Sink your teeth into 50 new foods at this year’s Calgary Stampede


It’s already that time, Calgary.

There are only 50 days until everyone slips on their boots and grabs the cowboy hats from their closets for the 2019 Calgary Stampede. To celebrate the countdown, 50 of the spicy, sweet and daring treats were revealed and there are some exciting items on the list.

On top of a well-rounded list of pickle-flavoured snacks, such as pickle ice cream, ice pops and cotton candy, James Radke, the midway operations manager, said they also diversified their mini-doughnut selection to include cinnamon bun and white chocolate cheesecake mini-doughnuts.

“In 2012, we only had three food trucks here and this year on our park we will actually have 22 food trucks and altogether we’ll have 175 food booths,” said Radke. “The food trucks are changing the revolution of food, introducing more unique foods and challenging foods…Our perspective of food is changing.”

With several of the foods waiting to be sampled, this reporter was ready to try it all.

This year, Food Network Canada is launching ‘Take a Bite Outta Stampede,’ offering guests a unique way to navigate the midway smorg. So I started my own food tour at The Happy Fish Truck, where I was handed one of the more daring items of the day: frog legs on a stick. But not just any frog legs, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos “Ribbits.”

I’ve never eaten frog legs, so I was nervous to take my first bite of the Cheeto-dusted limbs but it wasn’t as awful as I thought. It was surprisingly really tasty!

Calgary Herald reporter Stephanie Babych samples Flamin’ Frog Legs one of 50 new foods that will be on offer at the Calgary Stampede this year. The Calgary Stampede previewed some of the food during the noon hour on Wednesday May 15, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia

But as good as the frog legs might have been, I was already excited for the next thing on my list. I have four words for you: creamy truffle lobster dumplings.

What else do I have to say? The dish, a creation by The Dumpling Hero truck, comes with several dumplings that are stuffed with lobster, cream cheese and more, then topped with a spicy truffle mayo, and it’s served with a lobster tail. It was delicious. I almost started crying when half a dumpling fell off my fork and landed with a splat on the ground.

The creamy truffle lobster dumpling is one of 50 new foods that will be on offer at the Calgary Stampede this year. The Calgary Stampede previewed some of the food during the noon hour on Wednesday May 15, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia

I had tried a couple savoury items and so far both foods were exceeding my expectations, but now it was time to taste some of the sweet treats.

First up on the sweet list was Cookie Dough YYC’s chocolate chip doughnut, which is essentially a doughnut sandwich, filled with edible chocolate chip cookie dough. My sweet tooth thanked me as I finished off the entire doughnut.

Calgary Herald reporter Stephanie Babych samples cookie dough in a donut one of 50 new foods that will be on offer at the Calgary Stampede this year. The Calgary Stampede previewed some of the food during the noon hour on Wednesday May 15, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia

If you don’t feel like taking down a whole doughnut like I did, they have a more portable and shareable option: cookie dough dip with mini-cookies. I couldn’t stop eating them.

I washed it all down with Family Squeezed rose lemonade, which was a beautiful drink and had a pleasant floral taste.

Raspberry Rose Lemonade with edible flowers is of 50 new foods that will be on offer at the Calgary Stampede this year. The Calgary Stampede previewed some of the food during the noon hour on Wednesday May 15, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia

While tasting other foods I heard people discussing the cherry bomb pizza and so by the time I got to the Pizza 73 truck I was curious to know what it was all about. They served me a slice of pizza with honey garlic Sriracha base, pepperoni, bacon, maraschino cherries and sprinkled Shock Rocks popping candy on top.

The pizza was making popping noises and I was suddenly afraid of taking a bite. But I did and it was definitely an experience. There’s heat from the Sriracha while you get hit with the sweetness of the cherries and the entire time your mouth is literally popping.

My words following a bite of the cherry bomb pizza wrap up the food tour well: “It’s an experience as well as flavour.”

Calgary Herald reporter Stephanie Babych samples the cherry bomb pizza with pop rocks one of 50 new foods that will be on offer at the Calgary Stampede this year. The Calgary Stampede previewed some of the food during the noon hour on Wednesday May 15, 2019. Gavin Young/Postmedia

The vendors don’t only serve creative concoctions for the “wow” factor at the Stampede but also compete for the best new food and daily food awards highlighting the “best of” across a number of categories.

Here’s a sampling of some of the offerings (you can see the complete menu here).

sbabych@postmedia.com

On Twitter: @BabychStephanie

Taco time:

Top left, clockwise: Italian Taco, Tipsy Tacos, Cotton Candy Taco and Smoked Turkey Taco. Calgary Stampede

Some like it hot:

Top left, clockwise: Bucking Hot Perogies, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Corndog, Cherry Bomb Pizza and Flamin’ Frog Legs. Calgary Stampede

Screaming for ice cream:

Top left, clockwise: Monster Bug Bowl, Butter Beer Ice Cream, Mochi Ice Cream and Churro Cone. Calgary Stampede

All about the dogs:

Top left, clockwise: Tokyo Street Dog, Veggie Corndog, King Spammy and The Snickle Dog. Calgary Stampede

Doughnuts every which way:

Top left, clockwise: Cereal Sugar Mini Doughnuts, Cotton Candy Mini Doughnuts, Chocolate Chip Doughnut and White Chocolate Cheesecake Mini Doughnuts. Calgary Stampede

For the risk-taker:

Top left, clockwise: Deep-fried Chicken Skins, Octo Lolly, BBQ Chicken Hearts on a Stick and Creamy Truffle Lobster Dumplings. Calgary Stampede

We want to know what you think of this year’s Stampede foods. Take our quiz here:


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