We continue from France.
Ireland returns across from the United Kingdom Pavilion and to the left of Rose & Crown.
This is the second year that Ireland has offered these same three food items and the second year in a row that we don’t see the Fisherman’s Pie, which I think is a shame. There’s apparently a need for a hot seafood item in the area as Brazil added the fish stew this year with scallops and shrimp. Perhaps the Fisherman’s Pie was too time-consuming to make or the cost was too high given the amount of seafood. Supposedly, it was made of over 40 different ingredients. Otherwise, the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout replaces last year’s Golden Lager and the Guinness Baileys Shake arrives in place of the Twinings Pumpkin Chai Tea, which has moved to the Chocolate Studio this year.
Roasted Irish Sausage with Colcannon Potatoes and Onion Gravy – $5.50
This was “just okay” in my book – the pork was your standard breakfast sausage variety, not unlike something you’d pick up from Jimmy Dean. The outside should have been a lot tighter and crispier with much more flavorful pork inside. Instead, the flavor profile was a bland mix of pepper and onion. The onion gravy wasn’t much better with a slimy consistency and a generic, off-putting sweetness. The colcannon was on point – a nice mixture of potatoes, bacon, and cabbage, but the texture ended up being greasy underneath the gravy.
Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread – $4.75
Opinions on this one ran the gamut from “hands thrown up in the air terrible” to “wow this is really good.” The dip has more of a gritty fondue texture than you might be expecting to go along with a rich cheesy taste. I liked it a lot with the fresh soda bread – firm, but crumbly with a sweet aftertaste and a hearty character. One downside is that you need at least three times as much bread for the amount of dip/fondue you get. So dip deep from the first bite or grab some spoons. I enjoyed it, but you might want to order one and share before committing to 12 plates/bowls and at $4.75, there probably isn’t an overwhelming amount of value here given the meager amount of bread presented. The Cheddar Cheese Soup coming up in Canada with the Pretzel Bread is always a crowd favorite.
Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard – $4.25
I like this one a lot – a relatively simple dessert executed well with the rich, warm, brownie-like cake base topped with the sweet, decadent custard. Even if you’re not planning on ordering one, the smell of freshly baked chocolate cake is going to get you in line; budget the four bucks plus change to pick one up because it’s going to be on your list.
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout – $4.25
This is a really good beer and one that I’m happy to see over whatever promotional brew Guinness is trying to force on our domestic market. It never works. The flavor is incredibly rich with chocolate, cocoa, caramel, and coffee notes with a lingering, bitter aftertaste featuring roasted malts. It’s arguably the brewery’s best beer, though I’m sure Guinness Draught purists would beg to differ. It’s worth trying.
Bunratty Meade Honey Wine – $6
Bunratty Meade Honey Wine is a very sweet wine that tastes strongly of honey and very little of alcohol, despite having an ABV of 14.7%. It should be available in stores for around $18/bottle. Purists would tell you that it’s not a traditional mead, which would be fermented honey wine. This is a white wine with honey and spices added to it. Assuming you start drinking around the World in Mexico (and for most, even in Canada), you won’t care. It will probably be a lot thicker than you’re expecting.
Guinness Baileys Shake – $10.50
This drink is served in the one plastic souvenir cup that you’ll be served at the World Showcase Marketplaces, whether you want it or not. And I think you do want it, even if this is far from your typical “shake.” The overwhelming flavors are chocolate and Baileys – there’s virtually no Guinness presence whatsoever. The mouthfeel is close to a thin chocolate milk and the drink is served cold, luscious, and refreshing. I’m honestly not sure where I come down on it – it doesn’t really deliver based on the title, but it’s still delicious. It’s $10.50, which is one of the more expensive cocktails served at the Festival, but it comes with a fun take-home cup that you may or may not want to carry around with you all day. It’s not really a “shake,” but it’s still cold and refreshing. So I just don’t know.
Overall, I can’t help but wonder how good that Fisherman’s Pie would taste alongside that Guinness(?) Baileys Shake. The Roasted Irish Sausages are a good portion, but they don’t deliver on the robust flavor that I think you’d hope to see. You still only get two small slices of bread with the Cheese Dip, though it is quite good and the Warm Chocolate Pudding is comforting and delicious. Pick up a Foreign Stout and let me know what you think about the Shake.
Canada is up next with the review here.