For rabid carnivores such as myself, there is nothing in Iowa quite like the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival. A whole day dedicated to bacon fellowship & the love associated with such an amazing food. I was able to score a ticket to take my first ever trip to #BaconFest & I was not disappointed in the least.
BaconFest has grown from a small event held by a few friends, to a giant festival taking over Hy-Vee Hall, with 4 floors full of bacon majesty. After getting in, I was immediately met with the sound & smell of cracking bacon, & set to work collecting as much as I possibly could. Several brands including Hormel, Berkshire Farms,Oscar Mayer, & many others had booths handing out liberal handfuls of bacon to attendees, & I'm sure by the end of the day I'd probably had a pound or two of bacon just by myself.
Onto the main course: the food. Besides the many pans of bacon, there were a ton of local restaurants with special bacon themed dishes to sample. I started with a PB & J explosion, which was a deep fat fried peanut butter & jelly sandwich, wrapped in a strip of bacon. I say this in the nicest way possible: it was disgustingly good. I'm a peanut butter fiend, so deep fat frying & wrapping it in bacon is just an added delight. It was a warm, greasy, creamy mess, & I loved every second of it.
My second dish was the Chocolate Chocolate Bacon Chili from Guru Barbecue. When they say chocolate, they really mean chocolate, as the dark chocolate was definitely present, & complimented the smoky flavor of the bacon beautifully. This is definitely something I'm going to try & recreate in my kitchen.
I followed up with a few bacon bombs, which were deliciously tender pieces of meat wrapped up in a nice fat piece of bacon, with several sauces to try out. I tried an Asian style barbaeue & a spicy barbecue, which were both distinct & delicious in their own right.
After came maybe my favorite, a bacon & grilled cheese sandwich on South Union bread, which is a local favorite of mine. The cheese was melty, the bacon was bacony, & the bread was divine. I would recommend it if you find yourself at BaconFest in 2017.
Now being BaconFest, I would be remiss to not mention my beverage choices of the day. I'm more of a craft beer kind of guy, so I stopped by the Iowa Beer Bus & grabbed a Boone Valley Brewing's Halligan Porter, a wonderfully roasted, smoky & dark beer, low on the bitterness & hops, but high on that dark porter flavor. I had one or three of those, in addition to a bloody mary garnished with a strip of bacon (what else), & a devilishly delicious cocktail made of fireball & apple pie (generally apple juice/cider & everclear, but I'm not 100% what their apple pie was). Overall, there were plenty of options for your alcoholic needs.
So in all, it was a fantastic day of food & drink. There was plenty of music & entertainment, but the food & drink alone is worth the price of admission. I will definitely be clearing my calendar for BaconFest 2017.
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