#40 Horseradish Festival - Collinsville, IL - June 3, 2011
It's Horseradish Festival time once again, and I put together another recipe this year. I was the back-to-back champion and the stage was set to re-write the annals of horseradish recipe contest history. I took a big risk and went for all the money with a horseradish dessert. Welcome the Pineapple Horseradish Tiramisu with candied horseradish topping (which actually tasted better than it sounds). Please see the left column on this page for this recipe and other festive original recipes.
It was as if there was a bounty on my head, and the competitors kept filing in. There were ten contestants this year, doubling last year's effort. Pictured here are a horseradish pizza (corned beef, swiss, horseradish cream and grilled) and a horseradish cheesecake (graham cracker crust, jell-o cheesecake mix and horseradish). I'll admit I was worried seeing another dessert and the pizza looked really good.
Three more entries. From the rear, two types of chip dip, a corn chowder with steak and a steak sandwich with horseradish cream (the eventual winner). Personally I think the soup was robbed, as it was delicious although the steak was a little tough. Plating is always important in recipe contests, and the winner came through with a bell pepper sauce bowl and carrot peeled spoon.
The decision came out, and I won second. The dreams of a 3peat dead, I tried my best to look happy. In the words of Ricky Bobby, "If you're not first, you're last". In all seriousness, the competitors were very good this year, and I was lucky to have gotten second place to the person who won second last year. Notice the shockingly red ribbon in contrast to the royal blue from past years. If you can't tell, I hate losing.
Of course there was a whole festival going on this whole time, and what would this site be if it did not include the mandatory shot of the official 2 story tall horseradish bottle. This is my third time at this festival, so I will spare you the horseradish root toss, or the horseradish golf, or root sacking or even the root derby. If you would like to relive the past, feel free to visit last year's event and here for 2009.
This was my first festival back since last fall, and there is no better way to kick off festival season than a funnel cake. The staple that started all of this. It was just as remembered, and always takes you back to your childhood and puts a smile on your face. Not bad for a few bucks.
I ventured out looking for horseradish themed foods. This festival tries to include its theme ingredient by requiring every stand to offer some type of horseradish variant. The plus side is that every booth had something horseradish, the bad side though is they pass off things like this fried "horseradish taco". I'm not sure where the horseradish was, if it existed, but I would assume they put some horseradish on a taco. With that said, we here at Festive Festival Festivities stand by anything fried.
Festive Trinket of the Week: I had heard that the festival sells a cookbook containing recipes from past recipe contest winners, but they were sold out. I like to think that somewhere someone is wondering how the heck I scaled some of my recipes the last 2 years (For the record I measure nothing). With that said, a hat is always in order for a progressively balding man, and I was happy with this purchase.
Video of the Week: FFF has always been about bringing you the loyal reader a click closer to all of the great bands that play on the festival circuit. This is Exit 12, and they are a group of kids all under the age of 17. They sounded great, and I always like an opportunity to "OY" along with the music.
Although this was my third time at the Horseradish Festival, I'm still not sure what makes it "International". I assume it has something to do with Canada. Either way, it remains an inspiration to this site, and continues to inspire me to get back in the kitchen. 1 out of 2 ain't bad.
The pineapple horseradish tiramisu was actually a morphed recipe of something I had begun to work on last year. I wasn't sure about a horseradish dessert, and if the idea is still turning you off, then look away from this gefilte fish cupcake with horseradish icing. Wow. This was actually my most involved recipe thus far, and I've come a long way from broiling some shrimp and mixing some horseradish with honey. It's not a bad recipe, and may actually be better with less if no horseradish. The recipe is on the left column if you would like it.
Yet, Festive Festival Festivities is an educational site as well. For example, did you know that horseradish was selected as the herb of the year for 2011? It is in fact, and here is much more horseradish information than you ever needed to know. Or, maybe you came here looking for some medical advice. Then here are the medicinal uses for horseradish just for you. A fair warning though, if the previous articles have inspired you to grow your own horseradish then your garden may be overrun with it like this poor lady. I know that not everyone came to this site looking for actual information,some of you want the silly. Here's a horrible pun t-shirt that could be yours for $19.95, or maybe this short and to the point cartoon will be silly enough for you. Or, if you have 25 minutes to waste, here is a horrible episode of "Weird Science" the TV show (yes for some reason they mad a show out of the movie). Actually I'll just save you the time, the password is horseradish.
This was the first festival of the year, and the first post of the year is normally an exercise in knocking the rust off. There will be better to come (hopefully). After two years of running to every festival around the St. Louis metro area, I feel I have been to a majority of them. I will continue to search for even sillier ones this year, and I will need my loyal reader's help. Please send me an email if you hear of a festival you feel needs discovery. Thus begins year 3 of FFF, and I hope the road ahead is as fun as the road behind.