France returns to the same location inside one of the more precious looking Marketplaces.
Unlike most Marketplaces, which have seen a reduction in the number of items offered, France has actually added a fourth in the French Onion Soup. The Creme Brulee is also a new flavor.
A few of the items pictured with said soup hiding in back.
Soupe à l’oignon au Gruyère et Cognac: Gruyère and Cognac Onion Soup – $4.25
I was surprised to see “contains alcohol” in the menu description, but the flavor of cognac is surprisingly present throughout each bite. I thought the soup itself was rather thin and the cheese on top dried out, in addition to there being very little onion involved. This might taste a little better towards the end of October when the high isn’t 90 degrees. Overall, you might check out the Lobster Bisque from the Boulangerie in the back of the Pavilion if soup sounds good.
Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley – $5.75
Four escargot(s) are baked into the croissant which is topped with a buttery garlic and parsley spread. Surprisingly, the flavor of the escargot is present amidst all of the butter and this ends up being one of the most popular dishes at each Festival. You might be a little apprehensive about the whole snail thing, but this is a good opportunity to try them if you haven’t. The airy croissant also serves to help mask what can sometimes be an unpleasant sliminess of escargot. Very good.
Boeuf Bourguignon: Cabernet Sauvignon-braised Short Ribs with Mashed Potatoes – $6.25
I think I would put my money towards the Filet in Canada. Like the soup, this is a very alcohol-forward dish and the beef is more stew-quality than your typical high-end short rib dish. The potatoes also tend to harden a bit under the heat lamp. This is a pretty safe skip.
Crème Brûlée Caramel Chocolat: Caramel and Chocolate Crème Brûlée topped with Caramelized Sugar – $4.25
This tastes better than it looks with the hard sugary exterior giving way to a creamy, chocolate-y custard underneath. I’d order this alongside the escargots.
Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 Pale Lager – $4.25
Store price: 15.2 cents/ounce.
Festival price: 70.8 cents/ounce.
Value: Very bad.
Kronenbourg is available in France throughout the year and you’ll also find it on the dinner menu at Be Our Guest Restaurant over at Magic Kingdom. This witbier is otherwise heavy on the lemon and orange citrus up front with some lingering coriander spice on the back end. It’s a pretty expensive proposition at the Festival.
Chardonnay, Bourgogne Blanc, Mommessin, La Clé Saint-Pierre – $6.25
Wine pricing is always insane in France. La Crema at Hops and Barley is $1.75 less and significantly better, but if you want a white from the booth….this is it.
St-Germain Sparkling Kir: Sparkling Wine and St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur – $8
That’s the Sparkling Kir in the back of the picture – this drink has been mixed with pomegranate liqueur the last couple of years and appears red because of that. I’m not sure what the deal was with what France was serving – perhaps the sparkling wine they are using is not dry enough, but this tasted very odd with the St. Germain tasting more like dirt than the typical floral bouquet. You might have better luck and it is all alcohol for the money, but I can’t recommend what we were served.
Frozen Daiquiri Ice Pop: Strawberry Puree with French Caribbean Rhum Clément – $8.50
I have never had much luck with France’s “Adult Ice Pops.” They are never entirely frozen and the plastic vessel used to get the melting concoction to your mouth does little to protect your precious hands from getting covered in dark red ice pop gunk. Because it’s meant to be licked, the flavor is very intense as the pop needs to be eaten within about two minutes of being served. If you’re hellbent on ordering one of these then I would request a plastic cup with it and after failing to eat it as an ice pop, dump it in the cup and grab a couple spoons. Despite being “kind of fun,” this gets a hard pass from me.
La Passion Martini Slush: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron Vodka, Cranberry and Passion Fruit Juice – $10.75
This is a unique take on what France offers in two flavors all year and is one of the most popular cocktails at the Festival. It makes the most sense if you’ve purchased a set of the coupons discussed near the top of this post, because it brings the cost down to around $7 versus the $10.75 cash price. It’s worth the seven dollars, but I’m not sure there’s enough alcohol involved to command the highest priced mixed drink at the Festival. Very tasty though and a crowd pleaser every year.