2013 Food and Wine Festival – Danger, Delights, Updates, and Disappointment

Laurie is back with an update.  She got sick from one of the food booths so she wanted to give everyone a warning about what she found out.  Just be careful and be sure to speak to a chef if you have allergies!

DANGER – I found out that the souffle was not gluten or soy free. I spoke for a long time with a chef who went into details about soy in the batter and dusting the souffle with wheat flour. This kind of error could ruin a vacation and even kill someone. I spoke to a chef while making my list of safe foods. I did what I was supposed to do, not just guess that a souffle is safe. There should be a master guide listing every ingredient and how things are to be cooked safely. There should be an ingredient book that lists every ingredient used. When the recipe is changed a copy of the change should be put in the recipe book.

DISAPPOINTMENT – Currently any guest asking about ingredients that have allergies, medical, or sensitivity must have a manager or chef come out to speak with the guest. For Disney run booths this can be a few minutes or up to 15 minutes. 10 booths can mean an hour or more just sitting around waiting for someone to tell you that you cannot eat there. If someone does not have my list they might end up going to Hawai’i, Japan, China, and Terra to be told then cannot eat there and have sat around waiting for nothing to eat. France, China, and Japan are harder to understand and are not run by Disney.

TIPS: Recipes change, cross contamination happens, and staff at times does not know basic kitchen safety. Do not assume that a drink or dish is made with the same ingredients as grandmother, chefs, and cookbooks use. The Belgium booth uses beer in their batter and wine in the compote topping. Some booths use margarine or butter blends so you have to check those for soy and other oils being used. Canada’s cheese soup has chicken stock, bacon, flour, worchester sauce (fish and citrus), and beer so not vegetarian, not Halal, and worst is the worchester sauce which may have soy, wheat, and fish in it depending on the company. Cookbooks are designed for home cooks who are cooking for the family of a dinner party. Festival dishes are designed to be made for thousands of guests which may change how a recipe in a cookbook is used at the Festival.

UPDATES: I went back again to speak with chefs. Here is the list of updates so far that I have, some good and some downright scary. Florida – The beef slider without a bun is soy and gluten free but there is risk of cross contamination both on stage and backstage in the kitchen. Hawai’i – The poke salad is made backstage so it is contaminated by soy and wheat. Ireland – The soy and wheat are in the bread of the cheese plate but they can hold the bread. New Zealand – The mussels are soy and gluten free BUT the garlic butter is a soy blend and there is wheat bread topping. Hold butter for soy free or hold bread for gluten free. Refreshment Port – The fritters have both soy and wheat in them. Hops & Barley – The lobster tail is gluten free BUT they use soy blend butter so not soy free. CHEESE – SCARY NEWS is that they use a spray that contains soy on the almond crusted souffle and dust it with wheat flour. I spoke with two chefs and the second one was way more savvy. The cheese plate is soy free and gluten free if they hold the bread. Germany – The bread is made offsite and comes with a warning about soy.

DELIGHTS – SCOTLAND, the cauliflower is just like a mashed tater dish in texture tiny bits of cooked tender cauliflower. The salmon comes with malt vinegar which helps cut the fish instead of lemon. IT WAS AWESOME, flaky, moist, with skin on, you can smell it being cooked fresh right there in the booth.  It is awesome perfect salmon that rivals the best restaurants in America. Cannot forget the cute sprig of microgreen topping the cauliflower. The best part is that it is soy free and gluten free.

GREECE, The Griddled Greek Cheese is a half inch slab of cheese that is mild enough not to overpower the dish. The pistachios an obvious welcome crunch and there are sweet notes of honey that accompany the cheese in a positive way. To have it soy free and gluten free you have to hold the pita bread. I folded mine over and ate it with glee. The Chicken Gyro without pita with tzatziki sauce has grilled chicken seared with a nice brown crust. It is a good flavored meat topped with lettuce, tomatoes and raw red onion pieces. The tzatziki sauce had hints of cucumber and was rather light, very close to real tzatzik. Major problem was the raw red onion made me stop and I am a raw onion eater. VERY strong.

ARGENTINA, Beef Skewers with a boniato puree. The chimichurri sauce has soy so I skipped it. I ate three of them because tho boniato puree was so much liked whipped potatoes and the beef was lightly spiced, flavorful, and tender. I am going there regularly since I did not have a reaction and it is as close to comfort food as one can get. I think Scotland and Argentina are awesome and worth repeating.

RFRESHMENT PORT – the orange Dole whip was a nice treat.