Thinking about entering some of the cooking contests that AllSpice is sponsoring at this summer’s Iowa State Fair? Cool! We’ve got a few hints and helps for you:
First, be sure to watch for the deadline to enter — it’s coming up sooner than you think. You won’t have to actually make your prospective award winning batch of snack mix, or ice cream, or chili (or what-have-you) right away. You have until the State Fair is underway (August 10 – 20) to whip up your contest entries, but you will have to submit your entry forms and fees by July 1. (A nice change in recent years is that you can submit your entry forms and fees online, rather than remembering to mail, or driving down to submit the forms in person.)
Tricks for outstanding contest entries. We asked AllSpice owner Rory Brown about what makes a winning food contest entry. Here are some of his suggestions:
“What I am looking for are recipes that have creative ways of using spices, oils and vinegars. You know, those ingredients that enhance an already great flavor, or subtly give the dish a hint of the unusual.
“Things like using savory spices in cookies, such as jalapeños or rosemary. [As a prize-winning example, take a look at the Spiced Rosemary Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, which won a blue ribbon at the 2014 State Fair, and even became a cookie kit we sell at the store.]
“Creating that unique snack mix that is addictive, because it tastes great, but also leaves you guessing what ingredients are making this flavor combination – which drives you to take another bite, and another!
“And beyond the search for the addictive mix, unexpected flavor, or innovative use of a traditional ingredient — when we judge these contests, we are looking for people who are taking a risk, being creative in their cooking, and clearly having fun with it.”
For additional information: Details about contest categories, State Fair rules, and links to entry forms (and how to submit them) are on the Iowa State Fair website. The all-important State Fair premium booklet (where you’ll find the AllSpice contest information listed above) in .PDF format at this link.
A full list of the categories (and criteria) of this years AllSpice cooking contests at the State Fair are in this article on our blog.
Want to see what recipes won blue ribbons in the AllSpice cooking contests at the Iowa State Fair in previous years? You can scroll through them at this link.