Monday, October 22, 2012

Disney's Food & Wine Festival 2012

Hey! Autumn is lovely. We're nearing the end of the month and the weather here is finally shifting. There's a cool breeze now, even though the sun slices right through it. If you're up early in the morning, it's nice to wear a light sweater.

This is also a time for food. Disney's Food & Wine Festival is in full swing. I've gone twice already this year and I feel like I've got enough photos and food in my mind now to write up a meaty blog post, haha.

BTW: If you missed out on my first blog post about last year's festival, do make sure you check it out here.

What's new:

Last year, I reported that Disney installed fancy utensil dispensers - and they're back! What's more, Disney seems to be moving towards using paper dishes for most of the food. You'll notice that in the photos in place of last year's plastic dishes. I'm really impressed with the paper because it's strong enough to withstand even the most watery sauces and not leak.

A new booth joined the crew this year as well; Terra, the vegan booth. One of my friends is vegan, and ever since she had that decision, I've been curious about those foods and how inventive vegans are at creating tasty substitutes for meat and dairy dishes. You'll see the fake chicken dish below - it was delicious and, really, tastes just like real chicken (even though it's made of veggies. Amazing!).

This year, a new space opened up in the festival center called the Chase Lounge. The lounge is hidden inside the Ghiradelli showcase called The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to the Bar.

There are two awesome parts about the showcase itself.

1) Free Ghiradelli chocolate. You have to keep an eye out for it - a cast member holding a straw basket is the key, haha.

2) Chocolate sculptures. I mean. Woah.

All the chocolate sculptures displayed behind glass

Seeing the sculptures was surreal, especially because I've only been as close as the other end of a television screen to seeing one (Yes, yes, I watch way too many Food Network competitions). The details in each sculpture were amazing, but I'll just post one of 'em so you have an idea.

Deep inside the chocolate showcase, there's a small hallway that a cast member diligently guards. You have to show the cast member your Chase Visa card (hopefully you have one) that will allow you inside the top-secret lounge. I only have one good photo of the interior since the lighting wasn't friendly towards my camera. The walls were painted bright blue with stamps of the different countries. There were TVs and two small seating areas, as well as an odd, giant table with high chairs that looked more like a toadstool than anything.

The overall design of the room makes you think of a perfect picnic under a cloudless blue sky. The carpet is green enough to pass for grass if you're not looking straight at it and there are tiny booths that house the coffee and soda fountains. Very, very cute.

Me and the 'rents experienced the lounge on the opening day, so there had been a big spread of breakfast food like muffins and cinnamon rolls, as well as giant glass dispensers of orange and apple juice.

The second time (today), we found out that only the coffee and soda are staples in the lounge on a normal day. But that's okay. The best part about the lounge is that it feels like a secret. I'm enjoying it while it's still here (so fleeting - it'll be off limits again after the festival is over).

Foods I Ate:

Between my two visits, there had been a lot of dishes I ended up eating. Each one was delicious. I'm not even lying, haha. My favorite is still, by far, the fisherman's pie, but the potato pierogie comes in second (my first time trying a pierogie!). The only dish that wasn't too too good was the cheese fondue - only because the fondue itself was an unidentified concoction that didn't quite work (it was sharp, a little bitter, and had the particular zing of wine in it).

Here's a visual representation of what I ate (and feel free to see the similarities and differences from last year's - it's fun!):

Cheese Fondue with Sourdough Bread
Cheese Booth
Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll
Germany Booth
Sweet Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions
Italy Booth
Kielbasa and Potato Pierogie with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream
Poland Booth
Trick'n Chick'n Curry with Basmati Rice featuring Gardein Chick'n Breast
Terra (Vegan Booth)
Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise
Hawaii Booth
Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie
Ireland Booth
Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney
New Zealand Booth
Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara - Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad
New Zealand Booth

Little German Village:

So, sadly I haven't seen any super cool food celebrities this year (i.e. Robert Irvine from last year). The closest I got was missing Andrew Zimmerman (from Bizarre Foods) by one day. Ugh. Ugh. What a loss. Even so, attending the festival on a Sunday is pretty relaxing. The morning is slower, less hectic, and most of the booth lines are small. I checked in with the train village in Germany - just like I always do - and saw that it was decked out in honor of the festival again this year.

Don't know what I'm talking about? I made a post all about it here.

All the booths are out!

And the cranberry bog!

You'll need to see a bigger version, but the poor man in the chair has fallen over. I hope someone sits him back up again. 

1 comment:

  1. ohh this all looks sooo delicious! yum! what a tasty post. [and i have to say, i wish we had light-sweater weather ;). we're into uggs & cable knits - haha, i'm sure more fashionable people are into dress boots and pea coats ;) it's cold, though, and getting colder. ick.]