We continue on from Canada.
You’ll find New Zealand waterside on the walk towards or out of Canada depending on which way you’re walking. It’s also across from Refreshment Port.
Seared Venison Sausage replaces last year’s Seared Venison Loin and there’s a new Pinot Noir on the block. One thing I noticed is that the pictures of the first two menu items don’t resemble what you’ll actually receive in any way. The Mussels in the picture aren’t Green Lip and the portion at the Festival is exactly three, rather than the eight shown. The Lamb Meatball is also substantially larger and served inside of a flaky bread bowl. Obviously Disney is going to use idealized photos to some extent, but it doesn’t seem like an intelligent move to misrepresent the items to that extent.
- Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs – $4.50
- Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney – $5.50
- Seared Venison Sausage with Kumara Purée and Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce – $6.50
- Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – $6
- Antmoore Wineworks MOKOblack Pinot Noir – $6
- Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – $7
Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs – $4.50
The “green lip” in the title refers to the mussels’ pretty turquoise edges. The tender mussel meat is similar to a mushroom, working to soak up the garlic, butter, and breadcrumb flavors while adding just a hint of a salty ocean flavor. It’s a good opportunity to try them and they’re easily shareable so long as you have three people interested.
Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney – $5.50
The Lamb Meatball is one of my favorite returning items year in and year out.
This is an incredibly flavorful dish that’s consistently executed – it’s also a surprisingly large portion of the mildly spicy meatball underneath the cool, chunky tomato chutney. The airy bread bowl underneath is soft and chewy and does an admirable job of soaking up all of the flavors from everything inside. It’s so good and as close to a must-try as you’re going to find at the Festival.
Seared Venison Sausage with Kumara Purée and Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce – $6.50
“Kumara” refers to what we would call a sweet potato and the purée ends up being silky smooth with a sweet flavor backed up by a lot of butter. The sauce has a rich dry marsala wine flavor with garlic and olive oil along with the wild mushrooms that offer a nice chewy contrast to the denser meat. This dish is otherwise similar to last year’s when Venison Loin was served in place of the Sausage. I think this version works a lot better – the tender sausage is juicy and doesn’t require a knife to cut and there’s an inherent smokiness that helps cut some of the sweetness from the purée and sauce. A lot of last year’s gamey flavor is gone and it’s a pretty nice portion to boot.
Here’s what was served last year.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – $6
Kim Crawford’s sauvnignon blanc is the least expensive of the varietals that the winery offers. It’s a lot less grassy than the Mohua we’ve seen in the past with a more tropical vibe, which is probably the way to go with the whole outdoor Festival atmosphere. I like it with the mussels.
Antmoore Wineworks MOKOblack Pinot Noir – $6
This is a $12 bottle, which makes the $6 pour on the expensive side as well. The full tannin structure is there, but the flavors aren’t nearly as bold as what we saw served in Canada, where they’ll pour you a cup of wine out of a $45 bottle for just a dollar more than they charge here. That’s the smarter buy.
Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc – $7
I enjoyed this much more than my smug personality would like to admit – it was incredibly refreshing in the summer heat. It somehow maintained the full flavor of the wine at an ice cold temperature and with the blended ice, made it “feel” like it was a much more substantial pour than the sad little cups that most Marketplaces offer. Consider setting your snobbery aside and enjoy.
Overall, New Zealand is a solid stop with three compelling food choices and a great, refreshing Frozen Wine Cocktail. You might send somebody over to Canada for a couple of glasses of red wine, though.