuit by Isaac Rousso, Deep Fried Rocky Road with Blue Bell Ice Cream® by Lauren and Cody Hays, La Bluebonnet by Gracie and MIlton Whitley, and The Ultimate Brookie Monster by Brent and Juan Reaves.
This year’s panel of celebrity judges was comprised of Brad Batson – Co-Founder, Karbach Brewing Company; Hiawatha Williams – Founder, Williams Chicken; Lance Barrow – Emmy Award-Winning CBS Sports Producer; Maricsa Trejo – Pastry Chef and Founder, La Casita Bakeshop; Rob “Big Rob” Maiden – Captain, Mavs ManiAACs; Bruce Sifford – State Fair of Texas Board Chairman.
Each of the 10 finalists will be available all 24 days of the 2022 State Fair of Texas, plus a full slate of other new foods being offered at the Fair this year. Fair fanatics can pick up a Visitor’s Guide, which includes a food map that lays out the vendor locations for each of the finalists or check out the food finder map on BigTex.com/Map, making it easy to map out your route and hit all the hot spots along the way. Visitor’s Guides will be available at State Fair hospitality centers, as well as online at BigTex.com. Be sure to come out and try all our new foods at our largest fundraiser of the year – the 2022 State Fair of Texas, opening September 30 at Fair Park.
*Photos courtesy State Fair of Texas
(This Philanthropy Lifestyles eBuzz courtesy State Fair of Texas.)