The newly rebranded Epcot International Festival of the Holidays kicked off just over 1 week ago, on 11/25. The “Holiday Kitchens” are open from 12pm – 8pm daily until December 30.
There are 14 different booths mostly spread across the World Showcase, with one near Test Track. Only 11 of these booths offer savory foods, as two are sweets only, and one only offers alcoholic beverages. There are also various items spread across existing locations, such as Joffrey’s kiosks and Refreshment Port.
Today we’ll be reviewing the first 2 proper food booths you’d hit while doing a counterclockwise lap around the World Showcase. I’m going in this direction because it’s the direction I recommend you go during your visit. You’ll see why in a moment. For the most part, we are only reviewing the food items, though there will be a few drinks mixed in. The cookies will be saved for a separate post.
On with the show!
Yukon Holiday Kitchen
The Yukon booth is located where the Canada booth normally sits during Food & Wine.
Seared Salmon – with Crown Maple Whisky Glaze, Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney and Hazelnut Croquant – $5.75
Another Epcot festival, another solid salmon dish. It was cooked perfectly, and the glaze, parsnip silk, micro greens, and croquant all complemented the fish wonderfully. Personally, I could have done without the apple chutney. I’m not a big fan of apples in savory food, and this was no exception. And I wouldn’t have minded a larger piece of salmon. But this was still a solid dish.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Traditional French Canadian Tourtiere – with Canadian Ketchup – $5.25
One of the best dishes of the festival, this tourtiere is a sizable portion of flaky crust and tender minced pork. The only thing holding this back from being THE best item of the festival was the Canadian ketchup. It was way too tangy, and a bit off-putting. Otherwise, this is a wonderful dish, and a tremendous value.
Score: 9.0 out of 10
Maple Bûche de Noël – Maple Mousse rolled in Gingerbread Chiffon Cake with Cranberry Sauce and Pecan Crumble – $4.50
This festival is very heavy on the yule logs. Unless you are a yule log fanatic, you are going to want to choose your yule logs very carefully. Let me make it easy for you. Get your yule log from the Yukon Holiday kitchen. It’s got some wonderful flavors going on, with the sweet spiciness of the gingerbread cake, the rich decadence of the maple mousse, the tart cranberries, and nutty pecans. The cake is moist, and the pecans give it a nice crunch. The other yule logs simply can’t compete.
Score: 9.0 out of 10
Yukon Holiday Kitchen is one of the strongest booths of any Epcot festival this year. I strongly advise ordering the tourtiere and yule log, even if you’re only visiting for one day. And if you are going to make multiple laps around the World Showcase during your visit, you could do worse than to order the salmon as well.
Le Marché de Noël
You’ll find Le Marché de Noël in France’s normal spot.
Napoléon de Saumon Fumé, Brioche á l’aneth – Smoked Salmon Napoleon in a Dill Brioche – $5.75
My favorite item from last year’s holiday festival returns. And guess what… it’s probably my favorite item from this year’s festival as well. This is so simple, yet absolutely amazing. The smoked salmon is so fresh and tender, the spread so creamy and rich, and the bread so soft and… bready. Seriously, this might be my favorite item from any Epcot festival ever. Somebody asked me on the Disboards if I ever gave out 10s, since I didn’t give anything from Food & Wine a 10. Here you go!
Score: 10 out of 10
Bouchée à la Reine Traditionnelle – Turkey and Mushrooms in a Veloute Cream Sauce served in a Light Puff Pastry – $6.75
Man, these first two booths are going to spoil me. This is another very good dish. Flaky, buttery, tender, creamy, earthy… I’ll let you figure out which adjectives apply to which components.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
Bûche de Noël au Chocolat “Christmas Log” – Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Caramel Ganache – $4.75
Finally we have something that didn’t quite work for me. This was too dense, and too rich, and served too cold. If you are a chocoholic you will probably love this, but it was way too much for me. I don’t think I even finished half. Not because it was bad, but because it was just too much. The caramel ganache was good on it’s own, but got completely lost in all of the rich chocolate.
Score: 6.0 out of 10
Le Marché de Noël is another very strong booth. Two of the best savory items of the festival, and if you worship at the altar of chocolate, a fine dessert.
Up next, L’Chaim! and Sapphire.