As most of the country swings into summertime, one of the events on plenty of social calendars are fairs: state, county and street versions.
The twin highlights of such events vary. Some feature rides and games staffed by employees that one can safely assume do not have Ivy League pedigrees on their resumes.
Much less any resume at all.
Others feature animal exhibits and livestock beauty contests that are increasingly a source of wonderment for urban residents long removed from any agricultural connection.
But the one constant such outdoor festivals always share is the opportunity to enjoy a wealth of “food” not available in any household kitchen, including the presentation as well as the processing. Because nothing says “gourmet” like serving something on a stick.
For example: How about a couple frozen, battered, deep-fried balls of butter? Or maybe a stickful of chicken-fried bacon strips? Or for the youngsters in attendance, how about some bubble gum-flavored, batter/breaded, deep-fried marshmallows?
On a stick, of course.
Best of both foods
But those “exotic” treats aside, handheld foods are de rigueur for outdoor events of any kind. It’s bad enough trying to balance a tiny plate heaped with shrimp, cheese cubes and stuffed mushrooms at some corporate function while holding a glass of wine while trying to shake hands with people you’ve never met. Who needs that hassle when you’re outside trying not to mingle with hordes of people you don’t know?
Now, a solution to that problem has arrived from Down Under — well, it hasn’t actually arrived yet, but given the genius behind its creation, I’m predicting it’s only a matter of days before its American debut.
The only missing element is the name, because this brilliant creation, for some unknown reason, is currently called The Cheese Cone.
Talk about underselling a genuine innovation, as I’m sure you’ll agree when you understand the brilliance behind this new product.
The Cheese Cone is set to debut at Australia’s upcoming Cheese Lovers Festival, which starts next weekend in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.
That scenic area is comparable to California’s Napa Valley, only located an hour or two north of Sydney, rather than San Francisco. Hunter Valley boasts dozens of wineries, as well as lavish spas and pricey B&Bs, all accessible on elaborate tours for oenophiles that amount to a week-long binge-drinking fest.
As one travel brochure for the area promises, wine enthusiasts can join a tour departing Sydney to “savor wines and local produce at quality restaurants, and learn more about wine-making at the Hunter Valley Wine School. Pamper yourself at the Château Élan day spa, or enjoy a round of golf at a Greg Norman-designed championship-level course.”
Change the names and locations, and that blurb could have been written about half a dozen upscale wine-country tours in Northern California.
Ah, but none of those excursions have what the Hunter Valley Cheese Lovers’ Festival has, as described on the Facebook page for one of the sponsors, Kurrajong Kitchen Lavosh:
“We’re very excited to introduce the #cheeseandlavoshcone [based on] the Kurrajong Kitchen Original LavoshCone. They look delicious; be sure to grab one at the festival exclusively filled with Hunter Belle Cheese. We will have these cones ready for you to buy and take home to make your own LavoshCone.”
It’s simple yet groundbreaking: Take the classic meat-and-cheese platter, a proven winner on any buffet table, and turn it into a handheld, take-it-with-you, eat-on-the-go snack item.
And it doesn’t even require a deep fryer, just the staple ingredients, a tortilla wrap and loads of high-calorie dressing.
Yes, it’s cone-shaped, but that’s the least of its attributes. It’s portable and it’s delicious. And unlike fair-food-on-a-stick, it’s high protein and healthy.
As a Huffington Post profile on this culinary breakthrough noted, “The Cheese Cone combines the portability of an ice cream cone with charcuterie instead of dessert.”
Like I was saying, all that’s needed is a more creative name.
And a better marketing pitch.
Other than that, it’s ready to enjoy, and likely headed to an event near you.
Editor’s Note: The opinions in this commentary are those of Dan Murphy, a veteran journalist and commentator.