by Billy Clouse
For years, food has been an integral part of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. This year, SUU Dining Services began offering more options for patrons before and during the plays.
One of the biggest changes is the addition of three food carts. Natasha Green, Marketing Manager for SUU Dining Services, said that carts were ordered for last season, but they didn’t arrive until the February after the Festival ended. She said the carts looked awful, so they were sent back and reordered for this season.
The first cart is called “Shakespeare Table,” and it has a rotating menu. Chefs cook up everything from tacos to turkey legs to bangers and mash.
The second cart, “Dogs of Verona,” sells hot dogs and bratwursts. Green said, “it was named after the play ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’ because it’s the only Shakespeare play that has a dog in it.”
The final cart, “Ye Olde Fro Yo” sells frozen yogurt. It offers two flavors and ten topping options.
Green said that Dogs of Verona has been doing the best, but the other two carts are close behind it in sales.
Going forward, SUU Dining Services is considering switching out frozen yogurt for ice cream, and they’re considering adding a fall-themed pastry.
According to Green, the two most sold items at the Festival are tarts and water. In the opening month of this season, over 18,000 tarts were sold.
“We not only have the tart walkers (at the Greenshow), we have them at all the carts and concession stands, and we sell them during intermission,” she said. “Anywhere up there, you’ll find them.”
In the past, Annette Damavandi, the Head Baker for SUU Dining Services, and her team of bakers worked on traditional flavors, such as lemon, raspberry, summer berry and apple.
This season, they introduced three new flavors: lemon cream cheese, oreo and smore. Damavandi said she thought about the children who went to the Greenshow with their parents when she came up with the idea for the new flavors.
Damavandi said that finalizing the recipe for the tarts took some time.
“I went online and gathered recipes and practiced the different ones,” she said. “The Festival was looking for something a little different than what we were starting with. I just worked until I liked one, and the next step was to make them (like it). I don’t know how many people tasted them or critiqued them before it was finalized.”
When the lemon cream cheese flavor was introduced, there was a little bit of controversy. Some people wanted to keep the original lemon flavor and some wanted to go with the new one, but in the end, the Festival directors allowed both to be made. Damavandi said that the new version of the lemon tart, her favorite of all the flavors, usually outsells the old one.
Damavandi goes into work every day to continue the tradition of snacks at the Festival.
“It’s just something you’re raised with; you go to the Festival and buy a tart,” she said. “It was fun to be in the audience and watch people buy one and then go buy another one.”