France returns out in front of the Pavilion on the right side. I’d expect it to be busier once the Rat Ride officially arrives on October 1st, but the Creperie may also take some of the pressure off as people elect there at prices that are still unreasonable, but slightly less so. Either way, Bailey from Houston can’t wait to serve you.
That’s it in red.
While most of the Marketplaces have cut back to just a couple of items, likely due to some concerns over sourcing ingredients, the French menu looks a lot like your standard yearly revision with a smorgasbord of items. And much to my amusement, everything is new with the exception of that Martini Slush.
- Beignet aux Trois Fromages: Warm Beignet filled with Three Cheeses – $5.75
- Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley – $6.25
- Coq au Vin, Pommes Dauphine: Chicken braised in Burgundy Wine with Bacon and Puffed Potatoes – $6.25
- Crème Brûlée au Grand Mariner: Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Grand Marnier Liqueur – $5.50
- Evian Sparkling Cucumber and Mint Water with Magnesium and Zinc – $4.75
- Strawberry Rose Mimosa: Pol Remy Sparkling Wine, Orange Juice, and Monin Strawberry Rose – $8.50
- Kronenbourg Blanc 1664
- Rosé Pétillant Méthode Traditionnelle Champenoise: Rosé Sparkling Wine, Pink Flamingo – $12.50
- Louis de Camponac Chardonnay – $5 and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Blend, Bordeaux, Château de Prieuré – $6
- La Passion Martini Slushy: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, Cranberry, and Passion Fruit Juice – $12.50
Beignet aux Trois Fromages: Warm Beignet filled with Three Cheeses – $5.75
This is a more intriguing item than you might expect at first blush, with a chewy, sweet, soft doughy base with three cheeses melted on top, ostensibly because the Pavilion couldn’t guarantee Publix would have a fourth selection on any given day or the sheer weight of the cheese would cause some kind of implosion like my beloved Kingdome. The portion is sizable, but this is a little different than what France has tried before with sweeter flavors from the bread than people are going to be expecting, even after I tell you to your face that it’s on the sweeter side. Then there’s the savory topping. But if there’s anything Americans love more than misinformation it’s bread and cheese, so a combination we have. I’d recommend sharing one, but wouldn’t be surprised if the verdict is about 50/50 on whether people appreciate the flavor contrast. But this is what the Festival is about, and it’s nice to see a little innovation after getting exactly the same menu from France at both Food and Wine and Flower and Garden last year.
I really have no idea what’s going on here, but thank goodness there is no barrier to entry when it comes to this blogging stuff.
Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley – $6.25
This is a Festival favorite and one of only a couple of returning items that I allow anyone in my entourage to order on the first day of the Festival, which is historically devoted to new items. Four escargot(s) are baked into the croissant which is topped with a buttery garlic and parsley spread. You might be a little apprehensive about the whole snail thing, but this is a good opportunity to try them. The escargots hold up surprisingly well with all of the butter and garlic going on. Definitely worth a try even if you’re a little apprehensive. It’s 95% butter, croissant, and parsley. My body composition is roughly the same after 10+ years of these things. The dish did take a year off last year. I’m sure a change.org petition brought it back. Next thing you know, Flik will be serving it. As Bailey from Houston.
Coq au Vin, Pommes Dauphine: Chicken braised in Burgundy Wine with Bacon and Puffed Potatoes – $6.25
It may be a good thing that France picked up chicken this year instead of the duck, but it does make for a less impressive, less interesting dish. he chicken is a lot easier to pull off, but it’s always nice to try the duck to mix things up a bit. Here’s this year’s version, which carries a similar, likely more consistent flavor. And there are probably a number of people against the idea of eating duck, although chickens are people too. This year, the Puffed Potatoes add a chewy, crispy base to the significant amount of rich, tender chicken smothered in an aromatic, but not overwhelming red wine sauce, that accentuates the richness of the tender meat. The Pearl Onions add a crisp acidity that helps cut the richness of the sizable portion and the soft bacon adds just the right amount of salt.
Altogether, it’s a great value considering the sheer amount of food that’s included, although I’d like to see them take another stab at duck next year. On the other hand, I’m not sure how many people would call this out as chicken after taking a bite. It’s worth noting that France doesn’t prepare much of anything inside of their Marketplace, and instead wheels the food over from backstage kitchens. Freshness can come into play, but hopefully you’ll have the same luck that we did.
Crème Brûlée au Grand Mariner: Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Grand Marnier Liqueur – $5.50
Crème Brûlée, which has enough diacritics in the name that I often just give up and copy and pasté the titlé.
The Crème Brûlée is another Festival mainstay that took a hiatus last year. But the epic combination of rich braised meat combined with a luscious custard returns for your enjoyment this year. Unfortunately, I’d chalk ours up to first day jitters or simply not enough time for the cream to properly set as it was mostly a mess of thin, watery goo. The flavor of the Grand Mariner also overwhelmed, making things even more syrupy with an overpowering orange flavor. Freshness also comes into play. But I have little doubt Bailey will get it right in the next few days, so I wouldn’t necessarily let early reviews deter you.
Taste: 3 (probably closer to a 6 or 7 in the future)/10
Value: 3 (probably closer to a 6 or 7 in the future/10
Evian Sparkling Cucumber and Mint Water with Magnesium and Zinc – $4.75
I’m not sure if it’s in Disney’s interest to try to improve your mind in the middle of a Festival given these price points, and I still hesitate to quote grocery store pricing, but Publix will sell you these cans for about a dollar each. If you’re parched and don’t want to wait elsewhere, you might consider one, but I’m not sure why they don’t pour them into cups and do something at least a little extra. This is obviously an advertisement. Evian is brought to you by Danone, which was recently the largest producer of goods in France somewhere up in The Alps. It all sounds a little James Bond to me, but the company is carbon neutral, so if somebody wants to throw a shoe at you, you might as well give them the benefit of the doubt, though I would likely try to dodge the shoe or you’ll likely need another $5 can of cucumber water.
Strawberry Rose Mimosa: Pol Remy Sparkling Wine, Orange Juice, and Monin Strawberry Rose – $8.50
I’m not sure how much trouble I’m going to get in for blasting The White Stripes’ “I Think I Smell a Rat,” throughout the new ride, but my guess is that France’s use of Remy Sparkling Wine is not entirely a coincidence, even if most of us need to be hit on the head with a bat before we believe anything. This is better than the juicier mimosas at Shimmering Sips, with the subtlety of the strawberry combining with a little orange juice and a nice pour on the wine in our experience. I think most people are headed for the Frozen Concoction coming up, but it’s here and easier to drink if it’s that time of day.
Kronenbourg Blanc 1664
Wait. What. It isn’t on the menu this year? For maybe the first time since the Phoenicians said Kronenbourg? And Italy replied Moretti? And all languages came together as one? I guess you will have to pick up a bottle at one of the other 175 locations in the Pavilion that carries it.
Rosé Pétillant Méthode Traditionnelle Champenoise: Rosé Sparkling Wine, Pink Flamingo – $12.50
It’s fairly similar to the mimosa, sans juice, and plus $4 because of it. The drink debuted in the Pavilion late last year. I’d stick with the frozen version down below or save your money with the previous wine.
Louis de Camponac Chardonnay – $5 and Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot Blend, Bordeaux, Château de Prieuré – $6
This dark red wine enjoys an elegant flavor dominated by black cherry, plum, and cassis with a firm tannin structure. It’s actually one of the better values at the Festival if you’re in the market. The Chardonnay is run-of-the-mill but you could do worse. Like in Italy.
La Passion Martini Slushy: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, Cranberry, and Passion Fruit Juice – $12.50
This is one of my favorite returning frozen cocktails and it’s far more glamorous to carry around one of these martini glasses than one of the many thimble-sized plastic cups in which the majority of the drinks are served, although Disney has largely shied away from the cocktail this year. They may still be in the lab figuring out if they can create a smaller cup. It’s not too sweet and the vodka flavor is present, but almost completely masked by the juices and liqueurs. The first day of the Festival is usually reserved for new items, but we make an exception for these, as they’re that refreshing and that tasty.
Brazil is up next.