The busy Canada Marketplace returns in the same location out in front of the Pavilion and across from Greece.
Canada reduces its food and drink offerings by one each, switching out last year’s red wine and adding a Pretzel Roll to the venerable Canadian Cheese Soup. Canada has historically offered chicken sausage or trout, neither of which appear this year.
Canadian cheddar cheese soup served with a pretzel roll – $4.75
The website has long advocated for the inclusion of a Pretzel Roll here and was admittedly tickled pink when this year’s menu was finally unveiled.
However, it did not occur to me that an already-small cup of soup could become even smaller, which is what ended up happening. Still, the Pretzel Roll is a fantastic vessel for the rich, creamy soup and actually helps enhance the cheesiness. Those that have no interest in the bread may be disappointed to find the smaller cup though and $4.75 is a pretty high price. Still, this might be the Festival’s best-selling dish and you rarely hear a negative word about it outside of these pesky reviews.
“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce – $7.75
The Canadian Beef shares the crown with the Hops & Barley Lobster Roll for most expensive food item at the Festival. For those on the Dining Plan, it potentially makes this a no-brainer as it’s one of the spendiest items good for a single snack credit.
But because each Filet is grilled fresh at the Marketplace and the quality of each individual piece varies, this is a potentially inconsistent proposition. And you have to ask yourself: “Do I feel lucky?”
This year we did very well for ourselves with a tender, meaty Filet grilled to a very nice medium with virtually no excess fat. The truffle butter sauce has a rich flavor backed up by wild mushrooms that add a subtle earthy flavor to the overall profile. Is it worth eight bucks? For what we were served compared to a lot of the other beef items that are lower quality and cooked to death, I think so. Certainly consider it for a snack credit. But your piece could almost just as easily be overcooked and fatty. You really never know.
Moosehead Lager – $4
Store price: 11 cents/ounce.
Festival price: 67 cents/ounce.
Value: Below average.
Moosehead Lager is a decent 5% ABV American Pale Lager brewed by Moosehead Breweries in New Brunswick, Canada. This is basically your Budweiser option, though it has more flavor than your typical American macro. It’s refreshing, easy to drink, and relatively light. But the Pavilion offers it year-around and if you don’t mind getting in a separate line, the La Fin du Monde on draft at Canada Cart is a much better beer and a much better value.
Neige Premiere Apple Ice Wine – $6
As recently as two years ago, most of the wines were in the $2.75-$3.75 range instead of the $4.50 to $5.50 range that we see today. That made this $6 Ice Wine stand out as being particularly expensive. Now it’s in line with several of the other offerings. But the thing about ice wine is that it’s expensive at $40 for 375ml (half the size of a standard bottle) and very, very sweet. So Canada only serves about an ounce for the money. It’s a potentially nice opportunity to try the intense apple-cider-like wine and the price hasn’t increased much compared to other offerings, making it a better value proposition than past years.
Fielding Estate Red Conception – $4.50
I have not yet tried this year’s red wine, which would run you about $15 a bottle at the limited number of stores that it’s available at in the United States. It might be worth picking up to pair with the beef, but it doesn’t sound like the kind of wine that’s worth going out of your way to try.