I ate corn on the cob, an artichoke sandwich and an egg roll on a stick. All three were delicious, but the pièce de résistance of Saturday’s trip to the California State Fair (at least in terms of food): the cinnamon pull-apart bread at the Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls stand, located in the counties building and the shopper’s expo building.
I was in line waiting to purchase one of their giant cinnamon rolls—you know, the ones you can smell throughout the entire building—when I saw a sign advertising the bread. I immediately was catapulted back to childhood and memories of the gooey, sweet, sticky and utterly delicious cinnamon pull-apart bread my parents used to find at Bel Air market. Bel Air stopped carrying the bread years ago, and there’s been nothing like it since. We even sampled Monkey Bread a couple of years ago but were sorely disappointed. So I was excited to see this pull-apart bread but also cautious that it might not be as good as the one of my youth.
My fears were for not. This bread is fantastic! Even my 82-year-old mother, who is from the “they sure don’t make things like they used to” generation, loved it!
I did some digging and found out that Country Fair Cinnamon Rolls is a family-run business. Sisters Erin, Ryan and Dara run the business with their spouses (even the kids help out), but it was good ole’ Mom who came up with the recipe for the cinnamon pull-apart. The bread is offered at different events throughout most of the year, and six months out of the year—November through April—Erin and husband Aaron sell it and other treats out of a trailer in the parking lot of a True Value Hardware store in Oakhurst, the family’s home base.
Oakhurst is a bit of a drive, so your best bet is to pick some bread up at the fair. It will be available every day—a new loaf comes out of the oven every 10 minutes. It costs $10.90 (don’t tell Mom I spent that much), but you can get it for $7.60 if you have one of the fair’s coupon books, which you can purchase at the front gate or at various spots around the fair. You can bling up the bread with cream cheese frosting and walnuts for an additional 60 cents per topping. Or, simply pull it apart and enjoy.
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