ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Get ready for bacon like you've never eaten, drunk or worn it before.
Bacon milkshakes. Chocolate-covered bacon shaped like roses. Bacon-flavored toothpaste, dental floss and lip balm. Bacon bourbon, margaritas, beer and vodka. Bacon ice cream sundaes. A BLT sandwich with a full pound of bacon.
They're all on the menu this week as one Atlantic City casino stretches the bounds of good taste and cardiovascular health with Bacon Week. The festival at the Tropicana Casino and Resort gives new meaning to the term "pigging out."
The idea of a bacon festival is not as far-fetched as it might sound. Americans eat about 1.5 billion pounds of bacon a year, according to the National Pork Board. And the website bacontoday.com counted nearly 30 bacon festivals around the country from late April through December 2013, many of whose tickets sold out in minutes.
"Bacon is like heaven," said Nadina Fornia, of Egg Harbor Township. "If you're going to die, die with bacon on your lips and a BLT in each hand."
She was drawn to the casino Monday by the promise of bacon in far-out forms, including milkshakes and beer (not in the same glass, thankfully.) She also heard about the bacon-infused vodka.
"That is my quest today," she said.
Fornia tried a bacon bloody Mary mixed with a smoky bacon beer. Despite the overwhelming salty taste and the small strip of bacon floating in the glass, it tasted mostly like sharp tomato juice, she said.
Nearby were chocolate covered pretzels with crumbled bacon bits; chocolate-drizzled potato chips with bacon, two kinds of pasta dishes with bacon, bacon cupcakes, and bacon wrapped around a fake green stem to form roses, which were then dipped in chocolate.