Continuing to meander around World Showcase, we’ve made it all the way to the Belgium booth, which is located next to Chefs de France.
With an adjacent seating section. You might find a table on a Monday or Thursday around 11am, but with few opportunities to sit in a chair, tables are generally taken. There are plenty of garbage cans to use to photograph the food though. Don’t worry.
The menu should look familiar as it’s virtually identical to last year’s.
This year’s mussels are now served in a “Hoegaarden broth.” Serving size should be about six along with a hunk of bread to soak up some of the broth. These are very good, though potentially not filling. That may not be such a bad thing. I’d certainly order them again and the bread does add some heft to the dish.
A perennial favorite in the Waffle, sent in by Monica along with the Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Iced Coffee (you lush). Monica says, “From past year’s reviews, I knew the waffle would be small, but I guess I still didn’t expect it to be this small. I was surprised that they could still get it crispy on the outside and light and fluffy inside. It was one of my favorites. The coffee was nice and refreshing, I could taste the Godiva liqueur, but it was very faint. I would have liked to have a larger glass of this.”
Michael sent in this shot accompanied by the truffles. He says, “The berry compote makes this dish otherwise it’s just your average Disney waffle. Works well as a small dessert. The truffles are too small, nothing special, and I wouldn’t bother with them again.” I agree on the truffles. They’re prepackaged and you’re better off buying them in store.
I’ve discussed the Hoegaarden before, since it’s being offered at the Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom (THE HUMANITY!). It’s pronounced “who-garden,” though you’re more than welcome to ask the female cast member for a ho garden. I’m not saying that’s what I call the seating section. This is a light and refreshing 4.9% witbier. Along with Stella, they’re available in most grocery stores and any specialty shop should carry six-packs for around $8.99. This one’s nice and crisp with slight lemon and orange notes. Because it’s widely available, I’m not going to go as far as recommending it, but it’s a very good choice if you don’t care and you’re looking for a beer around here.
Leffe Blonde is slightly harder to find, but not by much. The local Publix sells six-packs of this for $8.99 too. Leffe is a pretty decent Belgian Pale Ale, though the beer snobs among us will say that this is “no Belgian Pale Ale.” At 6.6% ABV, it’s also boozier than most of the beers offered at the Festival, including the other two here. The good news is that despite having more alcohol, you’re not going to taste it. It’s nice and crisp. Expect to taste cloves, bananas, and other spices. But be beware, this is a gateway to other more robust (and expensive) Belgian Ales.
Pretend this one says Stella Artois. I could have sworn the Leffe Brune was on the original menu. Stella Artois is a 5% Euro Pale Lager that is pretty average, especially considering the premium pricing. It also has amazing distribution. It’s not uncommon to pop into 7-11, see a bunch of macro beers, Sam Adams Boster Lager, and Stella. Because of that, I’d probably skip it. Expect to taste corn with a faint sweetness to it. Not a personal favorite, especially being so expensive.
Le France is up next.
This should be another familiar looking menu. Even the wines are the same as last year, though last year’s “Parisian Cosmo Slush” is replaced with the Eiffel Sour Cosmo Slush. It’s probably just as Parisian, which is to say not really.
Darcie and Tim come through again with the full meal deal. Speaking of non-photogenic items, the Coq au Vin easily beats out the meatballs from Scandinavia. It looks positively disgusting from every angle. I thought about censoring it. Darcie says:
“Tim had the escargot – he said just the right amount of butter, really good. Bread was good, too.
Coq au vin was excellent, tender chicken, good sauce.
Creme brûlée was very good, too.
Cosmo slush was meh. Not much flavor. I prefer the Grey Goose Citron Slush.
We would have everything but the drink again.”
Yum? It is one of the best reviewed items at the Festival though. Ashly agrees, saying “This was really good – especially the macaroni and cheese under the chicken.”
And for the Brulee, Tanya adds, “I should have taken a photo of the creme brulee once I broke that shell because it looks kinda funny just like that. But the inside is so very smooth and creamy and dreamy. It’s not an overpowering chocolate flavor, it’s very light. Which makes it very easy to eat again and again. And again.”
I have to assume the Chardonnay is the Bouchard Aine & Fils Pouilly-Fuisse, which is also going to be served at the Be Our Guest Restaurant over at Magic Kingdom. I actually have a bottle in my fridge. It’s a highly rated chardonnay that runs $20-$25 in stores, so it’s more expensive and better than most of the wines offered.
The Bordeux appears to be less special and runs $9.99/bottle or so assuming you can find it. But I’ve never had it, and at $6.75/taste, won’t be. So you’re on your own.
Disney really does like to group crowd favorites together – Belgium, France, and Ireland in one swoop.
Disney seems to have it figured out here too. The only addition is the Bunratty Potcheen Chilled Irish Coffee.
The portion size may look small, but this is one of the densest dishes at the Festival and is quite filling. It’s packed with seafood, potatoes, and cheese. Disney Food Blog had published the recipe and there’s like 35+ ingredients, so I think it’s worth it. At $6, this one’s a no-brainer with a snack credit and it’s not a bad value out of pocket either, all things considered.
Michael also sent in a shot of this year’s Kerrygold Cheese Selection. He says, “I love cheese. I’ll take my cheese with a side order of cheese, much like what you get here. Nice selections from mild to sharp rounds out the snack. The bread with a bit of chutney was a good break between slices of cheese. And I can always use a Guinness.” This looks to be a larger selection than what’s served over at Cheese.
Monica sent in this nice shot (taken on an iPad!) of the Lava Cake. “Heaven in a small bite. I love chocolate and I love Bailey’s, so this was right up my alley. It was small, as all the F&W portions are. But I overheard another guest commenting that she couldn’t believe that was all she got for her $3.” You’re going to hear a lot of similar comments. It’s about two bites.
Ashly agrees. “This was piping hot and was just to die for good! So glad I got my son his own since he wouldn’t have gotten a bite!” Mmmmmmmmmmmm.
Guinness is another prevalent beer that’s on nearly every restaurant menu nationwide. It’s a 4.2% Irish Dry Stout that is not a personal favorite. At least what we get in the United States seems bland and watery, but you should pick up on some roast malts, burnt coffee, and subtle chocolate notes. You probably know if you like Guinness or not so it’s here if you’re looking for it.
I attended the Bunratty Meade beverage seminar because I thought it would be a good way to get at the Honey Wine. That’s it on the far left. It’s a very sweet wine that tastes strongly of honey and very little of alcohol, despite having an ABV of 14.7%. It should be available in stores for around $17/bottle. Purists would tell you that it’s not a traditional mead, which would be fermented honey wine. This is a white wine with honey and spices added to it. Assuming you start drinking around the World in Mexico (and for most, even in Canada), you won’t care. I’m not sure what portion size looks like out at the booths, but this is a nice sweet wine that anyone should enjoy.
I’m assuming the Potcheen Irish Coffee is good, though I had a sip of straight potcheen at the seminar. According to the website, “It’s unique distinctive taste, is dry and grainy with a delightfully changing aftertaste that sweetens as it develops. Also known as Moonshine or Mountain Dew, Potcheen is a fiery tipple. We recommend you drink it neat as a shot, on the rocks or with a mixer and savour this original Irish spirit. Now we know why Irish eyes are smiling! Alcohol by Volume 45%.” It’s actually pretty disgusting and tastes like grain alcohol. But the Irish know cream as well as alcohol and I’m guessing the drink is alcoholic and tasty.
Bathrooms, Seating, Better Alternatives, Notes in This Area
The United Kingdom has a set of bathrooms across from Rose & Crown. As I mentioned earlier, if you want to avoid as many people as possible, you can head out of the Park through the International Gateway entrance and there’s a nice set of bathrooms immediately outside on the right. From where I’m standing, it would take less than five minutes to get there.
As far as seating, you’ll find some at Yorkshire County Fish Shop. There’s actually less popular seating to the left of Rose & Crown. You enter between check-in for Rose & Crown and the beer kiosk. Then take a left. You’ll also find an assortment of benches. In France, there’s some seating to the left of the crepe kiosk, in addition to high-top tables Disney has set up for the event.
The Grey Goose Slushes are always popular with the ladies, though they aren’t particularly boozy. Word is Disney will sell you an extra shot of Grey Goose for $7, bringing the cost of one of these drinks up to around $19 with tax.
Served in a regular cup, you can see it’s not a large serving, but some people swear by these things as they are cold and refreshing.
We’ve discussed Kronenbourg before because it’s also available at Be Our Guest. It’s basically a French Budweiser. That’s not a terrible thing necessarily, but there are more interesting options around. That being said, it may make the Miller Lite drinker feel a little more cosmopolitan than usual.
Bass Ale and Harp Lager are both available from Yorkshire County Fish Shop.
Bass is a 5% Euro Pale Ale produced by England’s Bass Brewers Limited. It’s a decent, albeit fairly common beer. With Unibroue options coming up shortly in Canada, I don’t see a major reason to drop $8 on what should be a 16oz beer, but it’s here if you like it. It’s certainly a competent, classic English beer.
Not sure what I did with my Harp Lager picture, so just drink a few beers and pretend this says Harp. This is another Euro Pale Lager that runs 5% ABV. This one’s brewed by Guinness in Ireland. This is another light beer that should be refreshing and pleasing to the palette. I would describe it as watery and without a whole lot of flavor, but it isn’t necessarily intended to be a hop bomb. It’s pretty similar to the Bass overall. I prefer the Harp just slightly, but there aren’t a lot of differences between the two.
To the left of the entrance to Rose & Crown and next to the check-in kiosk, you’ll find this beer kiosk, serving the same beers that are available elsewhere along with some ciders. I don’t know much about ciders. If you do, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I can tell you that Strongbow is the world’s best selling cider with over 10 percent of the global market and more than 20% of sales in the UK. It’s available if you’re interested.
I could run an entire website about scotch and Rose & Crown is one of the best theme park opportunities to indulge, along with a lot of other food and drink options. Here’s the menu.
Is it weird that Boddingtons is one of my least favorite beers of all time? Of all time? It’s watery. Metallic. Thick. Milky. Am I way off base here? It’s a 4.7% English Pale Ale, making it less boozy than most other options.
I would imagine the Guinness Stout served here is brewed in Ireland. I always seem to end up with the Canada iteration, so it’s important to check what you’re buying. It’ll say where it’s brewed on the back. The Irish version is a full 1% more alcoholic, coming in at 6%. Much like your average Guinness, you’re going to taste caramel, toffee, and coffee. I don’t care much for the roasted malt flavor, but some do swear by it. I’m just not a Guinness Guy.
My dissertation on scotch would be too lengthy. BUT…….I rarely buy a glass when at a restaurant or bar. I can pour a glass at home, so I usually opt for something a little more intriguing. Pop into Rose & Crown if you’re looking for one of the drinks on the menu, scotch included, but be prepared for big crowds and long waits, particularly in the evening during the Festival. It can also be difficult to get the bartenders’ attention. A woman with a waving hand helps. Request a to-go cup and if a table opens up, grab it.