Think Outside the Box: Stampede Midway Pairings

The Calgary Stampede is recognized for compiling some of the most quirky, obscure foods and (somehow) hyping them up to become a food truck lovers’ exotic destination. 

There’s no shortage of creativity when it comes to midway food, classics and new releases keep us curious and chomping at the bit for more. It’s the time for experimenting and testing your taste buds. Join me in thinking outside the box to find pairings that might sound a little funky, but trust me, you’ll be thirsting to try!

Cool Ranch Dorito Corn Dog

Newly released at the Calgary Stampede this cheesy, tangy, inscrutable meat flavour, and sweet-spongy bready batter, make for a rather difficult pairing. So, when all else fails, keep it classy with Veuve-Clicquot Demi-Sec Champagne! The rich, biscuity backbone of this wine complements the cornbread and hot dog while the demi-sec sweetness stands up to the punchy Dorito topping.

Kettle Corn

Here comes a classic. Perfect for any palate, the salt, sugar, and oil combine beautifully with the popped kernels to create a sweet treat. Enjoy with Summerhill Ehrenfelser, an off-dry white wine that’s full of tropical fruit flavours. The sugar will match the snack, and the tropical fruits should contrast that distinct buttery texture. 

Louisiana Gator Bites

Probably one you’ve never seen before, another newly released midway delight. I’ve never eaten alligator, but I’m told it tastes like chicken… In this case, spicy chicken! My favourite region for white meats with a little heat is northern Italy. Viberti “La Gemella” Barbera d’Alba expresses lots of ripe fruits and spicy notes that pair tastefully with southern barbecue, and these gator bites should be no exception!

Sweet Teriyaki Cauliflower Wings

With garlic, ginger, citrus, and sesame, teriyaki sauce is a powerful condiment that can overwhelm many wines. When in doubt, bubbles are best! Pair with Chiarli Vecchia Lambrusco di Sorbara. This unique Lambrusco is slightly drier with plenty of red berry flavours. It will match the intensity of the dish while contrasting the wings sweet seasoning.


I hope you love poutine, because the Calgary Stampede is THE time to indulge! Potatoes are the perfect mode for heaps of cheese and gravy, delivering a powerful umami bite. Pour yourself a glass of Siduri Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and feel the refreshing acidity clear your palate. While you go back and forth between your wine and fork, I can assure you no bite will go unnoticed.

Mini Donuts

Last but certainly not least, a perennial favourite at the Calgary Stampede – mini donuts! While there’s countless toppings (including a new entrant – Hot Cheetos), I always stick with the classic tossed in cinnamon sugar. In my mind, the perfect pairing is Wolfberger Grand Cru Pinot Gris, as I often find notes of cinnamon across my palate. It’s a sweet white wine with high acidity and extra aromas of apricot, peach, honey, and gingerbread.  

Are these pairings a little far fetch for your taste buds? For a more sophisticated experience, click here to read our wine and meat pairings!