Previously, we took a look at all of the best new dishes at this year’s Flower & Garden Festival, and today, I’m back to give you the dish on all the returning favorites from several booths around World Showcase. Let’s take a look at which of your festival faves are back this year and better than ever…
Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market
- Potato Pancake with Caramelized Ham, Onions, and Herb Sour Cream
- Warm Cheese Strudel with Mixed Berries
Though this year’s potato pancake is a little less crispy than last year, this dish makes for a pretty substantial snack or light meal with all the sweet caramelized onions and the fresh and bright sour cream. The warm cheese strudel served topped with mixed berry sauce is huge and satisfying – think of it as cheese Danish, crispy pastry and all, upgraded. I’m definitely happy to see these two family-friendly, satisfying dishes back for this year’s festival.
- Pear Cider-Brined Shredded Corned Beef with Braised Cabbage and Branston Dressing with Pears
This dish isn’t a looker, but it is very tasty – the pear cider brings a bit of sweetness to the typically over-salted shredded corned beef, which pairs perfectly with the sweet and slightly sour braised cabbage. This isn’t going to be a mass appeal dish – if you’re not a fan of corned beef and cabbage normally, this probably won’t convert you to loving it, but if you’re looking for a perfect taste of St. Paddy’s Day traditional fare, this is a great stop.
Fleur de Lys
- Canard Confit Aux Gnocchi à la Parisienne: Braised Duck Confit with Parisian Gnocchi
Whenever France brings a duck dish to a festival, it’s a must-try for me. A few years ago, they had an awesome duck dish at Flower & Garden, and this is very reminiscent of it in flavor. Here, you deal with less fuss, though, as the confit is served fully pulled off the bone, swimming in a beautifully rich, almost bourgignon-esque gravy, atop herbaceous gnocchi. I could’ve eaten ten of these dishes, honestly, though it’s luxurious and heavy enough you’ll only need one to satisfy a light appetite.
- Carne Guisada with Black Bean Cake and Cilantro Lime Sour Cream
- Key Lime Tart with Toasted Meringue
- Watermelon Cucumber Slushy with Tamiami Florida Gin (Non-alcoholic option available)
Foiled again by the crowds of early festival season, I came to this booth to sample the shrimp and grits only to find they were out of them for the moment. So instead, I gave the updated Carne Guisada and key lime tart a shot, and was pleasantly surprised by both. The black bean cake under the pulled beef is slightly mushy still (I’d prefer a crispier texture for a bit of contrast), but it has a ton of fresh herb flavors packed into it. The beef was fork tender, tons of acid and sweet balancing out the flavor, with a lovely pico-esque relish on top accompanying the cooling cilantro lime sour cream. This dish perfectly matches with the now-more-sour watermelon cucumber slushy (non-alcoholic version), which tasted like a slightly sweeter, lighter version of a frozen lemonade. (I was a fan!) The key lime tart sees a new shape and crust this year, which makes it much easier to eat, though the tart key lime flavor is a bit muted by the abundance of sweet meringue on top now.
- Frushi: Fresh Pineapple, Strawberry, and Melon rolled with Coconut Rice, sprinkled with Toasted Coconut and Whipped Cream with Raspberry Sauce on the side (V)
Frushi is a must-try for so many Flower & Garden Festival guests, with its fun form and flavors enticing kids and kids-at-heart alike. Personally, I find the rolls a little sweet, with the sushi rice being more generically sweet than coconut in flavor, but I understand the appeal and it’s a fun way to introduce the food form to newcomers.
- Beef Tenderloin Tips, Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce, Whipped Potatoes, with Garden Vegetables
- New! Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato
- Maple Popcorn Shake with Crown Royal Maple Whisky (Non-alcoholic option available)
As promised, I circled back around to the Northern Bloom booth to sample the new maple pound cake with peach compote, which was TOTALLY worth the extra walking. Holy moly, this dessert is probably my new favorite of the festival. The buttery pound cake takes on an extra layer of savory-sweet flavor when caramelized on the griddle, which helps tone down the natural sweetness of the peach compote (think: the best peach pie filling you’ve ever had) and the buttery sweet-in-flavor-and-name corn gelato. This did, indeed, pair perfectly with the maple popcorn shake – a sweet and slightly savory treat that is a great dessert on its own. Another returning favorite from this booth sure to satisfy those who prefer simple meat and potatoes dishes is the beef tenderloin tips – similar in flavor and look to pot roast and brown gravy, picky eaters may find comfort in this dish, which is still prepared well. The beef isn’t overdone, and the carrots and potatoes served alongside the mushroom-speckled beef and gravy are classic accompaniments.
The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews
- Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider with Garlic Sausage, Chorizo, Cheddar Fondue, and House-made Pickle
- Warm Chocolate Cake with Bourbon-Salted Caramel Sauce and Spiced Pecans (V)
Still available in a regular dish, the beef brisket burnt ends makes an appearance in a new form this year, as well. Mixed with a few chunks of smoked pork belly, you can taste the brisket burnt ends on a bun now, still topped with the thick and creamy cheddar fondue, and garnished with a slice of garlic sausage and a bread and butter house pickle. I still find parts of this dish (like last year) too fatty for my liking (burnt ends typically aren’t that fatty when you get them at a standard barbeque place), but I can understand the appeal and know that this is a very popular dish. Still as satisfying as ever, the warm chocolate cake with sweet/salty bourbon caramel and spiced pecans is delectable, rich, and a great treat.
What are your festival favorites this year? Let me know in the comments below!