Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Return of the Food and Wine Festival

After five long years of hiatus, the Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival has returned and is bigger than ever!  Over half a decade ago, this west coast edition of the longstanding EPCOT tradition was a springtime staple for DCA, bringing various tastes and samplers of California cuisine to park guests.  But during the park's multi-year expansion, construction proved detrimental to running the event, so it was shuttered.  Fortunately, it has returned this year with eight different food and beverage booths, souvenir stands, and dining and cooking demonstrations and celebrity chef showcases.

For me, though, the best part of the Food and Wine Festival is the food samplings, offered at the "Festival Marketplace," so here's a look at some of the offerings at this year's event!

The food offerings of the Food and Wine Festival have been located along the main walkway between Buena Vista Street and Paradise Pier and adjacent to the Golden Vine Winery (technically, this area is part of Pacific Wharf).
Back this year is my longstanding favorite: White Cheddar Ale & Bacon Soup in a Boudin Sourdough Mini Boule ($5.50 + tax)--otherwise known as CHOUP!!!
Choup (effectively cheddar soup) can be found in the "By the Bay" stand and is delicious.  My only criticism is that there's never enough actual soup to go with the amount of bread in the small bread bowl!
Nearby, in "The Farm" stand, there is Golden Thai Vegetable Curry with Jasmine Rice ($5.75 + tax).
The dish has the traditional tanginess of Southeast Asian curry and also is somewhat spicy, providing a nice kick.  There's good flavor, though not as rich as other Thai curries I've had, and the vegetarian dish is suprisingly filling!
The Anaheim Chile & Roasted Cauliflower Burrito with Jack Cheese & Avocado-Lime Crema ($5.50 + tax) can be found in the "Viva Fresca" booth.  It's also pretty filling, with plenty of savory flavor from the tasty Anaheim chile, and the crema provides a cool zesty contrast to the heavy dairy of the burrito.  Surprisingly tasty!
One of my favorites is the Triple Cheese mac with Smoked Chicken with Fontina, Cheddar, and Gouda ($6.00 + tax).
Found at the "Gold Rush" booth, this mac 'n' cheese is rich, decadent, and absolutely delicious.  The chicken is moist and adds a nice texture too.  I definitely recommend it as one of the lower cost and higher filling dishes.
Also at the "Gold Rush" booth are the Artichoke Chips with Spicy Aioli ($5.00 + tax).  They are full of garlicky goodness, and the tender, subtle artichoke flavor offsets the fried breading.  This was another favorite offering, and I only wish they offered more than five pieces with this delicious dish!
The Artichoke Chips and Triple Cheese Mac 'n' Cheese together.
The Roasted Yellow Beets & Purple Haze Goat Cheese with Baby Greens, Green Verjus, Sultanas, and Cashews ($5.50 + tax) at the "Wine Country" stand is a fresh salad mix with a nice combination of dairy, nuts, and fruit flavors that combine very well with each other.  I suggest mixing everything together first.  The golden beets give a nice, light texture, though the other ingredients make this a heavier dish than its description may imply.
There's a nice photo op area by the back waterfalls of Grizzly Peak for those who want a snapshot.  The whole area in this corridor looks great, with the wine country aesthetic!
We'll be back tomorrow with more food offerings--in particular, the pricier items that make sense to be purchased with the Festival Marketplace Tasting Passport available to Annual Passholders.  In the meantime, the Food and Wine Festival at Disney California Adventure runs on weekends (Fridays through Sundays) until May 1st this year, so go check it out!

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