The Sword in the Stone at Disneyland Park

March’s Gourmet Apple at the Disneyland Resort is a Chocolate Delight

posted on February 24th, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


Every time I think that gourmet apples can’t get better, our Candy Makers at Disneyland Resort take it up another notch. What can you expect to find this March? How does a Triple Chocolate apple sound?

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Each apple has been dipped in creamy caramel and enrobed in sweet milk chocolate. What could possibly make it better? They’ve added a mixture of white and semi-sweet dark chocolate chips all around it and then topped it off with drizzles of white, milk and dark chocolate. It’s unbelievable!

You will no doubt delight in this amazing concoction, I hope you try it! Look for it at Candy Palace on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park; Trolley Treats on Buena Vista Street in Disney California Adventure park; and Marceline’s Confectionery in the Downtown Disney District.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District

Take a Trip to Mediterranean at Paradise Garden Grill at Disney California Adventure Park

posted on February 21st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


On a recent sunny Southern California afternoon, we had the pleasure of noshing our way through Disney California Adventure park – and marveling at the diversity of quick bites, from Mexican to Asian to all-American. Among our favorite picnic-style meals was the hearty beef gyro at Paradise Garden Grill, found at a walk-up window with a surprising repertoire of robust Mediterranean tastes.

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That gyro had thick slabs of spiced beef wrapped in a warm pita, slathered with cool, creamy tzatziki and a side of taboulleh, the Middle Eastern version of a green salad with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh parsley in a lemony dressing. Enough for two. But we also shared the generous Greek salad, a plate full of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, spicy pepperoncini, feta cheese and lots of olives with a lemon-oregano dressing and warm pita to scoop it all up.

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If you’re looking for a simpler taste, the skewers are another good bet – pick from grilled steak, chicken, meatball or veggies and tofu, each with a side of rice, cucumber salad and warm pita. Kick it up with one of three sauces: spicy chili with harissa (hot chili pepper paste), chimichurri with a base of fresh citrus and herbs, or mild cucumber yogurt.

The skewers go from savory to sweet with a strawberry-brownie skewer with caramel, chocolate sauce and mini-marshmallows. But we prefer their classic baklava, the sweet Mediterranean desserts with layers of flaky phyllo, honey and nuts. Sit, back, enjoy the sunshine and imagine you’re in Greece, or Turkey – but California Screamin’ awaits!

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Food Competes with Flowers for Top Billing at 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

posted on February 19th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Instead of photos of the gorgeous flowers and topiaries, we want to show off some of the delicious new delights for your taste buds at the 21st annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival that opens March 5 and runs through May 18 – that’s 75 days to take it all in.

Last year was the first year that food starred alongside the flowers, and this year 11 Outdoor Kitchens debut around World Showcase Lagoon, each with an artful produce and herb-raised garden bed that showcases something that you can taste in the dish they’re offering, say, corn at the Florida marketplace, or pineapples in Japan.

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Chef Jens Dahlmann had fun with the new Urban Farm EATS with its sustainable garden featuring tilapia swimming around that help fertilize the veggies. All three dishes are gluten free and two are vegetarian. There’s a pickled beet salad with goat cheese cream, mizuna (greens) and pistachios, eggplant grown at The Land pavilion at Epcot with Romesco (sweet pepper sauce) and spaghetti squash, and a ghost-pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp melon slaw and mint oil – and if you’ve never tried ghost pepper, it’s a kicky treat. They even have a vegan chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon and a gluten-free beer.

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In all there are 16 vegetarian dishes and a dozen gluten-free choices. Each marketplace has three to four dishes, adding up to more than 50 beverages and 40 different food items. It’s your chance to try anything from pulled-duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes in France to a “piggylicious” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch at The Smokehouse: Barbecues and Brews. Craft beers abound again this year, from a Tropical Mango Pale Ale from St. John Brewers in the U.S. Virgin Islands to Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale brewed right here in Florida just for the festival.

Get a full rundown of what’s being offered at each Urban Kitchen as well as information on all the other fun things to do at epcotinspring.com.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

Edible Art: Exquisite Macarons at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at France Pavilion in Epcot

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


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Almost (almost) too pretty to eat, the dainty macarons at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie at the France Pavilion at Epcot are lined up like beautiful jewels in the pastry case – edible art, a sophisticated, light-as-a-feather French classic. Fans will fly to Paris for the perfect macaron, but now Epcot World Showcase guests can savor the tiny treats.

Thought to have originated centuries ago – macarons are a delicate, crisp-chewy balance of almond meringue cookies sandwiched with silky centers. They come in various flavors: right now you can find chocolate, raspberry, mixed berries, pistachio and white chocolate, and banana passion, packaged in a pretty box of five for $10.33 plus tax. (For the ultimate macaron decadence, try the rich, creamy chocolate macaron ice cream sandwich next door at L’Artisan Des Glaces.)

Macarons are a complicated sweet to create – take a look at Chef Olivier Saintemarie’s ballet of sweet ingredients.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: An Extra Week This Fall

posted on February 18th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


We’ve already got our culinary plan of attack for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival opening in just about two weeks (March 5 – May 18), and now we can look ahead to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival that’s going to run a record 53 days, from September 19 – November 10. Maybe this year will be the year to sample all of the great tastes.

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That’s a whole extra week to take in the marketplaces, cool concerts and some very special dinners. Stay tuned, we won’t have the lineup of celebrity and Disney chefs until summer, but will share here on the Disney Parks Blog. And keep an eye on epcotfoodfestival.com for updates.

In the meantime, check out the Outdoor Kitchen and raised garden beds at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, a completely different culinary experience from fall’s Food & Wine Fest. Between the two, we have 128 days of yum.

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Valentine’s Day Is All About Chocolate at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

posted on February 11th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Imagine a 6-foot-long, chocolate-coated table (it takes 10 pounds of chocolate just to top) with edible chocolate signs (white, dark and milk chocolate plus fondant), showcasing everything from African hot chocolate to fondue for two and a bottle of bubbly.

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It’s a Valentine’s dream come true in the Jambo House lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge from 4-9 p.m. February 9 – 15. Surprise your sweetheart with a trip to see the animals on the savanna, but start with a stop in the lobby to pick out your indulgence.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • Graham Beck sparkling wine ($23.95)
  • Godiva caramel, white chocolate and dark chocolate cordials ($8.50)
  • African hot chocolate ($2.99)
  • Fondue for two with orange-chocolate fondue in an edible white chocolate cup with chocolate brownie bits, pineapple, strawberries and yogurt-covered pretzels ($6.49)
  • Chocolate-dipped tuxedo strawberries ($5.99 for two)
  • Five white-chocolate-covered sandwich cookies ($14.99)
  • 5 mini-cupcakes ($4.59)

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your sweetheart.

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Filed: Disney Dining, Hotels & Resorts, Walt Disney World Resort

Warm Chocolate Truffle Cake from Napa Rose at the Disneyland Resort

posted on February 5th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Red roses are nice, but a home-baked sweet says love in a special way. Pastry Chef Jorge Sotelo from Napa Rose at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa artfully shows us the way it’s done with his mini-chocolate truffle cakes, and we share his recipe below.

Just give yourself plenty of time to wow your Valentine. You can make the ganache a day ahead, as it needs plenty of time to cool. The truffle cakes are best straight from the oven, served warm with your favorite ice cream (they serve it with cherry vanilla at Napa Rose). Just make sure you use a good-quality dark chocolate for a taste to remember.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Truffle Cakes with Ganache
Serves 8

Ganache

  • 4 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Truffle Cakes

  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (extra for ramekins)
  • 6 1/2 ounces Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided (extra for ramekins)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Favorite ice cream, for serving

For ganache:

  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour boiling cream over chopped chocolate. Slowly stir in a circular motion with a rubber spatula until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
  2. Let sit at room temperature until ganache cools to 70°F. Meanwhile, make truffles cakes.

For chocolate truffle cakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly butter bottom and sides of 8 individual (3/4 cup) ramekins. Coat thinly with sugar and shake out excess. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a double boiler and bring water to a simmer over low heat. Place butter and 6 1/2 ounces chocolate in the top of the double boiler and gently stir until melted.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and slightly thickened. Stir in flour.
  4. Ladle a small amount of melted chocolate into egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Add another ladle of chocolate into egg yolk mixture and continue to whisk. Once the temperature of the egg yolk mixture has been warmed, add remaining chocolate to egg yolks and vigorously whisk. Set aside.
  5. Combine egg whites and 1 tablespoon sugar in stand mixer; whip on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  6. Slowly add an additional 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar while continuing to whip egg whites. Increase speed to high and slowly add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Whip another 3 to 4 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  7. Gently fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, being careful not to overwork mixture.
  8. Divide batter equally among prepared ramekins, filling 3/4 full. Place on baking sheet and bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until tops are puffy, but center still soft. Do not overbake.
  9. While cakes are baking, make the ganache: Finely chop remaining 4 ounces of chocolate.
  10. Cut around edges of cakes using a small knife to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto a serving plate. Top each with 1 generous tablespoon of ganache and serve immediately with favorite ice cream.

Cook’s Notes:

  • If you cannot find Scharffen Berger Chocolate, you may substitute Valrhona Manjari chocolate or a high quality 58 percent bittersweet chocolate.
  • Make sure your small metal bowl is very clean and dry before attempting to whip egg whites to stiff peaks.
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Welcome to the Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Shannon Swanson, Public Relations Manager, Disneyland Resort


When I think of the Plaza Inn on Main Street, U.S.A., in Disneyland park, I can virtually smell the fried chicken … yum! However, there’s so much more to this iconic restaurant if you take the time to look around when you stop in. The video below features Steve Valkenburg, who has had the pleasure of working there for more than 30 years, along with historical footage of Walt Disney describing what would eventually become one of his favorite restaurants in Disneyland.

What’s your favorite feature at the Plaza Inn?

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Filed: Cast Member Profiles, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort

This Bitter Storm at Napa Rose Will Warm You Right Up at Disneyland Resort

posted on February 4th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


While brisk winter weather blankets much of the country, it’s still pretty balmy here in Southern California – where the only “Bitter Storm” is at Napa Rose restaurant at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.

The bartender layers sweet and sour tastes from bourbon to cherry liqueur, adds a splash of lemon juice and tops the cocktail with a tart sliver of grapefruit peel. It’s a sunny sip of California that can take you away even if you’re shoveling snow.

Bitter Storm
Serves 1

  • ¾ ounce Bulleit Bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Fernet-Branca
  • ½ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
  • ½ ounce Poire William brandy
  • ½ ounce Orgeat syrup
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • Grapefruit peel, for garnish
  1. Pour all ingredients into a shaker; fill with ice and vigorously shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Strain into a tall chilled glass filled with ice. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

For more about dining at the Napa Rose, read these posts:

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Pick Your Sweet Treat at Market House, Disneyland Resort

posted on January 31st, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Deciding which treat to enjoy may be difficult on your next visit to Market House in Disneyland park and Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe at Disney California Adventure park. Both serve Market House serves Starbucks specialty beverages and a variety of “Disneyland Favorites” as part of its sweet lineup, including the gooey Berliner donut.

Berliner

The Berliner is a type of jelly donut made in Berlin, Germany. Disneyland Executive Chef Christine Weissman, a native of Germany, loves to share the story of the donut’s connection to President John F. Kennedy – so if you see her out and about in the theme parks, stop and ask! (It’s one of her favorite stories and favorite desserts.)

Several delicious La Boulange pastries were recently added to the selection of sweet offerings. Starbucks recently partnered with La Boulange, a San Francisco Bakery and café, rolling out their baked goods in Starbucks nationwide. The new pastries showed up this week in the two locations that serve Starbucks inside our parks at Disneyland Resort, and will be coming to Walt Disney World Resort this spring. There’s everything from a bacon, egg and Gouda artisan sandwich to a chocolate croissant, everything served warm.

Along with the Berliner, Fans of classic Disneyland Resort sweets will still find the cinnamon roll at Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, and the Mickey Mouse-shaped sugar cookie remains on the menu at Market House. And the popular Mickey Mouse-shaped cookie with chocolate icing is still at both.

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Dining, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort