The NRA Show is full of informative sessions, thoughtful speakers, plenty of networking and lots of opportunity to get in your steps for the day.
But our editors would be lying if we didn’t say that one of our favorite parts is sampling all the tasty treats. From fried to refreshing, here's a round of some standout snacks from the show this year.
Live the dairy dream
The NRA Show floor is a dairy lover’s dream, especially when stopping by the California Milk Advisory Board and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Both spots comprise a variety of cheeses, from burrata to blue. Attendees can sample butter, milk and ice cream as well, including a refreshingly light double-chocolate dirty mint chip ice cream sandwich from Coolhaus ice cream at California Milk’s booth.
Snack on the go
McCormick Place might have an abundancy of bites during NRA, but we’ve only got two hands, so portability is a real winner. To highlight their all-natural ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, Sir Kensington’s is dishing up piping-hot Belgian frites in easy-to-carry branded paper cones with a built-in section for your dipping sauce of choice.
Snack and sit
On the flip side, tired attendees can sit and snack at the Chobani booth where the Greek yogurt brand is serving a variety of sweet and savory snacks. A fresh mint, feta and watermelon dip is served with pita chips; tortilla chips are nestled alongside a corn salsa with yogurt; and after resting on their built-in benches, guests can grab a Drink Chobani beverage to go.
Sweet treats with a twist
With a show floor packed with gelato, ice cream and other frozen treats as far as the eye can see, it takes a unique twist to stand out from the pack. Elenka edges ahead of the gelato game with its eye-catching popcorn option, full of buttery rich flavor reminiscent of caramel corn. Hawaiian Frost has a honeydew melon soft serve that is light and refreshing. And for those who need a java jolt, Lavazza offers a coffee granita that doesn’t skimp on the caffeine at the stylish booth’s wraparound espresso bar.
A comfort food feast
Attendees looking for stick-to-your-ribs dishes can stop by JTM Food Group, where three different stations are dishing out hearty portions of their products. Kick things off with Bavarian pretzel bites and a duo of hoppy beer cheese before grabbing a barbacoa and creamy corn taco, hot honey sloppy joe and a side of creamy three cheese white mac. With hefty rich portions of their comfort food fare, I could have done with a complimentary nap after.
Fried finds at the show
There is no shortage of crispy, hot snacks to sample this year. Some of the standouts include Curdtown’s seasoned fried cheese curds, Matlaw’s subtly spicy jalapeno shrimp mac and cheese bites at National Fish & Seafood’s booth, and the Jumbo Stuffed Tater Kegs, essentially a cheesy stuffed tater tot on steroids. And my favorite savory bite so far of the show: a steaming-hot deep-fried panzerotti oozing with melted mozzarella and tart tomato from the Marana Forni pizza oven booth in the Bellavita pavilion.
The ultimate cool-down spot
Prime real estate is king on the show floor, and the biggest winner in my book this year is Montebianco. Grab a supersized portion of creamy gelato (an Italian cake flavor flecked with citrus peel was a standout), then step into the aisle and get ready to relax. Montebianco’s booth is across from Atomist Fans, so I savored my gelato while relaxing in the cool misty breeze, a welcome respite that I’ve dubbed the ultimate cool-down intersection after trekking across the massive show.