Exploring the Disney California Food and Wine Festival is as much fun, if not more, than riding all the rides Disney California Adventure has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, though. Please enjoy all that DCA has to offer. I do want you to know, however, that you could spend the entire day exploring the Food and Wine Festival and be satisfied. Obviously, the most important part of the festival is the food. So what should you eat? I’ve got a list of the best things to eat at Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival (and one thing that wasn’t so great).
The Best Things to Eat at Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival
First, let’s get the basics of the California Food and Wine Festival. It’s quite a bit different if you’re used to the Epcot festivals in Orlando.
- When: March 1-April 23, 2019
- Where: The pathways of Disney California Adventure (specifically beginning after Carthay Circle and ending at Paradise Gardens Park (with a few exceptions for locations for the culinary demonstrations, kid’s stations, etc.)
- Cost: Browsing the festival is free. Food and drink purchases are not included in admission, but the prices are very reasonable and sample sizes are very generous.
What to Eat
Thanks to my friends, Ashlee and Amanda from The Adventureland Girls, I was able to sample a lot more food that I would have been able to if I had been by myself. If you can go with a friend and try different items, you’ll definitely get the most bang for your buck. Here’s what we loved:
Nuts About Cheese and Uncork California
Ashlee and Amanda tried the California Artisan Cheese Selection at Uncork California that had a choice of blue cheese or cheddar cheese and nuts. The blue cheese was quite strong, but we all agreed that there wasn’t quite enough of it for the price point.
I ordered the Fiscalini White Cheddar Lager Soup from Nuts About Cheese and it might have been my favorite thing of the entire festival. Everything from the temperature to the saltiness to the texture of the soup was perfect. It paired well with my Mimosa Flight from Uncork California, which included Hibiscus Mimosa, Tropical Mimosa, and Mixed Berry Mimosa (my favorite of the three).
Both of these booths are right next to one another, so it makes it convenient to order from them at the same time.
Next, I ordered the Meyer Lemon Blue Diamond Almond Macaron, and they ordered the Orange Chicken and Rice. Their dish was fine. It wasn’t super special for me as I felt like you could order that at any Chinese restaurant near you. It was well made, and the fried batter was not too heavy on the chicken, so points for keeping it light.
My favorite dessert of the festival was the macaron. I love lemon flavored everything, and this was the perfect blend of light, airy, lemony flavors. Surprise! There is jelly in the middle that works well with the cream and lemon macaron. Definitely don’t pass this one by.
I love all things avocado, and, honestly, I wish I could have gone back and ordered more from this festival marketplace. I had been hearing great things about the Petite Impossible Burger all over social media, so I just knew I had to try it.
Impossible is actually a brand name, and they are a plant based company, so the “burger” was actually vegetarian. It came with Pepper Jack Cheese and Guac, so it was not vegan, but still a good option if you’re not wanting to eat meat.
For the meat lovers out there, another option would be the Harris Ranch Grilled Beef Tenderloin Slider with Chimichurri Sauce from Cluck-A-Doodle-Moo. The beef was super tender, and we were able to easily cut it with a fork. The onions and Chimichurri sauce just added to the flavor and texture of the burger overall. If you’re looking for a good meat option, I recommend this burger!
Additionally, my favorite drink of the entire festival was the Watermelon Lemonade with Watermelon Garnish. I love watermelon, and this drink was so refreshing and light. It’s non-alcoholic, and I think kids and adults alike would love it!
At Garlic Kissed, we all decided to share a bit of the Creamy Mac & Cheese with Garlic Bread Crumble. I am not a fan of spicy, so I did not try the Ghost Pepper Mac and Cheese that’s been being raved about on social media, but I did love this one.
I love garlic flavors anyway, but this dish was not overpowering in the garlic department. The cheese was nice and soft, and the macaroni was well cooked, so it wasn’t mushy or hard. I have high standards for “adult” mac & cheese, and I would definitely recommend this dish.
By the time we got to this marketplace, I couldn’t possibly stomach anything else. Besides eating my dishes and sampling my friends’ dishes, I was full. Ashlee had been dying to try the Yippee! Mickey’s Cotton Candy Soda that changes color after mixing in the cotton candy.
It is made of Sprite, cotton candy syrup, buttercream frosting rim with sprinkles, and a pineapple cotton candy garnish. Talk about sugar overload! However, after taking a sip, it was actually like a party in your mouth instead of a sugar coma! It is sweet, so I would definitely recommend sharing it. As for me, I’d rather have a drink like the Watermelon Lemonade all to myself!
What Not to Eat
As with all festivals, there is bound to be something that is a bit of a disappointment. Thankfully, we only felt like one item was.
Off the Cob
In as much as I love corn, I did not love the Shrimp Boil Tacos with Andouille Sausage & Fresh Corn. First of all, there was hardly any corn in the tacos. Secondly, the shrimp did not taste fresh, and the sausage did not pair well with it at all. Pass on this one and maybe try another dish at Off the Cob.
Pro Tips for Maximizing Time at the Festival
One of the coolest things I saw at this festival is the ability to order everything at one marketplace and skip the line. Yes, you read that right. Skip. The. Line.
Find the shortest line you can, order all the items you want, from whatever booth you want, and then just take your receipt around and pick up the items as you are ready! What a time saver!
Finally, make sure you grab a Sip and Savor Pass and Festival Guide to plan out your eating and drinking. The Sip and Savor pass comes with eight “coupons” that are good for any one food item or non-alcoholic beverage item at all of the marketplaces during this year’s festival.