Two weeks in, the 2016 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival is still well under way. The triumphant return of the event was moderate compared to previous years offerings both in scope and scale. Still, despite running a little leaner it feels much more cohesive and better paced.
Come now as we explore 2016 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival…
Perhaps the most compelling component of the event is all the food tasting and this comes through the Festival Marketplace which is dotted along the Parade Cooridor.
An assortment of food and drink options inspired by the state of California can be found here varying in price from $3 to $8 for the food and and $10 and up for wine and beer flights and glasses.
We got to taste a few of the tantalizing options have a look below…
Pork Belly Bao Taco: $6.50. Served with pickled vegetables.
- THOUGHTS: By far the favorite thing we tasted. Unique and flavorful, a delicious fusion of flavors. Only wish the Pork Belly was a little more crispy.
Roasted Yellow Beets & Purple Haze Goat Cheese: $5.50. Served with baby greens, green Verjus, Sultanas, and Cashews.
- THOUGHTS: Delicious and refreshing. If you don’t like beets, skip this one.
Chilled Ah Poke: $7.00. Served with Avocado Creme, Wakame Salad, and Sesame Tuile.
- THOUGHTS: You know what you’re getting here for the most part. The Wakame is a crunchy and delightful companion to the ahi. The Sesame Tuile was surprisingly sweet.
Anaheim Chile & Roasted Cauliflower Burrito: $5.50. Served with Jack cheese and Avocado-lime Crema.
- THOUGHTS: Big points for uniqueness. This was surprisingly delightful. The Anaheim Chile is delicious but does slightly overpower the Roasted Cauliflower which itself was a little overcooked and soft. The extra crunch from a firmer cauliflower would have given some texture and really taken this one to the top.
Zinfandel-braised Wagyu Beef: $8.00. Served with creamy polenta and spring pea puree.
- THOUGHTS: To be brief, skip this one. Definitely not bad but there’s no unique punch to this one to warrant forking over the dough.
Blackberry Tart: $4.00. Served with Rosemary vanilla bean creme fraiche.
- THOUGHTS: Absolutely delicious. The flaky crust is soft enough to provide a delightful chew and not be messy when you bite into it. The tart berries and hint of rosemary combine rather well with the cream fraiche finish.
Meyer Lemon Macaron: $3.50. Served with Blueberry marmalade, Meyer lemon cream, and dried blueberry dust.
- THOUGHTS: A delightful surprise with the blueberry marmalade center. A great combination of flavors. But for the most part you know what you’re getting in a Macaron.
Milk Chocolate Caramel Tart: $4.25. Served with almond brittle and sea salt.
- THOUGHTS: Chocoholics and lovers of Caramel will not be disappointed in this decadent delicious dessert that hits every single note it should. Delicious and rich. Do not miss.
Several of the kiosks have attached dining areas. There’s a few other shaded and partially shaded areas to enjoy your quick eats.
The Blue Sky Cellar has become an Annual Passholder exclusive location offering air conditioning, seating, free cell charging, and the ability to purchase the $39 Festival Marketplace Tasting Passport. You can also score a free button, recipe cards, and sit to enjoy the Seasons of the Vine film that used to play inside the building as the featured attraction.
The Festival Marketplace Tasting Passport can be purchased by Annual Passholders for the newly reduced price of $39 offering the ability to get SIX items from the various kiosks. To get the most mileage, you’ll want to make sure you’re using it for items that cost at least $6.50. You can see the full menu with prices here to see if it will be worth it for you.
There’s several ways to learn about cooking during the festival including demos on food and alcohol from industry experts and celebrities.
Located at the Hollywood Studios stage, you can watch industry professionals provide pointers and tips for cooking like the best. Each session is approximately 30 minutes long. No samples are provided.
Beyond the Kitchen: Lifestyle Seminars
It’s mostly standing room only at the former Mad T Party stage where a wide range of topics including gardening, wellness, art, entertaining and more.
Located at Stage 17, you can see various celebrity chefs in cooking demonstration presentations. Reservations and additional fees do apply.
Located at the Sonoma Terrace at the Golden Vine Winery you can attend different educational tasting seminars. Reservations and additional fees do apply.
There’s a few carts through out the park that offer various food, lifestyle, and wellness products and goods. There’s also a few ODV carts offering regular park standbys including drinks, ice cream, and more.
There’s tons of shopping options as Disney’s turned the Hollywood Land “Studio Store” into Food & Wine central for merchandise that’s both event-specific and also regular Disney merchandise related to cooking.
Disney is offering Food & Wine Festival Gift Card wristbands that can be loaded for as low as $15. It creates a quick way to pay at the kiosks without having to whip out your wallet or smart phone.