We soldier on in our discussion of the food and drink options available at the various Marketplaces during Holidays Around the World at Epcot. Part 1 included an introduction, in addition to reviewing several items from Feast of the Three Kings, Canada Cart, Alpine Haus, and more.
On the merchandise front, I really liked this ornament, though it makes no mention of the year.
This very colorful shirt does though I feel like they should have updated it so Spaceship Earth looks like the Death Star.
Pretty bland here.
After Alpine Haus in between France and Morocco, the next Marketplace arrives in the United States Pavilion:
Just as a reminder, we are talking full size portions here. And while I can appreciate trying to differentiate this event from Food/Wine/Flower/Garden, I think 85% of the fun of those events is mingling about with other guests and trying a lot of different items with flavors that might be a little out of your usual comfort zone. For this event, we are decidedly in meal territory. You can certainly share, but if you have four people in your group, you’re looking at maybe being able to order four things before it’s time for a nap. On the plus side, the desserts are smaller and more modestly priced and the beers are unique and at 16 ounces each, most are a better value than those $4 6-ounce pours during Food/Wine.
The $11.25 Roasted Turkey with Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, and Cranberry Sauce was a real standout on quality, flavor, and portion size.
I should start carrying that banana around again for scale or maybe just start putting the food directly on the table so you can get a better look at just how much we are talking about here. I suppose I would be exaggerating if I said that my hand instantaneously lowered towards the ground under the weight of the tray after the cast member handed it to me – Disney bloggers are known for their brute strength – but this “felt” like it weighed more than a pound and the sheer mass was surprising.
And it tasted really good. There are several thick slices of roasted turkey hiding in between two sizable slabs of stuffing. I thought the texture on the stuffing was a little “off” as it was basically cut like a lasagna and placed in the tray, but it was nicely prepared, flavorful, and tasted like it was made from scratch. The green beans and crispy onions are not advertised, but they’re served in a creamy casserole situation and the onions provide a nice crunch, in addition to a burst of flavor. I know some people are adverse to everything being bunched together, so be aware that that is how it’s normally presented. You can always ask for items on the side etc. Or as everyone’s grandpa always says, “It’s all going to the same place anyhow.”
The beer in the back is the $8.75 Shipyard Eggnog White Porter Aged on Bourbon. And honestly, it was a little much. There’s probably a reason why there’s only about a half dozen beers available worldwide with “eggnog” in their name. Otherwise, this one tastes how it sounds – like if you were to mix eggnog with beer and bourbon for kind of a funky, sweet flavor that’s dominated by the smell of eggnog and backed up by cinnamon, nutmeg, and heavy cream. It’s rare, but I would have preferred a 4- or 6-ounce pour of it “just to try” rather than committing to a full draft. Very different.
The drink on the left is the $9.50 Firenog — TG Lee Eggnog with Fireball Whisky. I thought the flavors blended together better than I was expecting – bourbon is of course often mixed with eggnog, but it hadn’t occurred to me to use Fireball, which I usually mix with a hard apple cider. The whiskey otherwise thins the eggnog out just a bit, making it easier to drink and providing a lot of artificial cinnamon flavor. It was pretty good, but you might plan on making it at home. $9.50 for a small cup is rough when it’s just two store bought ingredients.
I Inside-the-Magic’d this one from a couple that had been eyeing our turkey to help them decide if they wanted to pick up their own. They did, along with this gingerbread man, which I present with no further commentary.
Block & Hans, another kiosk in the United States Pavilion on the far right side near the front, has changed up its menu slightly:
They’re all 12-ounce bottles, so going draft elsewhere might be smarter.
Like with Food/Wine, the various Joffrey’s stands offer several themed cocktails.
The Crazy Elf is RumChata Cream Liqueur and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Steamed with Light Cream and topped with Whipped Cream. It’s served here over ice, but is also available hot as pictured above. They’ll make it a double shot for an extra buck, which seems smart. Iced, this was a very creamy, refreshing affair with the cinnamon somehow showing through past all of the cream. It’s certainly a good choice if you like this sort of thing.
There are a few Joffrey’s locations around World Showcase. Check to the left of the United States Pavilion, on the right as you walk towards Mexico or on the left after passing La Cantina from the other direction, and in between Canada and the United Kingdom Pavilions in front of World Showplace. If you’re in Future World, there’s one sort of to the right of what’s left of Innoventions East in front of Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
Non-alcoholic options that can be made “spirited.”
After American Holiday Table, you’ll see Prost! just past Germany.
Here you’ll actually find two tasting portions, in addition to some ciders, the spiced wine, and the seductive sounding Caramel Kiss.
This is the $5 German Artisan Cheese Plate with German ButterKase with Alpine Ham, Mushroom Brie and Pretzel Crostini, and Tillamook Cheddar.
Germany actually serves a nearly identical cheese plate (pictured above) all year at the Weinkeller, though putting it on blast at the kiosk increases awareness. You shouldn’t have to work for your cheese, after all.
So look for that if your trip is after December 30th.
Anyway, this was mildly disappointing. Tillamook is good cheese, but I’m not sure anybody equates it with Munich. The others were of similar grocery store quality. You could pick one up if you’re in the mood for it, but the cheese aisle at Publix is going to have the same stuff. The ham was flavorless other than the salt and while the pretzel stick was kind of fun, it’s not enough to carry the dish. That with the brie was the best part though.
This is the $12 Sauerbraten with Red Cabbage and Spätzle. You might remember me mentioning that the quality and flavor of the hot items are greatly affected by how fresh they are. I ordered this one and the guy pulled the dish out of the warmer already put together as pictured. The Sauerbraten, which is more of a “pulled” variety if that is even a thing, was overwhelmingly sour with virtually no complexity to speak of. Very one-note. I have seen other pictures of this dish where the beef is your typical sliced variety that didn’t look like it was still bathing in the marinade. On the plus side, it was quite tender and juicy. But like the other entrees, this is a huge portion and you are kind of stuck with what you get. A tasting portion would have been more apt. I didn’t think the red cabbage or spätzle added much.
Not the most photogenic picture of brown liquid ever.
The $3.50 Caramel Kiss tastes just like a warm melted Werther’s Original. Just a sip is quite the rush of sugar and caramel and the drink is on the thick side. I wish they had found a way to add some booze to it. You don’t get a ton, but trust me, it’s plenty. I’m sort of neutral on it – popping a candy will provide a similar flavor, but it’s kind of fun to sip it.
After Prost! it’s another long haul to the next Marketplace, which is located past Mexico Proper.
Mexico apparently did not get the memo that they need a cutesie name for their kiosk or that we’re serving full size portions. I’ve already spent my yearly allotment at this booth, so you are on your own until next fiscal year.
The move to a Food/Wine style menu is a bit strange considering they had been serving larger portions for the couple of weeks in between the end of the Food and Wine Festival and the start of Holidays Around the World. Here is that menu:
But it’s here.
Seasonal Southern Delights is either the first or last Marketplace that you’ll run into as you circle World Showcase.
The $10 Hoppin’ John – Black Eyed Peas, Ham Hocks, and Kale, with White Rice with Cornbread Crumbles is another one that either fell flat on freshness, flavor, or both. What we were served tasted almost like nothing at all – just bland beans backed up by bland rice backed up by bland onions. I’m not real sure where the kale comes into play as it appears to be green onion sprinkled on top and I was expecting something more akin to cornbread croutons rather than a piece of cornbread that had gone through some kind of grinder. Even the ham had virtually no flavor and was just kind of chewy, old, and salty. It basically tasted like eating a container of washed beans. Hopefully you’ll have more luck.
I’m not sure what the deal is with Holiday Craft Beer in the Odyssey building. It doesn’t seem to be open very often and it might just be a weekends thing until crowds start to pick up in a couple of weeks.
But this is the menu and it’s somewhat legit. The Sierra Nevada Celebration is one of my favorite beers and you’ve also got the local selection if you want to go in that direction or you can stay with some of the more national brands. Almost everything I’ve tasted from 3 Daughters has been pretty gross, but you’re not going to find it very far away from this area. The Norbertus selection also stands out as being interesting. The flights come with four 4-ounce pours and would be a good opportunity to try a lot of different beers.
While not everything ended up being a home run, it’s hard to fault additional options at what are generally reasonable prices. If nothing sounds good at the various quick services, perhaps something here will.
We’ll get back to Epcot.