Mmm ... Bacon Festival Coming To The Valley

By Annika Cline
Published: Friday, February 27, 2015 - 4:34pm
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(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Bacon is "a very delicious and pleasurable taste. It’s called the fifth taste."
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
Jayson Khademi works in his food truck, Saffron JAK Pizza.
(Photo by Annika Cline - KJZZ)
The bacon festival test-run in Baltimore sold out.

America loves bacon.

That seems like a generalization, but it's actually the name of a new festival that will tour the country, and its first official stop is in Arizona. There will be bacon samples, bacon clothing... bacon cotton candy.

"I’m just cooking up some nice chunk bacon for our 'Hey Ryan' pizza we’re gonna be offering this weekend. It’s our version of a Hawaiian pizza," said Jayson Khademi of Saffron JAK Pizza truck.

He said bacon is not an unfamiliar topping for them. The food truck will be serving samples at the festival, including one of its signature pizzas.

"We’ve made a name for ourselves with our loaded baked potato pizza, it’s our best seller," Khademi said. He thinks it's because of the bacon.

But a whole festival devoted to bacon might seem excessive. That is, until you talk with festival organizer Evan Weinstein about the test run they did in Baltimore.

"There was not enough bacon in Baltimore. We had about 17 vendors and by about 4 o'clock we had three vendors left and two-hour waits to get food," Weinstein said.

The event sold out with about four thousand guests. Weinstein says they’ve learned, and will have way more bacon available at the Arizona festival.

But what makes bacon so appealing? Jessica Lehmann is with the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

"The thing about bacon that does make it so delicious is it’s very savory and does have something called umami. It’s a very delicious and pleasurable taste. It’s called the fifth taste."

Lehmann says that’s the kind of flavor you have to use sparingly, although that's not what people competing in the bacon-eating contest will be doing.

Lehmann also says the trend of combining bacon with different foods can encourage people to try new things.

"You know, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, so really a spoonful of bacon can make the kale go down much easier," she said.

You can try all the bacon goodies at the America Loves Bacon Festival. It’ll be at Rawhide Western Town in Chandler this Saturday.

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