We continue from Hawaii.
The Wine and Dine Studio returns in the same location as last year on the walk into World Showcase from Future World near the Imagination Pavilion.
It’s the Marketplace on the far left. This is a particularly good place to stop because there are three kiosks all located in short order with an expansive area to set your food down and enjoy it in relative peace.
The Butternut Squash Ravioli replaces last year’s Pulled Duck Confit, which is probably a good thing as I gave it a 1/10 on both taste and value. For better or worse, BelGioioso takes over the Cheese Trio and the wines are all-new.
Seared Scallops, Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussel Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms featuring Melissa’s Produce – $6
Disney does Festival scallops well and these continue that tradition, perfectly prepared with a mild flavor and a buttery texture. The Truffled Celery Root is surprisingly similar to mashed potatoes in consistency and flavor with a little bit of an earthy vibe, while the large pile of mushrooms adds some heft. Don’t go into this one for the Brussels Sprouts as there’s very little of that going on, but I don’t think you’ll miss them. Altogether, it was a lot of food for the money and a good value. One of the best items in Future World.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds – $4.50
Just in case you’re wondering what this delicious ravioli replaces, here’s a look at least year’s Duck Confit, where I had this to say:
I may have had bad luck with this one as it was one of the most disgusting things that I can remember being served over the last few years and there have been some real losers. The duck had a slimy texture and was swimming in the wine-heavy sauce – there was no opportunity whatsoever for nuance and I couldn’t even really tell that I was eating duck. The beans were watered down and soggy with an unpleasant tomato flavor. What I was served was really bad – hopefully it was just a missed opportunity.
We’re not in raviolo territory here, which means each plate arrives with two small ravioli stuffed with sweet, soft squash and topped with a decadent Brown Butter Vinaigrette with a deliciously nutty richness with a little bit of acid to help cut some of the sugar. The pasta retains a nice firm al dente quality and the Pumpkin Seeds add crunch along with a couple thin pieces of freshly-sliced Parmesan Cheese to bring it all together. It’s not an overwhelming portion by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s restaurant-quality pasta and a solid dish that’s only going to taste better as temperatures cool. I wasn’t even mad that it cost $4.50
Artist Palette of Cheese and Wine – $11.25
With La Bottega di BelGioioso Crescenza-Stracchino, La Bottega di BelGioioso CreamyGorg Gorgonzola Dolce, and La Bottega di BelGioioso Artigiano Vino Rosso Cheese along with Reata Chardonnay, Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rosé, Spellbound Petite Sirah wine.
These sorts of sponsorship
takeovers opportunities can go one of two ways. Sometimes, the sponsor helps subsidize the dish, offering guests a fantastic item that brings out the best qualities of the product at a price lower than a lot of other Festival dishes. Other times, the sponsor forces a product that doesn’t really work in the context of the dish or the Festival as a whole.
This is the latter, at least when served outside in the heat of the day, where none of the cheeses fared well, particularly next to their melting accompaniments.
Everything ended up being slimy and gross. Quality control may improve throughout the Festival, particularly if they can keep the cheese on ice until it’s served.
The wines are all fine with bottle prices ranging from $13-$20. The Chardonnay is the best of the bunch with a nice mineral presence backed up by pear, apple, and oak. The Rosé is good too, heavy on strawberries and watermelon with light carbonation and a dry finish. The Petite Sirah is an accessible, sweet red wine that feels jammy in the mouth with bright, full-bodied fruit. None are best of class, but they all taste like wine. Of the three, I’d probably opt for the Chardonnay paired with the Scallops or the Ravioli.
Overall, the Scallops are as close to a must-buy as you’ll find at the Festival and the Squash Ravioli are worth adding to the order. We didn’t have much luck with the cheese, but the situation will assuredly improve as temperatures cool and perhaps as operations improve. The Palette is historically one of my favorite things as it’s fun to mix and match all of the different flavors with the wine.
We’ll move next door to the Cheese Studio with the review here.