We continue from Hawaii.
The Marketplace Formerly Known as “The Almond Orchard Hosted By Blue Diamond Almonds Almond Breeze Almondmilk” (seriously) is called “Shimmering Sips” this year. I would guess the signage was less expensive given the shorter name. You might remember Sips from last year’s Festival Center, where it debuted with the same Mimosas that we’re going to see here. This is the first official Marketplace that you’ll see on the Promenade if you’re beginning your walk around World Showcase on the Canada side. And it’s stocked to the gills with sparkling wine. What a life.
Fortunately, we also return Erin’s favorite item in the Banana Almond Soft-Serve Sundae along with the champagnes, which start at $17.
- Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae – $4.50
- Cheesecake Trio: Raspberry, Chocolate, and New York-Style Cheesecake Bites – $5
- Shimmering Strawberry Soft-serve in a Waffle Cone – $5.25
- The Mimosas – $6 Each
- Dom Pérignon Brut – $32
- Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne — $17 and Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne — $21
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae – $4.50
Made with Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk, fresh Berries, and Chocolate Almond Streusel
The Banana Soft-serve is a bit unusual with a surprisingly natural banana flavor and a refreshing taste. The texture is also smooth without any chunks of banana, which I appreciated. The crunchy Chocolate Almond Streusel combines with the fresh fruit and berry syrup to add a really deep, luscious layer of sweet chocolaty goodness. If this is your inaugural go-around, you may want to share the first one because whole banana thing tends to be a divisive flavor profile. We love it. Considering the quality and uniqueness of the soft serve and the care that typically goes into layering the sundae, it’s a reasonable value.
Taste: 8/10 for me, but as low as a 2/10 or as high as a 10/10, though I suppose you could say that about most items…
Cheesecake Trio: Raspberry, Chocolate, and New York-Style Cheesecake Bites – $5
These were just fine – perhaps a little lighter and creamier than you’d typically expect from Cheesecake, but we didn’t mind given the heat. It’s not something that I would specifically seek out, but it was fun to pair the different flavors with the Champagne and Mimosas. You may want to do the same, but each piece of the trio is two or three bites at most and nothing about them is particularly novel.
Shimmering Strawberry Soft-serve in a Waffle Cone – $5.25
You don’t have a lot of time to down this overflowing ice cream cone filled with deliciously sweet Strawberry Soft Serve. The Waffle Cone is sizable with a lot of jimmies clinging to the top of it via a layer of chocolate and then even more pink shimmering sprinkles on top. I wasn’t as enamored with the Strawberry Soft Serve – it’s light and refreshing in its own right, but not something that isn’t widely available. Eating a large ice cream cone outdoors in the middle of the afternoon during summer in Florida is also a losing proposition and this one gets real melty and real messy real fast. I would have preferred to see more of a sundae situation, which would have allowed us to enjoy more of it at our leisure. The soft serve was basically sticky, sugary goo within five minutes of being served. But there was originally quite a bit of it. Move quickly and take fewer selfies than we did.
The Mimosas – $6 Each
From left to right at the top, your choice of a a Key Lime Mimosa with Key Lime Sparkling Wine and Cranberry Juice; a Tropical Mimosa with Sparkling Wine and Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava Juices; a Blood Orange Mimosa with Sparkling Wine and Blood Orange Juice; and on the bottom right, a Frozen Mimosa featuring White Claw Natural Lime Hard Seltzer
Our favorite, by far, and the only one that I would order again myself, is the Frozen version with White Claw Natural Lime Hard Seltzer. It’s cold, refreshing, and easy to drink with a pleasingly icy consistency. The other Mimosas are on the inexpensive side, but they’re at least half juice, if not more, making for an overwhelmingly cloying, thick, juicy mouthfeel with just a hint of sparkling wine present. At least you don’t have that much to lose for six dollars. A Flight with smaller versions of the Tropical, Key Lime, and Blood Orange is also available for $13. The Frozen Apple drink on the bottom left is one that we’ll get to further along at the Appleseed Orchard. I wish it was served with vodka.
Dom Pérignon Brut – $32
The website spares no expense when it comes to Food and Wine, this time with a $155 bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, a glass of which I’m sipping right now. The $32 glass at the Festival is actually a really good deal – Victoria & Albert’s charges $525 a bottle, or $20.50 an ounce, and you should come away with about four ounces here at the shimmeringest of sips. The Grand Floridian also probably wants you to tip 20% on that $500+ bottle, adding another hundred bucks, which is the cost of three glasses at the Festival by itself. If you’re trying to show off, look no further, just make sure you point to the glass and tell everyone that it’s Dom P as you circle World Showcase. Don’t drink any of it, bring it back to the All-Stars on the bus, and you can repeat the experience tomorrow.
Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne — $17 and Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne — $21
The Moet Imperial is a $40 bottle and the Veuve Brut Rosé is $58, making the Moet Imperial a slightly better buy at the Festival. Still the Dom P is a $155 bottle, or almost four times as much as the Moet Imperial, for only twice as much money at the Marketplace. If you’d like to spend less money, then either the Moet or the Veuve is a great way to get the day started.
Overall, the Cheesecake pairs nicely with the various sparkly drinks and the Banana Soft Serve Sundae stands out as being a light, refreshing option on its own. If you’re feeling fancy, consider one of the champagnes.