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First county fair food competition selects ultimate fair snack

Nine food entries competed to be grand champion of food competition

Fair food favorites were uniquely recreated and chosen as finalists to compete at Alameda County Fair's first annual SNACKDOWN food competition held Tuesday afternoon.

People of all ages from all over the Bay Area came to watch the competition hosted by KPIX's "Foodie Chap" Liam Mayclem, and to see which food creation would win the title of SNACKDOWN Grand Champion.

Cardinali's Ice Cream's spaghetti ice cream took home that title after a panel of judges sampled each of the nine food entries.

The judges were impressed after Tamee and Tony Cardinali provided a live demonstration of their creation by running homemade vanilla gelato through a custom-built ice cream extruder that creates the "spaghetti noodles." They topped it off with pureed strawberries for the marinara sauce, grated white chocolate for the parmesan cheese, and a mint leaf replacing the basil.

Judge Deborah Grossman loved how it was an interactive food entry and praised Cardinali's for their brain power in creating the unique treat.

"It's all about the show," said Tony. "People love it."

The Cardinalis also won "Best Taste" for their spaghetti ice cream, and their "World's Hottest Ice Cream" was a SNACKDOWN finalist.

The Get Pickled food booth won "Most Creative" with their Pickled Dog -- a hot dog in a pickle in a giant corn dog.

"People look for what they can't have everyday," said owner Nathan Janousek. "We provide a food adventure."

Pizza by the Slice won "Best Theme" with their Red, White & Blue Pizza - a flatbread with red tomatoes, blue cheese, buffalo chicken, and bacon.

"It's bacon and cheese happiness," said judge Autumn Johnson.

Other finalists included:

* Drunken pickle poppers -- Get Pickled

* Deep fried grilled cheese -- The Monster Dog

* California burrito -- Pepe's Mariscos

* Lobster fries -- Sharky's Fish Fries

* Macaroni and cheese stuffed bacon burger -- Stuffy's Char Broiler

Alameda County Fair spokeswoman Angel Moore said the first SNACKDOWN Competition a success, and plans to bring it back next year.

"People always ask what new foods will be at the fair each year," said Moore. "This is a way to drive our food vendors to do something unique with their foods."

All of the SNACKDOWN finalists will be selling their creations at the fair for less than $10.

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