Nothing can beat the flavor of sweet, juicy strawberries just picked from Plant City fields. But why not try? Dump some sugar on them. Add whipped cream, banana pudding and, oh, why not some chocolate sauce. Voila! You've got a decadent fair treat. The 74th annual Florida Strawberry Festival, which opened Thursday and goes through March 8, features every sugar-loaded strawberry concoction you can imagine. Sure, you've had strawberry shortcake before, but have you tried the strawberry shish kebabs? Or how about a strawberry pizza?
Strawberry pizza: There's no tomato sauce on this pizza pie. Instead, the crust is made of butter cream, and it's topped with cream cheese and strawberries with a glaze. A slice costs $3.50 at the Brandon Farms stand near the festival's entrance.
Strawberry crepes: The French never meant for a crepe to be made like this. For $5, you get one stuffed with strawberries and banana pudding and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and brown sugar. It came from a stand near the Expo Building.
Strawberry shortcake: Did you know that it's illegal to visit the Strawberry Festival and not order a strawberry shortcake? Well, no, it isn't. But it should be. We tried the shortcake made at the St. Clement Catholic Church stand inside the Parke Building. You can choose between a biscuit or sponge cake, and then pile on the berries and whipped cream.
Chocolate-dipped strawberries: Valentine's Day may be over, but you can still show your sweetie you care by buying him or her a huge, chocolate-dipped strawberry. They're $1 each at Mavric's Chocolate Barn near the children's midway. But eat them quickly: The hot sun will melt that chocolate right off.