Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sherwood Forest Faire

This past Saturday, my husband and I had a wonderful time attending the Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade, TX (outside of Austin). This fair is much smaller than the Texas Renaissance Festival, but it has an intimacy and charm that we enjoyed. 

We arrived at the fair hungry, so we had a chance to try some of the excellent food at Como's Ristorante Italiano. Last year they had delicious fried risotto balls, but unfortunately this year they weren't serving those tidbits (I guess that risotto might be a bit complicated for fair food). Nonetheless, we decided to try one of their new dishes, the mezzaluna, and some fried mozzarella. The mozzarella was well done, although still ordinary. The mezzaluna, on the other hand, was incredible. They slice up an entire eggplant for each order, then coat it in a thin batter and fry it. the result was a crispy on the outside, beautifully soft on the inside eggplant dish served with a tangy marinara. I loved it, and while it was fried, it still felt healthier than typical fair food thanks to the eggplant. At only five dollars for a large plate of food, I also thought it was very affordable. We scarfed down the entire plate before it got cold.

After our lunch, we went to the Paleo Puffin, a coffee and hookah place right across from Como's Ristorante Italiano. My chai was gingery and delicious, and I enjoyed the atmosphere of the tent, which was close enough to one of the stages that we could hear music from one of the bands, VaNa MaZi.

VaNa MaZi sounded like modern gypsy/folk music. Their music and performance style gave an off-beat, exotic flavor to the fair. As a viola player, I especially enjoyed listening to Corinne Zapler on viola--she used the deeper register of the viola to give the music power and earthiness. 

After listening awhile, we decided to indulge ourselves with some of the sweets the fair had to offer. I got some chocolate/peanut butter fudge from Fudge and More, while David got a chocolate funnel cake. I loved the fudge; it was smooth and velvety, not at all grainy like too many inferior fudges. The chocolate/peanut butter taste was rich and intense--even a little bite felt decadent. The chocolate funnel cake was excellent as well, if more typical fair food.

After our dessert, we decided to watch some of the shows. I thought the joust was fun and exciting--it was clear that the combatants were actually hitting each other with their lances, and the plot of the show felt engaging and enjoyable.

After the joust, we watched the Combat Tournament of Sherwood, an entertaining show featuring different styles of armed combat, with a considerable dose of humor. 

Once the shows finished, my husband and I explored the many booths and stands of the fair. Sherwood has plenty of costume shops, armories, and other stands to explore. I bought soap from Summerwood Soaps, and a lovely feathered hair ornament. My husband shot arrows at the archery booth, where we were impressed by the attendant's knowledge and expertise. 

All in all, we had a great day at the Sherwood Forest Faire, and we are hoping to visit again before the end of the season.

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