Feast your eyes and prepare your stomach. The Maryland Renaissance Festival is back, and arguably more delicious than ever. With hearty, unique, and downright delectable options at every corner of the Crownsville grounds, it can be overwhelming to decide where to stop for a bite to eat.
To help plan your visit to Revel Grove this season (the fest runs weekends through Oct. 23), browse our list of the top fair foods—both classic and contemporary—that are sure to kickstart your renaissance adventure. And, of course, don’t forget to wash down all of the eats with a classic Snake Bite (beer mixed with hard cider) or Bee Sting (hard cider combined with mead) from one of the many bars scattered throughout the 27-acre village.
This one is a no-brainer, as it’s the unofficial symbol of the Renaissance Festival. Whether you’re a purist chasing the most authentic experience, a newcomer looking to check something off of your Renn Fair bucket list, or a regular hoping to fuel up for the day, there’s something about this handheld delicacy that really transports you back in time.
Apple Dumpling with Ice Cream
Ladies and lads hoping to indulge in a comforting fall treat should look no further. This decadent dessert—pockets of dough stuffed with warm apples and cinnamon—is a favorite of Maryland Renaissance Festival president Jules Smith, who says he has to resist the temptation and “limit himself to one sundae per weekend.”
Steak on a Stake
“They always say everything’s on a stick, including the jousters,” Smith quips of this essential menu item. Of course, this means the classic Steak on a Stake—a skewered “meat lollipop” of sorts—is back for another year. Other carnivorous varieties on a stick include pork chops and sausages.
In a not-so-traditional spin on medieval food, one vendor is cooking up made-to-order, gourmet crepes for attendees looking for something a bit more distinguished, but still handheld. Savory selections like the chicken cordon-bleu crepe, as well as sweeter options like the “Peaches and Dreams,” have graced the menu on previous weekends—but you never know what rotating specials the stand might have on offer at any given time.
Go Greek with this longstanding food station. The gyro sandwich stand—which fills its pillowy pitas with seasoned beef or chicken—has been at the festival for nearly 40 years. Suffice it to say, it’s a delicacy that keeps customers coming back every season.
Cake on a Stick
Choose whichever slice you fancy most—from chocolate-covered cheesecake to peanut butter pie to Key Lime Pie coated in white chocolate. The portable treats are delightfully sweet and skewered to perfection—just be sure to grab a few extra napkins.
“That’s a big seller,” says Mark Tysseling, co-owner of Royalty Foods, which operates this snack stand, as well as many other kiosks around the festival. Adventurous eaters and British food fans alike flock to this station year after year to get their hands on the crisp, fried-to-perfection bites of boiled eggs coated in breadcrumbs.
Soup in a Bread Bowl
Along with her husband, culinary purveyor Joy Johnson acquired this station after Royalty Foods announced it was up for grabs. Since taking over, they’ve revamped the menu, putting homestyle twists on a food that already screams comfort. Cozy, hearty, and delicious, this vendor offers a variety of warm soups ladled into soft, fluffy sourdough bowls. To warm up as temperatures drop this fall, try out the beef stew, chili, or Cajun red beans—all of which are made in-house. (If you’re wondering why the red beans are served solo instead of with rice—their usual companion—the answer is simple: to save room for the bread, says Johnson.)
If soup isn’t your thing, the same stand also sells a delicious alternative. Johnson’s chicken empanadas are hand-stuffed and served with her homemade green tomatillo salsa. While it’s not a traditional renaissance-era cuisine, you’ll thank yourself for choosing something that is both delicious and easy to snack on while walking the grounds.
Fried Mac and Cheese
Need we say more? It doesn’t get much better than pasta and cheese fried to golden, bite-sized perfection. And, in case you were wondering, yes, of course, it’s served on a stick.