Disney California Adventure guests are in for a treat. Over 50 treats, in fact. The park hosts its annual Food & Wine Festival through April 26, with a dozen festival markets throughout the park serving up sips and snacks that celebrate Californian flavor.
Kiosks like Garlic Kissed and Avocado Time offer small plates, cocktails and drinks inspired by California-grown ingredients like avocados, citrus fruits and peppers.
Creative dishes like frozen guacamole, an avocado paddle with lime curd, pico de gallo and chili-lime seasoning, and peanut butter and macaroni and cheese and jelly with brown sugar streusel and strawberry crackers are on the menu along with more conventional dishes.
Disney California Adventure’s culinary director, Chef Jeremiah Balogh, said whether you’re an adventurous eater or not, you can expect great food. “Sometimes we get it wrong, but we also have some amazing treats that you know very well,” Balogh said, “like avocado toast, strawberry shortcakes…but the flavors and details we have there let’s are just amazing.”
Guests over 21 can indulge in wine and mimosa thefts. Craft beers by the glass are served at the Paradise Beer Garden, located near the Paradise Garden Grill. Sonoma Terrace will feature a cocktail lounge atmosphere with mixed drinks and bar snacks.
Other highlights include soft drinks like strawberry horchata, and Balogh said customers can also expect more vegetarian options this year.
“I like that we can play around with more plant-based food offerings,” Balogh said. “We have a Greek-inspired Impossible gyroscope, and it’s 100% plant-based.”
Also available is a small avocado Impossible burger with dairy-free pepper jack and a gyro-inspired flatbread with Impossible ground beef, chipotle hummus, tzatziki and crispy chickpeas.
Guests hungry for more than one dish can pick up a Sip and Savor pass, which comes with eight tabs redeemable for selected food and soft drinks at festival markets and tasting-size portions at select restaurants.
Besides the food, the festival offers mouth-watering entertainment in the form of cooking demonstrations with Disney chefs preparing their favorite dishes and sharing cooking tips.
Presenters include members of Disney’s culinary team, like Executive Chef Chris Maggetti and Pastry Sous Chef Gracie Gomez.
“We have in-house chefs, some of our Disney chefs,” Balogh said, “and what’s exciting about that is that it gives you the opportunity to see us who might not always be on center stage if you will – we’re usually in the kitchens. We are therefore delighted to be part of it.
The event will also spotlight local chefs like Shachi Mehra, who owns an Indian restaurant, Adya, at the Anaheim Packing House. Mehra will be on the Hollywood Backlot stage in Hollywood Land on April 9, preparing a jackfruit salad with spicy shrimp.
“I’m really excited to be able to showcase Indian flavors at Disney,” Mehra said.
Mehra is no stranger to giving chef demonstrations and leading cooking classes, which she often hosts at her restaurant and has been doing virtually throughout the pandemic. She said she can’t wait to share her cooking with the wide audience that the Disney parks can attract.
“Whenever I do a demo or a course, I want people to be curious and interested enough to come out and try it out,” Mehra said. “Whether that means they’re going to buy the ingredients to make the dish or they’re going to try Indian food because it sounds really good, to be a part of that is really cool to me. And to have the opportunity to do for a Disney audience… that’s people all over the world.
Mehra said when Disney first approached her about participating, it felt like a fun experience, but also a representational opportunity.
“The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was really important,” Mehra said. “It’s really important that I represent Indian culture, I represent women, I represent the chiefs of Orange County…I do a lot of stuff up there.”
Paid dining experiences are also available for guests wishing to expand their palates, such as training and tasting seminars on wine, beer and mixology at Sonoma Terrace, taught by expert sommeliers, master brewers and mixologists or Carthay Circle winemaker receptions, with winemakers serving a rare selection of wines with hors d’oeuvres.
The icing on the Californian cake, the Soarin’ Over California attraction returns to Disney California Adventure for a limited time and offers new aerial adventures that highlight the Golden State.
You will find a complete list of dishes available at the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. on the Disney Parks website.
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