Thursday, February 19, 2015

2015 Busch Gardens Williamsburg Food & Wine Festival Preview and Menu Details!


Well, not too long after announcing the new countries for this year's Food & Wine Festival, Busch Gardens Williamsburg released the menus for this year's event that runs on weekends (Friday-Sunday) from May 22nd thru June 28th. However, we don't quite have everything, as East Asia and The French Quarter haven't been updated with their offerings as of this writing, so stay tuned for those.

As said before, pretty much the same line up is returning from last year, with the exception of Belgium, since that's been axed. From what I can gather, the menu really hasn't changed up that much from the returning countries either. Not that it's a bad thing, you can check out what we thought of things from last year, and if feeling frisky, our 2013 review. Now there are some differences and some things that look really interesting to try, but so far it's looking par for the course.

We've had nearly everything that they've offered since we've been attending the event since it's innagural year back in 2013. Some of the things surprised and some met our expectations perfectly. It's always an interesting experience no matter how you slice it. So, again, since not much has changed, we can give a little more insight to the offerings and hope that you find them helpful if you go before our official review is out later this year. 

So, that all said, let's get on with looking at what the park will be offering for the 2015 Food & Wine Festival. This year has a total of 14 countries, but two still a mystery, here's the 12 that we do know of! First up? The American Southwest.


The American Southwest

Not much new here from what I can tell, and recall from last year, but that's alright. We really enjoyed quite a few things from here and am happy that a few favorites have returned.

Definitely not going to complain with the lava cake and spiced pork back on the menu at all. Those two were huge favorites with all of us back in 2014 and I know that we'll be after them again this year.

Chicken Adobo with Sauce Mole
Southwestern-marinated chicken with chili chocolate sauce

Fish Taco
Chili-spiced tilapia with red cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and cilantro-lime sauce

Sonoran Spice Pork
Spice-rubbed pork tenderloin with jicama-chayote slaw and sweet pepper salsa

Chocolate Lava Cake 
Fudge brownie cake with molten Ancho-chile chocolate filling

Beer
Harpoon UFO Big Squeeze Shandy
Shiner Bock®
Sweet Josie Brown Ale

Wine
Bloom Riesling
Rockbridge Pinot Noir

Canada

Again, not much has changed here either. Pretty much the same as it's been since the first event back in 2013. However, the venison sausage, definitely a good thing to have around and their perry (pear cider) is quite good as well.

I know that I won't be complaining too much about making a stop here, or hanging around a little longer since a few other countries are in the vicinity, to have either of those things.

Cheddar & Lager Chowder
Sharp cheddar and Canadian lager chowder with smoked paprika oil

Macaroni & Cheese with Peameal Bacon
Creamy mac and cheese with cornmeal-crusted Canadian bacon

Venison Sausage & Corn Porridge
Wood-fired venison sausage and creamy polenta with apple cider and caramelized onions

Pumpkin Caramel Mousse
Spiced-pumpkin mousse with caramel, topped with maple syrup

Beer
Buckshot Amber Ale
Moosehead®
Wyder’s® Dry Pear Cider

Wine
Château Lagrange Red Bordeaux
Ice Wine
Louis Laurent Vouvray

The Caribbean

Really not surprised this one is returning for 2015 at all, it was easily one of the most popular kiosks during 2014. So much so that they were running out of things every now and then. I will say that this one kind of left us a little iffy on a couple of the offerings, but the jerk chicken and cocktails are good.

Here's to hoping they've fixed the fritters as they weren't really the greatest last year.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jerk-marinated chicken drumsticks with guava barbecue and grilled pineapple salsa

Gamba Fritters
Caribbean fried shrimp dumpling with pickapeppa dip

Heart of Palm Salad
Palm hearts with black beans, shrimp and citrus cilantro vinaigrette

Tres Leche con Mermelada de Piña
Sweet cream cake with pineapple-citrus marmalade

Beer
Red Stripe®
Harpoon Summer Ale
Heavy Seas Loose Cannon
SweetWater Blue
LandShark

Cocktails
Frozen Bushwacker
Frozen Caribbean Sunset

Coffee & Crêpes

While we were a little upset over the menu change last year, we found ourselves really happy with the replacements that they had in store for us. That said, once again, this year is (like everything else so far) the exact same as it was.

A little dissappointing since they were able to surprise us, but hey, not going to complain too much here.

Brie et Marmelade d’Orange Crêpe
Brie cheese and orange marmalade crêpe with whipped cream

Champignons et épinards Crêpe

Roasted mushroom and spinach crêpe with feta cheese and balsamic glaze

Chocolat de Noisette et de Banane Crêpe
Crêpe stuffed with hazelnut-chocolate spread and bananas

Poulet Cordon Bleu Crêpe
Braised chicken and ham crêpe with Swiss cheese and dijonnaise sauce

Beer
Kronenbourg 1664®
Stella Artois®

Wine
Casteggio Moscato
Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages
Louis Bernard Côtes de Rhône

Cocktails
Frangelico®

France

This was another one that we were, amazingly, happy with last year. The first year, the offerings didn't really thrill us, but in 2014, there wasn't a thing on the menu that we didn't like. That's shocking with our crew to say the least. This is easily one of the best stops on the worldwide tour for sure.

Definitely try the Steak au Poivre and Ratatouille at the very least, both were excellent!

Coq au Vin
Red wine-braised chicken stew with rosemary roasted potatoes

Steak au Poivre
Peppercorn-crusted beef sirloin with brandy cream sauce

Tomates Farcies à la Ratatouille
Tomato stuffed with roasted vegetables and topped with parmesan bread crumbs with extra virgin olive oil

Tartelette au Citron
Lemon tartlet with fresh raspberries

Beer
Kronenbourg

Wine
Georges duBoeuf Beaujolais-Villages
Louis Bernard Côtes de Rhône

Cocktails
Sparkling Raspberry

Germany

Another favorite, so much so that we've even made their curryworst at home, thanks to the park releasing the recipe. Yes, it's really that good and beer lovers will also really appreciate this one as they have a few good ones available.

Really would like to see this one changed up though, it's been the same for the past three years and while the beer selection has changed some, not much else has.

Currywurst
Knockwurst with curry-spiced tomato ketchup and roasted potatoes

Schinken Nudel
German-style noodle bake with cured ham and cheese

Schnitzelwich
Pork schnitzel slider with sliced lemon and caper sauce

Linzer Torte
Traditional pastry of spiced cookie crust with ground nuts, lemon zest and raspberry filling

Beer
König Pilsener
Paulaner
German Beer Flight: Beck's, Bitburger, Köstritzer and Spaten Optimator

Wine
Affentaler Pinot Noir Spátburgunder Rosé
White Hall Gewürztraminer

Greece

This is one that we didn't stop at last year. Mostly because of it's odd placement and the fact that not much had changed from the first year in 2013. Either way, things really haven't changed here either, but if it's anything similar to what we had two years ago, it's still all really good!

The only thing we haven't tried is the hummus, but that's mostly because we're pretty full by the time we reach this one.

Greek Dip Trio - Served with pita chips
Roasted garlic hummus
Pasta eliás - kalamata olive puree
Tirokafteri - feta dip

Halloumi
Griddled Greek cheese with clover honey and crushed pistachios

Souvlaki Tzatziki
Marinated roasted pork and sweet pepper skewer with cucumber, dill and yogurt sauce

Salata
Traditional Greek salad with lemon oregano vinaigrette and crispy pita chip

Baklava
Sweet pastry with nuts and honey between thin crispy filo pastry layers

Wine
Elios Mediterranean Red
Elios Mediterranean White

Cocktails
Ouzo

Ireland

This is, I think, the only place we haven't gotten any food from in the past two years that we've been going to the event. I'm not sure why, but I think it's mostly because we tend to be in Ireland early in the morning. At that point we're more interested in our liquid breakfast of Guinness or cider.

Yeah, that has to be it, either way, it's also, interestingly enough, the country with the smallest menu of the lot as well. With Grogan's being right across the way though, it's really not that surprising either.

The food there is already so good, that I'm not sure what exactly they'd add for the kiosk outside of what they do have. Again, it would be nice to see a little more from this as it's the third year, but I'm sure that everything is just as good.

Bangers with Colcannon
Irish sausage with potato cabbage casserole & Guinness® brown sugar gravy

Irish Cheese Sampling
Sage Derby, Blarney Castle Cheese, & Dubliner Cheese with apple-raisin chutney and cream crackers

Beer
Guinness®
Magner’s
Smithwick’s™

Italy

Another one of our favorites and that has to do with the fact not only are the canoli out of this world, but they have the real deal with it comes to Lemoncello. Straight from Italy by one of the best distillers of the stuff at that.

It's hard to go wrong, and while it's mostly light fare, that's not so bad on a hot day. It's also a nice little break from the heavier foods from other places too.

Italian Bites
Caprese, Giardiniera, Artichoke Hearts and Stuffed Olives

Tiramisu
Italian parfait with sweetened mascarpone cheese, layered with espresso-soaked lady fingers

Cannoli
Crispy pastry shell, filled with sweetened ricotta cheese and chocolate chips

Panna Cotta
Vanilla cream pudding, served with strawberries

Beer
Peroni Nastro Azzurro®

Wine
Enza Prosecco
Octave Vinho Verde

Cocktails
Limoncello

Scandinavia

Okay, this one, located in the Ireland section of the park is very surprising as well. We've enjoyed everything that we've had here but the Krumkake and the Dirty Shirley stick out as things that can't be missed. Not that the meatballs are bad, quite the contrary, but those other two? Just wow.

It's a good little stop and this year, definitely going to give the Smørrebrød a go!

Gravad Lax Rarakor
Cured salmon on a potato pancake with sweet mustard and dill sauce

Kӧttbullar
Swedish meatballs braised in cream sauce with Lingonberry jam

Smørrebrød

Open-faced roast beef sandwich on dark rye bread with horseradish and pickled red onions

Krumkake
Norwegian waffle cone cookie, served with hazelnut cream and tart berry pudding

Wine
Ingleside Cabernet Merlot
Ingleside Chardonnay

Cocktails
Frozen Dirty Shirley





Scotland

Okay, this one is definitely one of our favorites. Mostly because the ginger beer is perfect when it's really hot out and pretty awesome on it's own, but scotch eggs? Swoon, those things are just delicious. I just wish they gave a bit more as a whole one isn't really that big of a portion, but ya take what you can get.

Either way, it's always good to see this one back and the Shepherd's Pie is pretty epic stuff as well!

Rumbledethumps
Mashed tatties, neeps and cabbage casserole topped with cheddar cheese

Scottish Egg
Breaded, sausage-wrapped, hard-boiled egg with sweet and spicy mustard sauce

Shepherd’s Pie
Lamb, stewed with Port wine and rosemary, topped with a mashed potato crust

Scottish Toffee
Fudge-like toffee with almonds and chocolate

Beer
Angry Scotsman
Crabbie’s® Ginger Beer

Spain

This is another one that we really haven't eaten much at in the past. I'm not sure why that is, but maybe it's due to being full from Italy not that far down the way from it. Either way, the sangria they offer is delicious, we can attest to that one fairly well over the past couple of years.

Overall, we've heard that many do enjoy the food offerings here and maybe this year we'll finally try something other than the booze.

Chorizo Empanada
Spicy-pork sausage pastry pocket with cilantro lime cream

Gazpacho con Ceviche
Chilled tomato cucumber soup with citrus-marinated shrimp and scallop 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 and romesco sauce

Cocktails
Sangria

And there ya have it, everything we know about for this year's Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. You can be sure that we'll update this list with the two new countries, East Asia and The French Quarter, as soon as they let us know what will be on the menus there.

Also, stay tuned for our official review once the event starts and be sure to check out our coverage of the first annual Food & Wine Festival down at Busch Gardens Tampa as we'll be there to bring you all the mouth watering goodness from that in just a couple of weeks!