Calgary Stampede 2016 midway food includes 'bug balls,' deep-fried butter tarts and various stuffed meats

The Calgary Stampede is famous for many things, not least among them the bizarre yet edible concoctions offered up as snack fare on the midway.

Mac-and-cheese-stuffed burgers, hot-dog-stuffed pickles among 34 new offerings at this year's event

'Sticky toffee bug balls' and mac-and-cheese-stuffed burgers are just 2 of the 34 new items on the Calgary Stampede midway menu in 2016. (Calgary Stampede)

This story was first published on May 3, 2016:

The Calgary Stampede is famous for many things, not least among them the bizarre yet edible concoctions offered up as snack fare on the midway.

This year's menu again includes dozens of new offerings, some of which might not sound particularly appealing at first blush.

  • Join us for the CBC Calgary Co-op Stampede Breakfast on July 7 from 7-9 a.m. MT in the CBC Calgary parking lot, located at 1724 Westmount Blvd. N.W. More details here.

But, if past experience is any guide, don't knock it 'til you try it.

Here are some of the highlights from the newly released 2016 list, which includes 34 new foods.

Sticky Toffee Bug Balls 

"Don't be alarmed," the Stampede warns of this dish, but somehow we imagine more timid midway-goers will still want to steer clear.

"Sticky toffee bug balls" are deep-fried dough balls tossed in cinnamon and sugar, glazed in toffee sauce and topped with chopped medjool dates, garnished with whipped cream and sprinkled with meal worms and crickets. (Calgary Stampede)

For adventurous eaters, however, the deep-fried dough balls will hold some appeal, if for nothing other than the novelty of eating meal worms as a meal.

Those creepy-crawlies — plus a healthy helping of crickets — finish this dish, along with whipped cream, heaped generously on top of deep-fried dough balls that have been tossed in cinnamon and sugar and drizzled in toffee sauce.

"This takes mini donuts to a gourmet level," the Stampede assures.

Mac-and-cheese-stuffed burgers 

Mac and cheese has experienced a renaissance of sorts in recent years, and the Stampede isn't one to ignore a trend.

But while many aficionados opt to put meat in their macaroni, the midway is flipping the script.

Beef patties stuffed with creamy mac and cheese are new at the Calgary Stampede in 2016. (Calgary Stampede)

The hand-made beef patties are stuffed with creamy mac and cheese and garnished with classic burger toppings.

Big Pickle Dog

Flipping the script once again, this dish opts to stuff the meat inside the garnish, instead.

Yes, it's a hot dog, wrapped in a pickle, wrapped in deep-fried batter, served on a stick.

Why decide between pickles and hot dogs when eating your snack from a stick? With the big pickle dog, you no longer have to pick a favourite. (Calgary Stampede)

The "big pickle dog" is one of numerous midway foods that come impaled on a wooden skewer for easy eating while strolling the Stampede grounds.

Fruit-infused grilled cheese

In another twist on a childhood favourite, grilled cheese gets "taken to a whole new level" with the addition of blueberry, strawberry and kiwi filling.

Blueberry, strawberry and kiwi filling brightens up the beige grilled cheese. (Calgary Stampede)

The result is not just a combination of sweet and savoury, but also a blast of colour that contrasts against the typically beige appearance of the sandwich.

Deep-fried butter tart

Since calories aren't a thing when you're at Stampede, the deep-fried butter tart is.

This dessert dish is billed as "a secret family recipe kicked up a notch," which is another way of saying the already sugar-coma-inducing combination of pastry and butter tart filling is surrounded by a layer of greasy batter.

A butter tart that has been battered and deep fried and topped with whipped cream and caramel. Calorie count: Unclear. (Calgary Stampede)

Oh, and did we mention it's topped with whipped cream and caramel, to boot?

Because of course it is.