International Pickle Day & the Hester Street Fair

Way back in September, when I went to the Apples on Orchard festival, I was excited to learn that there was going to be the 10th Annual International Pickle Day just a few weeks later. I roped Donny into attending with me, though he joined me with the qualifier that he wanted to go to the Hester Street Fair afterward. Looking back at my photos (…from a month ago…) I’m having a hard time distinguishing from between all of the pickles, so I’ll just discuss the highlights, the lowlights, and whatever else I actually remember.

The biggest surprise for me was the non-cucumber pickles represented there. I should have realized, though that this was an international pickle festival, and of course kimchi is a Korean pickled product.

Also a surprise: the delicious feta cheese on display. Feta is pickled in its own way — the cheese is brined the same way some pickles are.

In a day full of sour pickles (not to mention half-sours, garlic-sours, hot sours…) one of the best pickles I had was the unusual whiskey sour pickle, from Brooklyn Brine. In addition to the usual salty-vinegar pickle flavor, there was a bit of citrus that made this something special.

One of the biggest disappointments of the fair was the peanut butter and pickle sandwich that someone (I forget who) was offering. It wasn’t delicious enough, or disgusting enough, to get much more than a “meh” out of me. I expected something more from the unusual combination.

After many more pickles, and pickled products, Donny and I had both had enough. We made our way out of the parking lot where the festival was being held, only to find that the pickle festival continued out onto the streets of the Lower East Side. We paused briefly to sample a few more things, but then made our way over to the Hester Street Fair. After all of those pickles, I needed something to cleanse the palate.

The last time I went to the Hester St Fair there was no La Newyorkina stand. I had a hard time deciding what to get, and asked the woman for some guidance. She suggested either the avocado flavor or the mamey (pronounced muh-MAY). I had never heard of mamey, which is apparently a fruit cultivated in southern Mexico, so that’s what I chose. The ice cream, which blends the fruit with cream and sugar, was astonishing — there was a pronounced nuttiness to the flavor, but was also fruity. I’ve never tasted anything like it before.

After so much eating, we decided to walk home — over the Brooklyn Bridge. I’d never done it before, and it was a beautiful day, so it was a great way to end our morning of eating. Then I had to go to work.

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