INSIDE AND IN DEPTH: Disney’s California Food and Wine Festival 2017 debuts at DCA

It’s the first official weekend of Disney California Adventure’s Food and Wine Festival and there’s a lot of excitement buzzing around the whole park. The spread is a foodie’s delight with flavors to savor, sip, crunch, and enjoy. Now, have a look at everything the event has to offer daily now through April 16

After re-introducing the California Food and Wine Festival last year, Disney started re-ignited a fan-favorite event bringing an EPCOT style festival celebrating food and beverages with a special theme around the golden state of California. This year, it’s all been widely expanded, folding in more menu options and more entertainment.

In between this year and last year, Disney mounted more two similar foodie fests with both the Holiday Festival of Seasons and the Lunar New Year Celebrations and a common complaint for both events was small portion sizes and overpriced offerings. It would seem that for the return of the California Food and Wine Festival actually took note. While the prices aren’t necessarily bargain base (ranging between $4.25 and $7.75), the portion sizes have definitely been upped making the prices seem much more worth their value.

But enough with the talking, let’s eat… ENJOY!

The Food

We were only able to make a small small dent in the menu offerings, here’s a sampling of what we tried…

Duck Confit on Potato Smash ($7) was one of our favorites. Includes a Meyer Lemon Preserve on top of what is essentially crispy tater tots. Delicious! And a good sized portion.

French Onion Mac & Cheese ($7.25) was a super delicious rich treat. Great portion.

Black Garlic Soy-Braised Pork Belly Bao with Pickled Vegetables ($7) was one of our favorites last year and this modified version this year still ranks high on the list. Tender soft boa with yummy pork belly and crispy veggies. A fantastic offering.

Braised Wagyu Beef with Creamy Polenta ($7.75) you know what you’re getting here. Pretty decent portion size.

Jackfruit Carnitas Banh Mi Nachos ($6) offered a great portion size. A good chunk of meat and a great portion of chips and toppings. Unfortunately, not the favorite for either of us. The flavors sorta battled with each other but the textures were great.

Roasted Cauliflower & Meyer Lemon-infused Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt Cauliflower Puree ($6) was unfortunately not a favorite for our group either. Lots of great flavors here but the tartness of the lemon with the tartness of the yogurt created an overall sour dish that couldn’t compete with all the other flavors.

 

Korean Barbecue Beef Short Rib Tacos with Kimchi Slaw ($7) has delicious pieces of meat with kimchi and cilantro. This one is super tasty and you know what you’re getting as the ingredients are super basic. If you’re looking for something adventurous this is not the dish but if you’re looking for something that you know will absolutely satisfy then look no further!

Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider with Chimichurri Sauce ($7.75) is another delicious option. A big chunk of beef on the mini brioche bun with yummy marinated onions.

Chicken Teriyaki slider with spicy Dole® pineapple jam ($6.50) is about as clear as it sounds. Not very spicy at all. Sweet and salty, a great combo.


Dole Pineapple-Strawberry Float with Vanilla Ice Cream and Strawberry Pearls ($7) was tasty but the proportion of ice cream to juice was super off. With a few sips the juice was all gone and we were left with a large portion of vanilla ice cream. You might want to let this one sit for a bit and stir it together to get a better experience.

Garlic-Rosemary and Avocado Oil Ice Cream pop ($4.50) was actually quite lovely. We did not detect much garlic but the rosemary does pack a nice note giving this a surprisingly sweet yet earthy flavor. It’s quite good!

Roasted Sweet Corn Custard Tart ($4.50) is a great treat with honey tuille and smoked chili-infused chocolate sauce. The corn flavor DEFINITELY comes through so if that’s a problem you should stay away. The dessert is creamy and fantastic. Delicious and portions again, fantastic.

Variations of this dessert have been offered before. The macaron is enormous and so is its flavor. Meyer Lemon Macaron ($4.75) has a blueberry marmalade with the lemon cream and topped with blueberry dust.

Chocolate-Hazelnut & Raspberry Feuillete Tart ($4.75) is about what you’d expect. Not bad by any means but we weren’t seeing any colors when we tasted this one. Again, portions are fantastic.

Probably our least favorite item of the whole experience was the very first thing we tried and it was the Creamy Artichoke & Dark Chocolate Cake Pop. The flavors were all fine, the chocolate and pistachios were great but the cake inside was really mushy. We weren’t sure if it was undercooked or if the refridgeration had somehow moistened the cake inside. Not just not good but bad. Perhaps a bad batch?

Festival Marketplace Menus

Hungry for more? Here’s a look at all the Festival Marketplace menus…

Nuts About Cheese

  • Brie toast with fig and mint and roasted California almond crumble
  • Baked ham and Swiss cheese croque monsieur roll with smoked pistachios
  • Chèvre fromage blanc tartine infused with rosemary and honey, topped with toasted hazelnuts
  • Almond milk tea with pudding

I Heart Artichokes

  • artichoke carbonara with garlic aioli and smoked bacon
  • Grilled and chilled artichoke hearts with Romesco sauce
  • Creamy artichoke and dark chocolate cake pop
  • Orange iced tea with orange pearls

Garlic Kissed

  • Grilled beef tenderloin slider with chimichurri sauce
  • Black garlic soy-braised pork belly bao with pickled vegetables
  • Garlic-rosemary and avocado oil ice cream pop

Olive Us

  • Chilled Cioppino soup with shrimp, crab claw and grilled olive bread
  • Warm olive focaccia with olive oil and sea salt
  • Vanilla bean crème fraîche panna cotta with Amarena cherry jus and EVOO madeleine

California Craft Brews

  • Southern California flight
  • Northern California flight

Bacon Twist

  • Baby iceberg and heirloom tomato wedge with peppered bacon and blue cheese dressing
  • Smoked bacon mac and cheese with barbecue-seasoned crispy onions
  • Maple-bacon Whoopie Pie

Seafood…Sustained

  • Verlasso® sustainable salmon tataki with avocado-wasabi puree and Furikake dust
  • Cage-free cream cheese deviled eggs with farm-raised smoked trout and chives
  • Passion fruit posset and coconut chia with mango compote and jelly
  • Mango agua fresca

Lemon Grove

  • Roasted cauliflower and Meyer lemon-infused Dannon Oikos® Greek nonfat yogurt cauliflower puree with sundried tomatoes and fried capers
  • Duck confit on potato smash with Meyer lemon preserves
  • Meyer lemon macaron with blueberry marmalade, Meyer lemon cream and blueberry dust
  • Cherry lemonade with cherry pearls

Off the Cob

  • Sweet corn nuggets with beef chili, spring onions and sour cream
  • Jackfruit carnitas banh mi nachos with cilantro crèma and “pickled” de gallo
  • Roasted sweet corn custard tart with honey tuille and smoked chili-infused chocolate sauce

The Onion Lair

  • French onion mac and cheese topped with parmesan crumble and chives
  • Braised Wagyu beef on creamy polenta with haricot vert and red onion salad and roasted Cipollini onion
  • Chocolate-hazelnut and raspberry Feuillete tart
  • Strawberry pineapple float with vanilla ice cream and strawberry pearls

Sweet & Sourdough

  • Bay shrimp Louie salad served in a mini Boudin sourdough boule
  • White cheddar lager soup topped with bacon, served in a mini Boudin sourdough boule
  • Milk chocolate sourdough bread pudding with vanilla bean sauce

LA Style

  • Chicken Teriyaki slider with spicy Dole® pineapple jam
  • Korean barbecue beef short rib tacos with Kimchi slaw
  • Fresh strawberry compote, lemon verbena and vanilla bean shortcake parfait
  • Dole® Pineapple-strawberry Float with vanilla ice cream and strawberry pearls

Paradise Gardens

The Paradise Gardens have been transformed for the event into the Festival Beer Garden.

Paradise Garden Grill Beer Garden Menu

  • Beer-battered cod served with steak fries, sweet slaw and spiced remoulade
  • Potato and cheese pierogis with vegetarian sausage served with grilled Anaheim chilies, caramelized onions and sour cream
  • Beer-braised pork tacos served with pickled apple slaw, black beans and queso
  • Sausage platter trio served with braised red cabbage and warm potato salad
  • Large soft pretzel served with beer-mustard dipping sauce
  • Salted caramel budino with vanilla bean Chantilly cream
  • Bienenstich cake with honey-glazed almonds, filled with vanilla bean custard

Beer and Beer

You can find beer at the Paradise Gardens under the covered area in the dining area. You can also still get beer at the regular location with its regular menu.

Tables were removed in the Paradise Gardens area in favor of communal picnic tables and benches. The gazebo is also hosting more tables and more standing tables were also added.

Annual Passholder Exclusives

Inbetween Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta and the Paradise Garden Grill, there’s once again an AP exclusive area that includes a photo-op, a button freebie, recipe cards, and more.

Sip and Savor 2017

For $45, Annual Passholders can get the 2017 Sip and Savor Pass which includes 8 tabs that allow one item from one of 8 Festival Marketplace locations.

When you redeem a coupon tab, you get a button at each location. That means you’re paying $5.62 for EIGHT items. Not a bad deal considering many offerings range between $4.25 and $7.75 for food items. Your mileage will vary depending on what you order!

More to Enjoy

Free AP button!

Presentations

There are several areas setup in the park for guests to take in some great learnings from experts in the fields of food, wine, and beer.

FESTIVAL SHOWPLACE

Located at Stage 17 in Hollywood Land is home to separate cost culinary demonstrations and beer education and tasting seminars.

BACKLOT STAGE

Located in Hollywood Land is home to free culinary and lifestyle demonstrations seminars.

SONOMA TERRACE

Located at the Golden Vine Winery is home to wine education and tasting seminars.

About the Presentations

Star Talent

Celebrity chefs scheduled to appear during the Festival include Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, Duff Goldman, Emily Ellyn and Keegan Gerhard. Of course access to these famous culinary celebs will be part of extra cost offerings.

Separate Cost: Signature Events

Signature Events, which require a separate ticket, include “In the Kitchen with …” on Saturdays from 6 to 7 p.m., Sweet Sundays on select Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and Winemaker or Brewmaster Dinners Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

  • Culinary Demonstrations (presented daily throughout the Festival) – Guests will enjoy 30-minute culinary demonstrations presented by local, visiting and Disney chefs. Each demo will focus on a single recipe, ingredient or cooking style. Guests will receive a tasting sample of the dish prepared.
  • Wine, Beer or Spirits Education and Tasting Seminars (presented daily throughout the Festival) – Beverage seminars presented by industry experts will enlighten guests who want to learn more about their favorite spirits. Each 30- to 45-minute seminar will focus on a specific beverage type, region or label, and guests will enjoy tasting samples of some of the beverages discussed.

Free Events

Many of the Festival events are included with admission to Disney California Adventure. Guests who want to add the Signature Events may purchase separate tickets at an additional fee for:

  • “In the Kitchen with …” – Each Celebrity Chef will lead a 60-minute culinary demonstration and Q&A followed by an autograph session. The experience includes a tasting of some of the prepared dishes.
  • Sweet Sundays – A 90-minute culinary demonstration focuses on the sweet side of the culinary arts. Following a light breakfast and a sparkling toast, the Guest Chef for that day will demonstrate up to three recipes. Guests will enjoy samples from the chefs.
  • Winemaker Dinners and Brewmaster Dinners – A four-course dinner features wines and winemakers or beers and brewmasters. Wine or beer selections will be paired with courses created by the Disney Executive Chef Team and each winemaker or brewmaster will speak on the libation and the pairing.

Entertainment

Rounding out the experiences for the Festival there’s a bunch of experiences and musical offerings.

Jr. Chef

Chef Lily and Chef Goofy get the help of Jr. Chefs to make some Oatmeal Raisin cookies in the Magic Oven.

Paradise Park

Entertainment acts to be seen here include Tomasina (rock and roll), SMITH (pop-country), and Phat Cat Swinger (west coast swing).

Paradise Garden Bandstand

Entertainment acts to be seen here include Mariachi Divas, M-Pact (a capella pop-jazz), Faultlines (indie folk, pop trio), Quattrosound (classical, jazz fusion quartet), Streetlight Cadence (alternative folk-pop).

Merchandise

Disney California Food and Wine Festival 2017 Merch

These wine colored tees are AP-exclusives. The other items shown here are available for anyone including the items below…

More Food Merch

Festival Merch Locations

Event merchandise can be found around the parks but there’s a few guaranteed places to score event-specific merchandise: Hollywood Land near Backlot Stage, Paradise Park near Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, and inside Stage 17 at the Festival Showcase.

Carts and Vendors

Various vendors are selling their wares including Temecular Olive Oil Company, Saucy LIps, Gourmet Blends, and Rinse.

Around the Festival

Welcome Center

Festival Marketplace Booths

Taste for Yourself

The Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival runs daily this year from March 10 through April 16 and will feature many free events as well as ticketed events with celebrity chefs.

Author: Joey Inigo

I have been a part of MouseInfo.com since 2003. I enjoy visiting the Happiest Place on Earth and am happy to talk about Disney Parks all day long.

Share This Post On

Share your thoughts