You’ll find New Zealand on the walk over to Mexico in between Farm Fresh and Australia.
The Marketplace returns all three food items.
Each of the three items as they are served this year.
Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney – $5.25
On the far right is one of my favorite dishes of the entire Festival with a large, slightly spicy meatball hiding underneath the flavorful, but-not-very-spicy tomato chutney inside of an airy bread bowl. It’s a substantial portion for the money and one of the better overall values on something I think most people aren’t going to find in a lot of other places.
Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs – $4
The “green lip” in the title refers to the pretty turquoise edge of each mussel, which arrives tasting largely of the garlic, butter, and breadcrumbs in the other half of the title. The mussels themselves taste sort of like mushrooms of the ocean working to soak up the other flavors while just giving off a hint of the sea that they came from. Very tender. It’s a good opportunity to try them and they’re easily shareable so long as you have three people interested.
Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce and Kumara Dumpling – $6.25
Half eaten for your pleasure, red meat is an iffy prospect at the booths as there’s roughly a minute between a perfectly cooked, medium steak and something that arrives overcooked and rubbery. New Zealand did a nice job with the sear, but I’m not sure the meat is adequately seasoned on its own and the marsala sauce didn’t have that rich wine flavor that you would expect. The sweet potato/kumara dumpling lent a sweet, fruity bite when it came into contact with the other parts of the dish. If you’re looking for one $6+ piece of meat, I think Canada does a better job, but this is a good use of a Disney Dining Plan credit and you may prefer deer to cow. The portion size is also pretty decent, relatively speaking.
Store price: 59 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.83/ounce.
Value: Below average.
Kim Crawford Pinot Gris is on the expensive side, but it’s also one of the better wines, with a ripe pear flavor on the front with a clean finish. The “wine is wine” crowd, present company included, may want to skip due to the higher price point, but it is very good though and pairs nicely with the Lamb Meatball.
Store price: 57.1 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.50/ounce.
Value: Above average.
This is the grassiest sauvignon blanc I’ve ever tasted with a crisp acidity and a grapefruit aftertaste. It’s not for everyone, but this is a nice way to sample the style.
Store price: 71 cents/ounce.
Festival price: $1.50/ounce.
Finally, the Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir is a good value. It’s got a bit of spiciness to it before opening up to a fruity, earthy finish. Very good with the venison as the menu stipulates.