Every year, one of my favorite things I look forward to at IAAPA (the yearly theme park industry trade show) is checking out what food options are headed to theme parks. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.
How this has not already become a huge trend is beyond me. incrEDIBLE Dough is a company selling various flavors of cookie dough.
They had several samples at the convention, from chocolate chip to peanut butter cup and even butter toffee. The dough is already broken down into bite-size squares.
IncrEDIBLE Dough comes in small plastic containers making them very portable. Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, I tried all the samples. Don’t judge.
Every year, I look forward to what the folks at Dippin’ Dots come up with. While there have been many knock-offs of their products over the years, they consistently remain the best in their category.
This year, Dippin’ Dots featured “Expo Ice,” a flavor created specifically for the IAAPA 2015 convention. Basically, it was a blend of mint and vanilla ice cream with Oreo bits mixed in. Dippin’ Dots is trying to push parks to create their own unique blends to sell in their locations that they can call their own. Pretty cool idea.
Then there was Sweet Joy, better known as corn stick ice cream from Korea. What you’re looking at above is 100% yellow corn that has been ground up, heated slightly and shot through an extruder making all these crazy shapes. The center of the “cone” is hollow and is injected with soft serve ice cream. The end result is a thick and chewy stick that has no sugar in it. Definitely different. I didn’t love it or hate it; just rather bland.
Then there is the holy grail of fried delicacies. For those of you who are old enough to remember, Epcot had a BeaverTail stand just outside of the Canada pavilion for years. Business deals come and go at Disney, but the BeaverTail brand lives on in many theme parks up north and in Canada.
For those unfamiliar, a BeaverTail is a flat piece of sweet bread that is deep fried, sort of like an elephant ear sold at fairs. It is then topped with cinnamon sugar (ask for a lemon wedge when ordering this, VERY good), a hazelnut spread, a maple glaze, bananas and Oreos. If you ever get a chance to try one, they are amazing.
Then I met this guy, Ryan Smolkin, CEO of Smoke’s Poutinerie, also based in Canada. This guy is a force of nature. His company started in 2008 and he already has over 100 stores and growing fast. Poutine is a classic Canadian dish which is french fries topped with cheese curds and a light brown gravy-like sauce. Smolkin has turned this dish into a meal. He adds toppings like pulled pork, chicken, mushrooms and more to make loaded fries into a really heavy snack.
Smoke’s has turned poutine into a lifestyle. Each location has blaring ’80s rock music blasting from all the speakers and they even had pouting eating championships now every year in Toronto. The 2014 winner ate 25 pounds of loaded fries. Makes hot dog eating contests seem kinda mamby pamby, doesn’t it? Hopefully Smoke’s Poutinerie ends up in a few theme parks around the United States, as I would love to try some of their creations.
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