On a hot summer day, no morning or afternoon at the fair is complete without a cold scoop of gelato! Although I am not a huge fan of ice cream in general, the gelato at La Casa Gelato is undeniably good. What makes this place unique is that they are clearly very bold with their special flavors. Although there were dozens of buckets to sample from, the flavor of the day was definitely the durian gelato. For those not familiar with durian, it is a very heavy, fragrant fruit from South East Asia that is as polarizing as any food item in the world. To those that love or hate the fruit, the gelato is no different. I should also mention the durian taste will stay in your mouth for a long time so be forewarned! For those less adventurous, there are many of the standard favorites like green mint chocolate chip, lemon sorbet etc. Of the 5 or 6 flavors I sampled, all were smooth and quite memorable so I doubt you can go wrong with any choice you go with.
The last stop on our PNE food fair tour was Granny’s Foods which is always one of the most popular food stops at the PNE. Now, I had heard about this place previously for their uncanny ability to deep fry anything edible so I was really looking forward to sampling their deep fried Koolaid and deep fried cheesecake offerings. I tried the Koolaid item first and was not particularly blown away. To be honest, it tasted more like a fritter than anything and the actual Koolaid flavor is not that strong. The star dish is definitely the deep fried cheesecake which I went back for second and third helpings of. Although undoubtedly unhealthy, this dessert snack was sinfully delicious. Extremely thick, rich and crispy, it made me want to deep fry all future cheesecakes at home.
To wrap up with a few final thoughts, the PNE has been a part of Vancouver summers for as long as memory serves. A common misconception about fair food is that it is all unhealthy and simply a novelty you try once for the experience. In my opinion, the types of food offered at fairs like the PNE serve to supplement the entire experience and should not be reviewed in isolation. In your daily life, you may find it strange to randomly order deep fried cheesecake or durian gelato but at the PNE, it just feels right. I thoroughly enjoyed this media tasting event with that in mind and with only a few days left, I urge you to be head out and try a few of the delicious items reviewed above. Happy eating!