By ERIC HAYASHI, Rafu Contributor
ANAHEIM – Disney California Adventure started its annual Food & Wine Festival running from March 3 to April 25. During the event there are special festival apparel items, artist signings, stage shows, cooking demonstrations and of course many samplings of wines, beers, non-alcoholic drinks and food.
The Food & Wine Festival showcases California’s bounty of agriculture and mix of cultures with food and drink. The festival is geared toward the Disney adults that are considered “foodies” and are not considered an “unfavorable attendee mix.”
With an empty stomach and wanting an adventure for food, I traveled to Disney California Adventure (DCA) ready for an experience. Purchasing the Sip and Savor Pass is probably the easiest and most economical way to experience the Food & Wine Festival. The pass for $59 provides eight tabs for the food and non-alcoholic tasting samples. The pass is discounted if you have a Magic Key (annual pass).
This year I sampled many different food items and a couple drinks. There was the Glazed BBQ Pork Belly with Furikake-Togarashi Mac Salad, Petite Burrata, Cubano Slider, Kenny’s Family Cheesecake, Chili Relleno Empanada, Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Flatbread, Grilled Top Sirloin with Roasted Garlic-Gruyere Smashed Potatoes and Black Garlic Chimichurri, Carbonara-Garlic Mac & Cheese featuring Nueske’s Peppered Bacon, BBQ Beef Brisket Slider, and to wash all the food down, a Central California Cooler (peach puree, apple, orange and lemon juices garnished with an apple chip) and Blackberry-Lavender Lemonade.
Although everything I tried was not for vegans, there are many items available at the festival and I will be trying them soon.
Of everything I tasted, my favorite item was the top sirloin. However, the cheesecake paired with the blackberry-lavender lemonade was amazing and highly recommended.
Unfortunately, I was too full to try any more of the food or drinks. I was also not able to participate in any of the wine, beer or mixology education and tasting seminars this time. There is an additional charge for these seminars and they fill up fast. A reservation is required and can be completed online.
If you have children, DCA does have a new show, Alice’s Wonderland Bakery Unbirthday Party, where children (ages 3-11) decorate cupcakes. The kids decorated their cupcakes with loads of frosting, while their parents looked on from the benches.
On the weekends (Friday-Sunday), guest chefs from Disneyland Resort and local restaurants have cooking demonstrations. The attraction Soaring Over California is back for a limited time as well.
I cannot wait to go back to experience more of the Food & Wine Festival. I will definitely be trying some of the alcoholic drinks, such as the four-beer flight and Sake-Melon ’75 (sake, ginger liqueur, Prosecco, rock melon syrup, lemongrass citron puree garnished with an edible purple orchid) and some of the wines. I also want to try the Impossible Gyro Fries, Bulgogi Fried Rice and Peach-Blueberry Cobbler.
Admission to the park and a park reservation are required to attend the Food and Wine Festival.
Photos by ERIC HAYASHI