France welcomes us to Alsace in the usual Festival location on the right side of the Pavilion.
Three food items accompany some holiday takes on popular Festival beverages.
Napoléon de Saumon Fumé, Brioche á l’aneth: Smoked Salmon Napoleon in a Dill Brioche – $5.75
The Napoleon impressed on quality and size with the salty, soft salmon combining with the creaminess of the spread, which tasted like it was made from sour cream and goat cheese with a little bit of tang against the smokiness of the fish. The soft, fresh brioche did an admirable job of keeping everything in and the dill helped brighten the flavor of the salmon even further. I appreciated that it was also one of few cold dishes served at the Festival as our visits were on relatively warm days. This may impress less if it’s a freezing 65 degrees out.
It’s a good size though.
Le Réveillon de Noël: Turkey Breast Stuffed with Mushrooms and Chestnuts with Sweet Potato Purée – $6.75
This surprised as well with the tender turkey wrapped around the luscious mushroom filling with a nutty flavor from the chestnuts. The whipped sweet potato underneath added a little bit of sugar and the gravy helped bring out the flavors from the turkey without adding too much salt. It’s not a huge portion for the money, though.
Bûche de Noël au Chocolat: Slice of Chocolate Christmas Yule Log – $4.75
This wasn’t quite as good – the cake was incredibly dry with a generic, one-note dark chocolate flavor.
It is cute though. For less than five bucks you could do worse, but I don’t think anybody will be jonesing for a second slice.
You might instead head into the Boulangerie inside of the Pavilion and pick up the $6.75 Bûche de Noël instead. It should be fresher, larger, and still taste intensely of chocolate.
Spiced Rum Punch Slush: Spiced Rum, Rhum Clement V.S.O.P., Orange and Pineapple Juice with Cinnamon –$10.75
The holiday version of the popular French slush was a lot more nuanced than your typical entry.
There’s a lot going on here and as a person that isn’t really in love with rum and juice, I’ll admit that I didn’t really care for it compared to the fruitier vodka slushes that we’ve seen at most Festivals over the last few years. But the cinnamon adds some spice and there’s actually some alcohol involved for once. We had no problem finishing it, but I’m not sure it’s the crowd-pleaser that makes these things so popular during Food/Wine/Flower/Garden. Still, credit for trying when a lot of the previous Holiday Kitchens that we’ve seen didn’t even bother making the phone call that would be required to phone it in.
Holiday Kir: Sparkling Wine and Monin Cranberry Syrup – $7
The syrup makes this one a little thicker and more artificial-tasting than the Moroccan entry and it also uses lower-quality sparkling wine. It’s potentially worth trying if you’re in the mood for a sparkler, but it’s far from fantastic.
Champagne Brut, Nicolas Feuillatte – $15
Pictured from a previous Festival, the Feuillatte is a decent $35 bottle of champagne at the store with a rich, creamy mouthfeel, a clean finish, and notes of citrus zest and fruitcake. But it’s a spendy proposition at the Kitchen. Pick up a glass if you have the stomach for the price.
Overall, the two savory items were among the best we tried at the Festival, but they still probably aren’t “must-buys.” Very good snacks, though.