Primavera Kitchen returns along the water on the Germany side of the Italy Pavilion across from the model train set.
As is typically the case, each of the three food items is new for this year’s Festival while all of the wines return. We lost the Rossini and “Italian Seasonal Selection” beer, but keep the Margarita and other two beers.
When life gives you lemons, sell 6-ounce cups of Moretti for $5.50.
$6 Antipasto Misto
Cerignola Olives, Sweet Soppressata and Salami, Ovolini, Mozzarella, and Sweet Roasted Pepper with Ciabatta Bread.
I enjoyed this more than the Florida Larder Board and it “feels” like they’re trying to accomplish the same thing though a couple of the nine pieces seem like they would be just as easy to pick up in the meat/cheese aisle of your grocery store. The meats were of decent quality, particularly if you pile them high on the bread and add some of the cheese. Be careful with the olives, which are similar/the same as what’s served at Tutto Italia/Gusto as they have a pit in the center. They are mildly sweet in flavor with the black version being slightly softer than the green. I thought the flavors contrasted nicely with the salty meat and soft, milky flavor of the cheese. The most interesting part was the roasted pepper, which had a really nice, sweet, slightly spicy flavor that really burst as it was chewed. I’m not sure if it demands a purchase, but it was fun to try some familiar flavors in addition to a couple of items where I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
$7 Meatball Parmigiana
Handmade Beef and Veal Meatballs, Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Parmigiana and Fresh Basil.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this given that it’s rare that anything from Italy/Primavera Kitchen impresses. But these are the same delicious meatballs that Tutto Italia/Gusto serve at their restaurant/bar and they are incredibly flavorful with a distinct homemade quality to them – a rich meaty flavor with some garlic, pepper, and olive oil notes. There was a ton of perfectly melted mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top of the robust sauce. The unadvertised ciabatta slice was a welcome addition that aided in mopping up any excess goodies. Six medium size meatballs arrive in an order, making this a weighty dish that’s a lot of food for the money, relatively speaking. I think it would make my top five list and comes highly recommended.
$5.50 Strawberry Tiramisu
Ladyfingers, Mascarpone Cream and Marinated Strawberries topped with Strawberry Sauce. I wasn’t sure how well this one came together – they are obviously trying to do something a little more #FreshEpcot than a chocolate cannoli, but I thought last year’s pistachio version worked better. The portion on this was otherwise on the small side and it tastes largely of artificial strawberry gel rather than fresh berries or rich cream. It’s not the worst decision you could make and it’s a nice dessert if you’re stopping for other items here, but I think it’s just average at best.
Full disclosure: It’s been a while since I’ve dropped $8+ on wine here as the brands are typically Placido-quality where you can pick up a whole bottle at the grocery store for the kiosk sample price. If you’re serious about wine, I’d head into the Enoteca on the right side of the Pavilion for more choices or better yet, Tutto Gusto towards the back left of the Pavilion, which is attached to Tutto Italia and offers hundreds of different bottles. The prices/value probably won’t be any better, but the service is improved and there are a lot more choices. Above is the picture of the Bellini, which is going to be lousy sparkling wine and the frozen peach puree that’s available from stores across the country. Not a lot of value.
$10 Frozen Italian Margarita
With Limoncello and Tequila. Two pluses here – the price actually came down a dollar compared to last year and the cup, which is on the left, is a significantly larger portion than any of the other frozen drinks available at the other Kitchens. And on top of that, the sweet/tart flavor is pleasant and easy to drink. On the downside, there probably isn’t much alcohol present. But it’s hard to overlook the portion size for the money.
I pan the Moretti choices every year – they are far too expensive and the quality of the selections doesn’t justify the absurd price. Of the two options, the La Rossa is a smarter choice – more flavorful with a higher ABV. But the beers back at Smokehouse and just ahead at Bauernmarkt are better values.
Overall, I’d take a long look at the meatballs and potentially consider adding an antipasto. I think the wines are best skipped and the dessert probably isn’t fantastic, but the Margarita is a large portion for the money. The Moretti beers are the worst values at the Festival.