Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival 2018 brings 16 new dishes and specialty drinks to this year’s event.
Busch Gardens Tampa is an exciting destination in Florida that offers thrilling roller coasters and awesome animal encounter experiences throughout the year and during this special time of the year, the park hosts its annual Food & Wine Festival. This is where guests can indulge in fine cuisine, delicious drinks and fine wines that all come together to immerse visitors in a wonderful festival-style dining experience.
WATCH – DELICIOUS VIEWS FROM 2018 FESTIVAL:
The Festival is celebrated at cabins found around Gwazi Park, where guests can sample 35 different food items, 65 fine wines and a lineup of over 50 craft brews. This is also where guests can sample 16 new dishes to this year’s festival, which bring an even wider selection of cuisine than ever before to the annual event.
Here is a look at some of the festival’s many wonderful food and drink offerings from this year’s celebration.
Here is where guests can tantalize their taste buds with delicious cuisine inspired by America’s southern states.
with Mashed Potatoes, Fresh English Peas, and Blackberry Demi-Glace
The Venison Meatloaf is one of this cabin’s richer offerings. The meatloaf is a fine piece of meat and when paired with the peas and mashed potatoes, it makes for a nice offering. The blackberry demi-glace is a little on the thick side for my palate, but it is still a nice and creamy topping for the dish.
Bison Slider on a Poppy Seed Roll
with Bacon and Sriracha Ketchup
This was one of my favorite bites from the festival. The dish is a nice sized portion made with a hearty piece of meat and delicious and flavorful sriracha ketchup and bacon. This is a great option for anyone who is a fan of sliders, especially if you are looking for an extra kick of flavor, which the sriracha ketchup definitely brings to this delectable hand-held bite.
Bananas Foster Panna Cotta
with Caramel Popcorn
Alexander Valley, Merlot
Founders Brewing Co., Solid Gold Lager 4.4% ABV, IBU 20
Blue Lemonade, Watermelon Frosé
The Blue Lemonade was definitely one of the sweeter drink options from the festival. The blue lemonade flavor was very prominent while sipping this drink. The slush drink also contained a pretty fair amount of alcohol, so you may only want to order one of these drinks if you are looking to sample many of the festival’s drink and wine options.
Garden Gate Cafe
New! Truffle Seafood Mac & Cheese
Shrimp, Scallops, & Cod in a Creamy Swiss Cheese Sauce Scented with White Truffle
Hawaiian Seasoned Tuna
Murphy Goode, Sauvignon Blanc
Brew Bus Brewing, You’re My Boy Blueberry Wheat 6% ABV, IBU 12
Here is where guests can indulge in a variety of different foods ranging from seafood, beef and even waffles!
Mango Shrimp Ceviche
with Sweet and Spicy Marinade
on a Spiced Corn Waffle with Amberbock BBQ Sauce
I personally have never sampled the combination of beef brisket on a waffle before, and I was pleasantly surprised. The beef was a juicy piece of meat that was complemented nicely with the addition of the BBQ sauce. The bite’s waffle base also added a nice sweetness, and overall I must say this was a delicious and surprising offering from the festival.
Griddled Cheese Cake Sandwich
with Raspberry Drizzle
The Griddled Cheese Cake sandwich was one of my favorites from the festival. The entire sandwich is made of a cheesecake base, which is very sweet and delicious, and its raspberry drizzle topping really finishes the dessert off nicely. If you become indecisive about different desserts offered at the festival, go for this one!
Trapiche, Oak Cask Malbec
New Belgium, Fat Tire Belgium White Ale 5.2% ABV, 12 IBU
This cabin is full of hearty meats, including salmon and ribs!
New! Short Rib & Brie Grilled Cheese
on House-Made Brioche
with Lemon Aioli
The Salmon Cake was a nice offering from the festival as it was nice and flaky and full of well-seasoned onions and peppers. The lemon aioli was also a nice addition to the salmon cake and added a sweetness to the dish.
in Korean BBQ Sauce
Funky Buddha Brewery, Pineapple Beach Blonde 5% ABV, 20 IBU
This kitchen features all-American classic dishes like mac and cheese and everyone’s favorite, chocolate.
New! Tostones Rellenos de Pollo
Fried Plantain Cups filled with Stewed Chicken
Cabernet Wine-Filled Chocolate Truffles
Bacon Mac & Cheese
Terrazas de los Andes, Malbec
3 Daughters Brewing, Beach Blonde Ale 5% ABV, IBU 24
New! Boiled Peanut Hummus
with Coke® Drizzle
New! Minute Maid Apple Glazed Pork Belly
with Kimchee Slaw
Coke® Infused Chocolate Cupcake
Topped with Pop Rocks
Michael David Winery, Freakshow Red Blend
Tampa Bay Brewing Co., Reef Donkey APA 5.5% ABV, IBU 36
with Curdito & Grilled Shrimp
New! Smoked Trout
Watermelon Radish Charred Herbs Vinaigrette
This Smoked Trout was a nice offering from the festival. However, its flavor was very sharp in comparison to some of the other menu items in this cabin. I think this is a good option for anyone who enjoys trout, as it was prepared well and it was full of delicious flavors from the watermelon radish and charred vinaigrette.
Duck Fat Truffle Fries
with Parmesan Truffle Aioli
The Duck Fat Truffle Fries are great for anyone looking for a simpler option from the festival. The fries were nice and salty and the drizzle of parmesan truffle aioli added a nice kick to the classic snack food.
Fleur De Mer, Rose
Founders Brewing Co., All Day IPA 4.7% ABV, IBU 42
Light Fare Canteen
of Roasted Tomatoes, Artesian Meats, Cheeses & Olives
New! Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent
Medley of Mushrooms in a Flakey Pastry
with Leeks & Swiss Cheese
Rutherford Ranch, Sauvignon Blanc
Rekorderlig, Strawberry-Lime Cider 4.5% ABV
Cooking with Coke
New! Orange Fanta Whoopie Pie
Pulled Pork Slider
with Cherry Coke BBQ Sauce
The Pulled Pork Slider was a hearty and delicious offering from the festival. The pulled pork was cooked slowly to be nice and tender and when combined with the Cherry Coke BBQ sauce, it created an explosion of flavor in my mouth. Also, for it being a slider, the sandwich was fairly well sized in comparison to some other eats found around the festival.
with Strawberry Fanta Coulis
William Hill Estate Winery, Pinot Noir
Pair O’ Dice Brewing Co., Lucky Lucy Strawberry Blonde 5.5% ABV, IBU 15
Field House Eatery
New! Char Sui Duck Steam Bun
New! Habanero-Infused Baklava
with Fresh Pomegranate
Grilled Lamb Chops
with Tabouleh & Tzatziki
The Grilled Lamb Chops were deliciously seasoned and grilled to perfection. This was definitely another one of my favorites from the festival. Each lamb chop was a generous size and the tabouleh and tzatziki sauce really rounded out the offering nicely, adding even more flavor to the dish.
Josh Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon Craftsman 14
Motorworks Brewing, Intellectual Property Ale IPA 6.9% ABV, IBU 85
Mojito, Red Sangria
If you are a fan of sangria, then I definitely recommend the Frozen Red Sangria. The drink is really sweet and refreshing and full of fruity flavor. I was nervous that the icy drink would taste watered down, but the ice to sangria mix was proportioned well to maintain the drink’s fruitful punch.
with Sweet Chili Sauce, Slow Roasted, Asian Sweet Chili Sauce on a Corn Tortilla
Short Rib Taco
Tender Beef with a BBQ Demi Glaze & Onion Straws on a Corn Tortilla
The Short Rib Tacos were a wonderful option from the festival. Each taco had a nice and warm corn tortilla filled with tender and well-seasoned beef. The BBQ demi glaze & onion straws were a nice topping to the tacos and added that something extra to make the dish even more festive and fun.
Portobello Mushroom Taco
Balsamic Vinegar Roasted Portobello Mushrooms Paired with Corn on a Corn Tortilla
J. Lohr, Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon
Goose Island Beer Co., Goose Island IPA 5.9% ABV, 55 IBU
Mojito, Red Sangria
New! Guava Empanada
New! Shrimp Po Boy
This Shrimp Po Boy is a great offering from the festival. The shrimp is breaded and seasoned, which adds for a nice flavor. The sandwich also includes lettuce, tomato, and a creamy sauce all wrapped together on a roll, which nicely finishes this classic New Orleans inspired sandwich.
New! Fried Frog Legs
with Bacon Corn Fritters & Cajun Remoulade
I know when many people think of frog legs, their palates usually aren’t jumping for joy, but these fried limbs could have just about anyone salivating for more. The frog legs are fried perfectly with a nicely seasoned breading and with the addition of the bacon corn fritters and Cajun remoulade, these amphibian treats really are a great offering from the festival.
Pacific Rim, Riesling “J”
Motorworks Brewing, Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA 6.3% ABV, IBU 85
Coast to Coast Cookery
New! Cauliflower Cake
with Sriracha Aioli
with Chimichurri & Roasted Poblano Hash
Flourless Chocolate Torte
with Raspberry Sauce
SAVED, Red Blend
Swamp Head Brewery, Wild Night Honey Cream Ale 5% ABV, IBU 21
Blue Lemonade, Watermelon Frosé
Upon seeing all of the above, most would be excited to try out all of the festival’s many delicious offerings. And to give festival goers a deal, Busch Gardens has created different tier dining packages, which allow guests to easily walk around the park and sample cuisines of their choosing.
For this year’s festival, Busch Gardens is offering three different sampler lanyard packages: 5-, 8-, and 12-item samplers.
- 5-Item Sampler – (29.99)
- 8-Item Sampler – (39.99)
- 12-Item Sampler – (54.99)
Make sure you head over to Busch Gardens soon, as the festival only runs until April 29.