There was a nice write up about us in the Hunterdon Democrat:
Frozen cheesecake-on-a-stick and other stroll-and-go food at the Hunterdon County 4-H Fair
Frozen cheesecake-on-a-stick. Dipped in chocolate. And then, if you’d like, sprinkled with crushed cookies, coconut, rainbow sprinkles or nuts.
No worries, jokes Janet Maddalena, it’s all good — fair food calories don’t count. And that’s where you’ll find Hunterdon’s iconic cheesecake purveyor this week, at the Hunterdon County 4-H and Agricultural Fair.
Actually it is all good, really good. Maddalena, chief executive officer of Maddalenas Cheesecake & Catering, says that her father suggested cheesecake-on-a-stick “for years, and we never went out and did it until last year,” debuting the treat at the Shad Festival in 2012.
Her father has since passed away, and she’s very glad that she was able to tell him that he was right and it is “a hit.”
While the economy continues to sputter along, Maddalena says that the catering end of the business hasn’t bounced back to pre-recession work, so the cheesecake-on-a-stick is making the rounds in the region.
It was at the Italian-American Festival in Ocean County, the Warren and Hunterdon County fairs, the McCarter Block Party in Princeton and is scheduled to be at upcoming events in Mercer County, Philadelphia and back in East Amwell.
Clay models are laid out at the front of the booth. The real versions are in the freezer and new ones are made between customers. There are child-sized versions, for $3 or $3.50, and adult-sized slices for $4.50 or $5. There’s also hot and cold drinks and a lovely mix of summer and winter in the form of a $5 fresh apple-pie-and-ice-cream dish, with caramel drizzled on top.
Maddalenas started 31 years ago with cheesecake. That first year, Maddalena says, the company offered samples to people at what was then the Flemington Fair, to spread the word.
Now they’re back at the fairgrounds in East Amwell, two miles from Maddalenas home base alongside Route 31. “It’s in our backyard,” said Maddalena, and few visitors don’t know their specialty item.
Maureen Crowley of Raritan Township did, also remembering buying the company’s cheesecakes through a church fundraiser. “I ate them all,” she said, with no apologies.
One more way Maddalenas has changed — it’s now sold at a year-round farm market, in Stockton on weekends, and it has gluten-free cheesecakes, in addition to flavors including pumpkin and key lime.
Nicolo’s from Lambertville is at the fair with pizza knots, pizza — by the slice, with toppings or by the pie — and bruchetta sticks — fresh mozzarella, basil and chopped tomatoes arranged in a grab-and-go fashion.
Pizza’s a natural at the fair, said owner Sal Maltese of Delaware Township. “Ask a kid what they want, they’ll tell you pizza,” he said. “It’s easy to hold and eat.”
So is the corn-on-a-stick from Melick’s. Tonight there are fireworks at the fair. And food made for holding and strolling.
Parking benefits local fire companies and costs $10. Admission is free.
By Renée Kiriluk-Hill/Hunterdon Democrat
August 23, 2013