This weekend kicked off the 3rd annual Busch Gardens® Food & Wine Festival. This has quickly become a favorite summer festival for us. Executive Chef Justin Watson, one of the creative minds behind Busch Garden’s tastiest event, will be offering loads of options to tickle those taste buds with culinary delights every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 22 – June 28, plus Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day).
Busch Gardens invites guests to unleash their inner foodie with a variety of dishes and wines not normally served at the park. Individual tasting portions make exploring all that the Food and Wine Festival has to offer easy. And with each tapas sized portion ranging from $3 – $7, it’s fun to tastes lots of different options. Our favorites from last year – the Spain, Greece, and American Southwest Stations – are returning this year – YEAH! For 2015, they’ve add an Asia Station, a French Quarter Station and a Scotch Tasting station.
I started my tasting extravaganza with the scotch, cause that’s just the kinda gal I am. I’m far from a scotch connoisseur, so fortunately, the Busch Gardens knowledgeable staff provided ample info on the 3 different 12 year old bottles of scotch from which we drank. I learned that a 12 year old bottle can contain a blend of different scotches, the youngest of which is 12 years old. The Glenmorangie was my favorite. This tasting is a bit more expensive than others at $25, but includes 3 high end bottles that you might not have in your liquor cabinet and will be lots of fun if you’re scotch drinker.
All warm and fuzzy, we headed to the new Asia station. It is a fabulous addition to this year’s event! Of the 4 options at this station, my favorites were the Mushi-Gyoza and the Ginger Lemongrass Custard. The Ponzu sauce served with the dumpling was pure perfection – you’ll want to lick the ramekin. And the portion size on the Custard is easily share-able. It’s fresh and not-to-sweet, but it’s custard so it’s a bit heavy.
Japanese-style steamed chicken dumplings with citrus ponzu sauce
Ginger and Lemongrass Custard
Creamy custard infused with fresh ginger and lemongrass
The Asia station also offers one of the vegan tasting options –
Vegetables & tofu wrapped in tender butter lettuce with toasted almonds and
sweet chili dipping sauce. This was also quite tasty and worth a try.
Feeling satisfied, we enjoyed all the fun that both kids areas had to offer and I ventured onto some of the ‘big kid’ rides with my daughter. We got suckered into playing some of the games and bringing home new stuffed friends. Guess that’s bound to happen when you start the day with a flight of scotch.
Then at the end of the day, we found ourselves right back at our old favorite – the American Southwest Station for Chicken Adobo with Mole Sauce and Chocolate Lava Cake – this cake is a restaurant quality, share-able portion of bliss and the best $4 you’ll ever spend!!
You can check out the Menus for each kiosk before you go and they hand out great little tasting menus to carry around while you’re there.
Enjoy authentic tastes from around the world while strolling through the world’s most beautiful theme park. The hardest decision might just be deciding what to eat first.
***Richmondmom.com is a Blog Ambassador for Busch Gardens and receives complimentary park admission to facilitate reviews. No other compensation is received.