Every season at Busch Gardens Williamsburg makes me excited. And the Busch Gardens Williamsburg Food & Wine Festival 2016 is no exception. This festival runs through June 26, 2016 so you have plenty of time to get out and try things!
This year at the Food and Wine Festival they have two new kiosks: Hawaii and Virginia. I decided that in order for me to give you the best review possible I needed to buy ALL the food at these locations. Some are not items that I would eat so I took my friend J with me to give me a fair assessment. He was more than willing to give his opinion and take some pictures.
Root Vegetable Chip With Maui Onion Dip– Fried sweet potatoes, taro root & beet chips with caramelized sweet onion dip
I loved this. The chips were all different thicknesses so the taste was a little different with each bite. The dip was so good- absolutely not French’s from the grocery store. The onion and sweet potato contrast was REALLY nice.
Spam Slider – Fried spam with sriracha mayonnaise & grilled pineapple served with pineapple-coconut coleslaw
J had this because I don’t care for spam. He really liked it and talked about how to make it at home. The pineapple’s sweetness and the spam’s saltiness provided a nice contrast with the King’s Hawaiian Roll. And the sriracha mayonnaise gave it just a kick in the aftertaste. The coleslaw had a coconut flavor so to get the full experience make sure you get some pineapple on your fork when you try it!
Huli Huli Chicken– Sweet pineapple & soy BBQ chicken served with orange & purple sweet potato salad
This was my least favorite dish. The chicken was dry and the sauce on the outside really wasn’t anything too unique. The purple sweet potato salad just tasted like normal potato salad. With all the good things at this station I would say skip this one.
Tuna Poke– Soy & sesame sushi tuna in a wonton flower with wasabi aioli, served with wakame seaweed salad
J tried this one because I am not seafood fan. J is a HUGE sushi fan (one might say an addict) so he was particularly excited about this item. He says if you like sushi this is right on par. The wasabi aioli was good- not overpowering. The seaweed salad is sweet and sesame is a dominant flavor.
Haupia Tart– Sweet coconut mousse with Kona coffee ganache in a crispy tart shell
J RAVED about this. The direct quote is “this is like heaven- this is like chocolate cream pie meets coconut cream pie with a little coffee.” At night’s end when I asked him what his favorite dish was he mentioned this with no hesitation.
Hibiscus Lemonade– Very sweet and refreshing on a hot day in the park. Non-alcoholic
I LOVE this drink. It’s hard to find a refreshing non-alcoholic drink in the park besides water. This was it. The weather was in the high 80’s and it was HOT outside. This lemonade was PERFECT. It was very sweet without being too overbearing. And the portion was large enough I could walk about the park and enjoy it for a while!
Pork Rings with Virginia Dips– Deviled Ham Pate, Pimento cheese spread, Smoked bacon & onion jam
Presentation was a huge issue with this dish. The dips kind of all ran into each other. I can’t bring myself to eat pork rinds. J ate just enough to taste the dips and then moved onto other dishes. No seasoning on the pork rinds. He enjoyed the pimento cheese spread the most. This one didn’t seem to make any lasting impression.
She-Crab Soup– Crab bisque finished with sherry, Old Bay crostini & Chesapeake Blue Crab salad
In spite of the 90 degree heat J finished this whole soup bowl. He recommends taking the crostini and burying it well in the soup to soak some of it up. He said it was as good as she-crab soup from any good restaurant.
Smithfield Ham Tasting– Red Eye Country Ham, Hickory Smoked Pitt Ham & Applewood Carved Ham served with honey biscuit, apple butter, raspberry jam & whole grain mustard
Biggest complaint on this dish- you can look at the picture and see how thin the cuts of ham are. You can see THROUGH one of them- doesn’t really give you a good taste. Also the dips were put on top of the meat so if you wanted to try one in each it wasn’t really possible. However THAT BISCUIT was amazing. I dipped it in the raspberry jam and apple butter and it was so good.
Bacon and Cheddar Hushpuppies– Cornmeal fritters served with Virginia honey butter
I LOVED these but in all honestly once you deep fry any bread product I am not a hard sell. The honey butter was REALLY good. The bacon is almost an after taste in the hushpuppies and the cheese only adds creaminess- not flavor. It is likely a very mild cheddar. The honey was local. Highly recommend these.
Pecan, Bacon and Chocolate Bars– Sweet pecan caramel bars topped with smoked bacon & chocolate drizzle
J says if you like pecan pie you will like this! When he was growing up he had a pecan tree in his back yard. They would eat straight out of the yard- the freshest nuts possible. Be sure when you get your fork full to get some bacon on it- you only get the bacon flavor with the actual bacon. The chocolate is subtle. This received high marks as well.
Busch Gardens Money Saving Deal
Last year during the media event for the Food & Wine Festival I made a suggestion to the staff that they create some kind of punch card. I wanted to just come to the park, pay a flat fee and get a certain amount of dishes. It was annoying pulling out my card and having all the charges go through on my debit card.
So this year I was THRILLED to see two Food Sampler options:
- Mix and match 10 entrée or dessert dishes from any of the Food & Wine Festival kiosks with the Food & Wine Festival Food Sampler for only $35!
- Or you can get the Food & Wine Festival Deluxe Food Sampler and try 15 Food & Wine Festival entrées or dessert items for only $50!
Prices Without Sampler
Root Vegetable Chips With Maui Onion Dip $3.00
Spam Slider $5.00
Huli Huli Chicken $6.00
Tuna Poke $6.00
Haupia Tart $3.00
Pork Rinds With Virginia Dips $4.00
She Crab Soup $5.00
Pecan, Bacon and Chocolate Bars $3.00
Smithfield Ham Tasting $4.00
Bacon & Cheddar Hush Puppies $4.00
Mushi-Gyoza (Dumplings) $5.00
Sonoran Spice Pork $5.00
Jamiacan Jerk Chicken $6.00
Shrimp Frittatas $5.00
Final Price: $69- a savings of $19!
None of these prices reflect sales tax.