Thursday, May 22, 2014

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Food & Wine Preview



Well, this is something that I do over on my own site, but I figured that this year's Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens Williamsburg was deserving of one as well! Not only does this year's event feature a couple of new areas of the world to sample food from, but the folks at Busch Gardens have decided to make it last a couple of weekends longer too. This year's event starts May 23rd and runs every Friday-Sunday through June 29th. That's a win for everyone right there.

The event features some amazing food and drinks from around the world, but also things like the Art of Food, Wine on the Rhine cruises and other special events throughout the run that make it truly something that nearly everyone that enjoys food can have fun with. If you can't, then there's probably something wrong with you. There's even insider tours that take you behind the scenes to show off how it's all put together and even more intimate wine tasting sessions as well.

Now, last year we attended the first annual Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens and have to say that we were extremely surprised and loved everything that we got a chance to try over the course of a weekend. Check out our review from last year if you want some suggestions for this year too, but the fact that they've added even more for this year is really great to see and definitely hoping this one sticks around for a long time.

So, without further ado, here's the list of everything that's new and everything that's coming for 2014. First up? Let's see what the new areas have in store for everyone.


American Southwest
The first new area for this year is the American Southwest. While not something that you'd expect to find within a park that's mostly dedicated to foreign cultures, it's addition is definitely welcome as the region features an extreme wide and diverse culinary background. So, it's not as big of a stretch, though I could think of a few more areas that would be welcome for the event, so here's to hoping they add them in the future!

So, what's on the menu? Glad ya asked!

Food Options:
  • Chicken Mole Adobo
    Southwestern marinated chicken with chili chocolate sauce
  • Fish Taco
    Chili-spiced tilapia with red cabbage slaw & sweet pepper salsa
  • Sonoran Spice Pork
    Chili-spiced, rubbed pork tenderloin with jicama-chayote slaw, sweet pepper, cilantro & lime salsa
  • Chocolate Lava Cake
    Fudge brownie cake with molten Ancho-spiced chocolate filling
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Harpoon UFO Big Squeeze Shandy
    Shiner Bock®
    Sweet Josie Brown Ale
  • Wine
    Bloom Riesling
    Rockbridge Pinot Noir 
 Next, we'll head to the other new region that's being featured this year, the Carribbean!

The Caribbean
Another region of the world that has seen countless infusions from other countries, the Caribbean is a mix of many flavors, tastes and cultures. One that definitely suits the summer and some really awesome food.

This one, I personally approve of as there are so many great dishes that can be found in the islands and from the looks of the menu that's been put together? They haven't forgotten that fact either!

Food Options:
  • Jamaican Jerk Chicken
    Jerk-marinated chicken drumsticks with guava barbecue & grilled pineapple salsa
  • Gamba Fritters
    Caribbean fried shrimp dumpling with pickapeppa dip
  • Heart of Palm Salad
    Palm hearts with black beans, shrimp & citrus cilantro vinaigrette
  • Tres Leche con Mermelada de Piña
    Sweet cream cake with pineapple marmalade
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Red Stripe®
  • Cocktails
    Frozen Bushwacker
    Frozen Caribbean Sunset 
Now for the returning favorites, of which there are definitely many to be had. First up though, one that I notice has had a big change from the offerings that were there last year. 

Coffee & Crepes (France)
Last year, the Coffee & Crepes stand (located in France) offered a much more desert/brunch kind of menu. It was very sweet, but also extremely delicious.

I'm not entirely sure why they've changed the formula for this year, but it's definitely an intriguing set of items that they've come up. While many of them don't sound as appealing as last year's, only time will tell on just how well they're received.

Food Options:
  • Asperges et Fromage de Chèvre Crêpe
    Asparagus & goat cheese crêpe with balsamic glaze
  • Brie et Marmelade d’Orange Crêpe
    Brie cheese & orange marmalade crêpe with whipped cream
  • Champignons et épinards Crêpe
    Roasted mushroom & spinach crêpe with feta cheese & balsamic glaze
  • Chocolat de Noisette et de Banane Crêpe
    Crêpe stuffed with hazelnut-chocolate spread & bananas
  • Poulet Cordon Bleu Crêpe
    Braised chicken & ham crêpe with Swiss cheese & dijonnaise sauce
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Kronenbourg 1664®
    Stella Artois®
  • Wine
    Casteggio Moscato
    Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages
    Louis Bernard Côtes de Rhône
  • Cocktails
    Frangelico® 
 Belgium
Next up on the list, Belgium. Known by beer afficiandos the world over for having some of the very best, it's no wonder that's the main feature for this area once again.

While it is home to some very heavy beers, you may want to keep the temperatures in mind when you visit. Heavy beer+hot don't always mix well and could leave you sidelined for a while to get back to normal!

However, there's a couple desert items here that sound awesome too!

Food Options:
  • Belgian Beer Pairing Sampler
    Belgian-style chocolate with orange essence, coriander toasted hazelnuts & Edam Cheese
  • Huis van Lum Chocolate Wafel
    House of Lum’s rich, chocolate walnut brownie waffle with berry compote
  • Wafel met Waterzooi
    Belgian yeast waffles, topped with chicken stew
Drink Options:
  • Beer Flight:
    Leffe® Blonde
    Hoegaarden®
    Stella Artois®
    Wittekerke  
Canada
Canada, one might not think of great culinary wonders, but the offerings here are really great. That doesn't even get into the fact that the Perry (pear cider) that they have goes great with the venison sausage.

Either way, I'm glad to see this one coming back and it just won't be the same if it wasn't located right outside of Trappers! It's also great to see that some new additions have been made to this location as well.

Food Options:
  • Cheddar & Lager Chowder
    Sharp cheddar & Canadian lager chowder with smoked paprika oil
  • Macaroni & Cheese with Peameal Bacon
    Creamy mac & cheese with cornmeal-crusted Canadian bacon
  • Venison Sausage & Corn Porridge
    Wood-fired venison sausage & creamy polenta with apple cider & caramelized onions
  • Pumpkin Caramel Mousse
    Crème brûlée-style custard, flavored with pumpkin & caramel
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Buckshot Amber Ale
    Moosehead®
    Wyder’s® Dry Pear Cider
  • Wine
    Château Lagrange Red Bordeaux
    Ice Wine
    Louis Laurent Vouvray 
France
Considered by many as one of the greatest food countries in the world, this area is no exception. While I'm not personally a huge fan of French food, a few of these sound pretty good actually.

Last year we only tried one of their frozen champagne cocktails here, but maybe one of us will get a little more adventurous this time around. Either way, this spot located right next to the Griffon gift shop, is definitely a popular one with folks!

Food Options:
  • Coq au Vin
    Red wine-braised chicken stew with rosemary roasted potatoes
  • Moules à la Crème et à l’estragon
    Mussels, simmered in tarragon cream with a toasted baguette
  • Steak au Poivre
    Peppercorn-crusted beef sirloin with brandy cream sauce
  • Tomates Farcies à la Ratatouille
    Tomato stuffed with roasted vegetables & topped with parmesan bread crumbs with extra virgin olive oil
  • Tartelette au Citron
    Lemon tartlet
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Kronenbourg
  • Wine
    Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages
    Louis Bernard Côtes de Rhône
  • Cocktails
    Sparkling Raspberry 
Germany
Germany is home to not one, but two different locations. One of them featuring some awesome food and deserts, the other the beer. I mean come one, you can't think Germany and not think beer, right?

This was easily one of our favorite stops last year and by the looks of it, it probably will be up there again this year. Offering both comfort foods and a couple of lessor known things, it's got something for everyone!

Food Options:
  • Currywurst
    Knockwurst with curry-spiced tomato ketchup & roasted potatoes
  • Schinken Nudel
    German-style noodle bake with cured ham & cheese
  • Schnitzelwich
    Pork schnitzel slider with sliced lemon & caper sauce
  • Linzer Torte
    Traditional Austrian pastry of spiced cookie crust with ground nuts, lemon zest & raspberry filling
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    König Pilsener
    Paulaner
  • Wine
    Affentaler Pinot Noir Spátburgunder Rosé
    White Hall Gewürztraminer 
But, as mentioned, that's not all! There's a whole other kiosk that's just for the beer, so on with the hops and barley!

Even more Drink Options!:
  • Beer Flight Option 1
    Beck’s
    Bitburger
    Köstritzer
    Spaten Optimator
  •  Beer Flight Option 2
    Finch’s Beer Company's Secret Stache Stout
    Heritage Brewing Company's Kings Mountain
    Devils Backbone Brewing Company's Schwartz Bier
    Wild Wolf Brewing Company's Blonde Hunny
Greece
Now for Greece! Tons of good stuff here and located right across from Escape from Pompeii, it helps to break the area up a little and make sure that you don't have to go too far between kiosks too.

Definitely have to recommend the baklava and kabobs here, they were both awesome last year and I'm sure that hasn't changed for this year at all either. If you're feeling frisky, wash it down with some Ouzo too!

Food Options:
  • Greek Dip Trio- Served with pita chips
    Roasted garlic hummus
    Pasta elias- kalamata olive puree
    Tirokafteri- feta dip
  • Halloumi
    Griddled Greek cheese with clover honey & crushed pistachios
  • Souvlaki Tzatziki
    Marinated roasted pork & sweet pepper skewer with cucumber, dill & yogurt sauce
  • Salata
    Traditional Greek salad with lemon oregano vinaigrette & crispy pita chip
  • Baklava
    Sweet pastry with nuts & honey between thin crispy filo pastry layers
Drink Options:
  • Wine
    Elios Mediterranean Red
    Elios Mediterranean White
  • Cocktails
    Ouzo
Ireland
Ah, Ireland...okay, so it's not really known for it's great culinary history or anything like that, but it does have some awesome beer and some pretty darn good cheeses at that.

That said, it's not surprising that this is one of the lighter food option areas within the park during the event. I mean, what exactly are you going to serve? Well, thankfully the chefs at Busch Gardens have managed to come up with a few things that aren't just Guinness!

Food Options:
  • Bangers with Colcannon
    Irish sausage with potato cabbage casserole & Guinness® brown sugar gravy
  • Irish Cheese Sampling vegetarian_logo
    Sage Derby, Blarney Castle Cheese, & Dubliner Cheese with apple-raisin chutney & cream crackers
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Guinness®
    Magner’s
    Smithwick’s™ 
Italy
Not only is Italy awesome for the Lemoncello that they import, but it's not like the Italians are known for bad food or anything either. Staying true to things, this was another of our favorites last year and it has nothing to do with Alex being Italian herself!

Either way, it looks like this year's line up for this kiosk is just as good as last year's and should be popular once again. Definitely give the Lemoncello a spin and the cannoli's are awesome as well!


Food Options:
  • Caprese Salad
    Fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes & spring mix, tossed with Italian vinaigrette
  • Italian Cheese Sampling
    Asiago, fontina, gorganzola, & caprino fresco
  • Italian Bites
    Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, tomato basil bruschetta, goat cheese-stuffed dried plum
  • Tiramisu
    Italian parfait with sweetened mascarpone cheese, layered with espresso-soaked lady fingers
  • Cannoli
    Crispy pastry shell, filled with sweetened ricotta cheese & chocolate chips
  • Panna Cotta
    Vanilla cream pudding, served with strawberries
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Peroni Nastro Azzurro®
  • Wine
    Enza Prosecco
    Octave Vinho Verde
  • Cocktails
    Limoncello
Scandanavia
This one was definitely odd to see even last year, but while the Krumkake was awesome and the Dirty Shirley is a really great drink, not too much on the list that we really wanted to try. That said, it was pretty popular when we passed by it in Ireland.

Not much has changed with this one from last year either, but it's hard to mess about with what people enjoy and glad to see they haven't strayed too far.

Food Options:
  • Gravad Lax Rarakor
    Cured salmon on a potato pancake with sweet mustard & dill sauce
  • Kӧttbullar
    Swedish meatballs braised in cream sauce with Lingonberry jam
  • Smørrebrød
    Open-faced roast beef sandwich on dark rye bread with horseradish & pickled red onions
  • Krumkake
    Norwegian waffle cone cookie, served with hazelnut cream & tart berry pudding
Drink Options:
  • Wine
    Ingleside Cabernet Merlot
    Ingleside Chardonnay
  • Cocktails
    Frozen Dirty Shirley
Scotland
Say what you will about Ginger Beer, but it's seriously awesome stuff on a hot day. That and Scotch Eggs. You really can't go wrong with the combo at all here in Scotland and while there's no haggis to be found, at least there's some old favorites here.

Last year I missed out on the Scotch Egg, and the Ginger Beer sold out insanely fast too, so if you want to get 'em, go early! You won't be disappointed!

Food Options:
  • Neeps & Tatties
    Roasted turnip & potato casserole, topped with cheddar cheese
  • Scottish Egg
    Breaded, sausage-wrapped hard-boiled egg with sweet & spicy mustard sauce
  • Shepherd’s Pie
    Lamb, stewed with Port wine & rosemary, topped with a mashed potato crust
  • Scottish Toffee
    Fudge-like toffee with almonds & chocolate
Drink Options:
  • Beer
    Angry Scotsman
    Crabbie’s® Ginger Beer 
Spain
Last, but definitely not least we come to Spain. We didn't try a whole lot from this one due to time and all last time around, but we heard from a few folks that it was quite good.

Either way, this year they've jazzed things up a little bit and have a few new things. So while the Sangria is awesome as it is, there's definitely something here for everyone as well. Though, I'm still not sure why hazlenut is so popular these days!

Food Options:
  • Chorizo Empanada
    Spicy pork sausage pastry pocket with cilantro lime cream
  • Gazpacho con Ceviche
    Chilled tomato cucumber soup with citrus marinated shrimp, scallop, ham & cucumber salad
  • Tapas (Small Bites Sampling)
    Paprika-roasted Marcona almonds
    Marinated olive medley
    Manchego cheese with Membrillo – quince paste
  • Venera con Jamón
    Scallop, wrapped in cured ham with saffron rice & romesco sauce
  • Hazelnut Custard
    Spanish flan custard with ground hazelnuts
Drink Options:
  • Cocktails
    Pancho Sangria

And there ya have it. Congrats if you've made it this far and if you're going to the park this weekend for the opening the Food & Wine Festival, definitely have a good time and try as much as you can! There's usually something for everyone at every kiosk and we hope to bring our coverage of the event to everyone in a couple of weeks when we visit the park!