As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is the Summer of Idaho. My family is exploring the glory of Idaho each weekend this summer.
The last weekend in June, we went to Weiser, Idaho (on the Oregon border) to check out the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest. Whenever I asked one of my Boise friends if they had been to the fiddle festival, EVERYONE said, “Oh, I want to do that.” But they still haven’t. Everyone heard it was fun. Get off your asses, my friends. Weiser is only an hour and fifteen minutes from Boise.
My neighbor, Beth, instructed me to stop by Weiser Classic Candy to taste the Velvet Mints. I am a worthy student. They were incredible!!! Not too rich, not too sweet, not too minty. Just perfect. Perfect in the way that I still wanted to eat more chocolate after I ate one of those. We also had a hand dipped ice cream bar. Getting true, thick chocolate instead of thin waxy chocolate makes this bar something that you’ll be thinking about for days (months?) to come.
Weiser Classic Candy even serves lunch. And they do it perfectly for the kids: half a sandwich, goldfish, pickle, chocolate dipped graham cracker and some milk. My son said that it was the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich he had ever tasted. When I gave him the stink-eye (because I make one of those for him nearly every day), he quickly found a way to appease me: “But Mom, when you make your sandwich, it has the most love in it.” A born diplomat.
Owners Patrick Nauman and Keith Bryant purchased the store from the original owner and have stayed true to her formula while updating and improving. They source as much as possible of their ingredients locally. Alas, cocoa beans are not grown in Idaho. But look at the caramel apples: locally grown! We saw the chocolate making in action and ate more chocolate in an hour than we’ve probably eaten all year. The good news is that they have expanded where they sell and we can pick up some boxes in Boise (and Oregon, Washington, etc.).
The whole family practically skipped out of Weiser Classic Candy – not just because we were high on sugar: we had a lot of fun and now we were going to the fiddle festival! We went on kids’ day. We could have had lunch from a variety of local vendors and truth be told: it looked way above average of regular festival food. They had a stage set up in City Park: bring your lawn chair or picnic blanket and settle down into the afternoon. We saw the North Idaho Hat Band: young boys playing some serious Bluegrass music. From their matching shirts, clean cut appearance and songs about washing in the blood of the lamb, I felt like I was in a time warp – back to the 1950s.
We didn’t get to see the contest. People in town told us that the park venues had the same people and you didn’t have to pay for it. But I wish we had seen the Battle of the Bands. Maybe when our kids are older. Or without them. Our kids are not big on bluegrass music. Truthfully, if you can go without the kids, it would be more fun. With the kids, you are expanding their notion of the world. For my son who loves hip-hop, he created a mash-up of funky bluegrass. The kid has no censor, nor lack of self-esteem. Take a look (starts off sideways for 5 seconds: be patient)
We were told to go to the field behind the high school (where the actual contest is being held) because that’s where the musicians are jamming in the evening – amid the sea of RVs and campers. We were a little too early for that and since our kids are only 5 and 7 and not true fiddle aficionados, we high-tailed it out of there for our camping trip to McCall. Less than a two hour drive through remote parts of Idaho (redundant?) for a first ever: two consecutive nights of camping for the indoor family. How will it turn out? Stay tuned…