Friday, April 29, 2016

DCA Food and Wine Festival Report

Welcome to the Food and Wine Festival!

We had been waiting for the Return of the DCA Food and Wine Festival since it first went away during the construction of Carsland around 5 years ago.   It became a yearly tradition to go to the festival and we were super sad when it went away.  Until its departure it had been growing each year—and the hope was that it would eventually rival Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.    

Here is our Report of what we liked and didn’t like about the Festival and where it could be improved on if it returns next year.
The Bad

The only complaint I had about the Festival –was the availability to book a Beer or Wine Seminar.    I read the Disney Parks blog regularly and when I noticed that they were bringing back the Festival I was super excited.   The Blog mentioned that more details would be coming soon, but they never announced a date of when you would be able to reserve seminars   --which were limited to a small number of people.      Reserving the seminars and the fact that they now charged for them was a change from the old Food and Wine Festival.   Previously you would just line up early and if you got a wrist band you were in.   Paying wasn’t a problem (you would pay for a similar Wine Tasting at any Wine venue).    The lack of an announcement as to when they would be available was frustrating –because all of sudden everything was online already and at first I couldn’t reserve a spot for anything which was disappointing.    I kept checking back for days and finally found one Wine Seminar that we could arrange.      So hopefully next year they will give better notice about what seminars are available and when they will be available.

The Good
The Marketplace.   I personally thought the Food Marketplace was done really well.   They had little building representing different sections of California –that offered limited time only Food Offerings.   The buildings lined the parade route from just past Carthay Circle down to near Little Mermaid.

I’m sure this works even better at Epcot since it is more spread out, but I still thought it was effective, even even crammed all in one section.

Here is what we sampled.   

The Triple Cheese Mac with Smoked Chicken was great.  They had me a Three Cheese.

The Artichoke chips that my wife tried were a disappointment.  Not only did they look nothing like the picture...they tasted bland.

Up next was the Brewhouse.  
The Brewhouse offered a choice of 2 beer flights.  
We tried the Southern California Flight. 

The Fight comes with a card showing what you are tasting.
Our favorite was the Karl Strauss Columbia Street Amber

Then it was off to the item I had been wanting since seeing the signage a few quick weeks ago when I was in the parks with my step daughter.

The White Cheddar Ale Soup with Bacon.  My wife said that she will try and make this at home it was so good.

Then we decided we would hang out at our favorite Wine spot in the park the Alfresco Lounge.    We were the first in line about 30 minutes before it opened.   (We were shocked that it didn’t open until 2pm during the Food and Wine Festival)

The worst words you can read when you want your Risotto Bites.

Once it opened it filled up instantly.   We enjoyed the relaxing view and had our favorite Risotto Bites and some Bruschetta.

I still think the Alfresco Lounge is one of the Hidden Treasures of DCA

We had some time to kill until our Wine Seminar so we headed down to watch the Jungle Book 4-D Sneak Peek.  Then we wanderedover for our Seminar in the Sonoma Terrace section of DCA.

The Seminar we attended was for Eden Canyon Vineyards which features handcrafted wines using minimal intervention.

We aren't huge red wine fans,  but the selections were pretty good. The  2008 "Presente" Dessert Wine was our favorite.   It was like having a chocolate ganche treat.   If I had know ahead of time we should have stopped at Ghiradellis beforehand and grabbed a Chocolate to pair with it.   We would have bought a bottle --but they had already sold out of what they had brought to the festival.

One of the great things about Wine Seminars is that each one is kind of unique as each Wine maker has a different and unique story to tell.  Eden Canyon Vineyards is a small production Winery that bottles about 2,000 cases a year.  Some of their wines our featured at several restaurants on the Disney Property such as Napa Rose and Steakhouse 55

 Here is the link to Eden Canyon Wines.

Overall the DCA Food and Wine Festival was good and I hope it returns.   I would like to see the return of the "TASTE" event that they had  previously. That event was a ticketed indoor event that incorporated entertainment, Wines and Food with Celebrity chefs. They should also bring back the Wine passports they had previously which was a great way to sample a bunch of different wines.    They also had some free culinary and lifestyle demonstrations which we skipped this time around that were interesting.   There was a Star Wars recipes one that I definitely would have visited if it hadn't been on a different weekend.  And of course the Celebrity chef demonstrations (which were out of our price range -since we had to renew our passes).

This weekend  April 29th - May 1st is the last weekend to go.  Check it out.

My Disney Facebook page is here

And our Wine Facebook Page is Here

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