Foodie Friday: Cheese Dishes at Food & Wine Festival

Cheese. Amazing, cheesy goodness. While I’m a huge fan of sweets, when it comes to salty foods and entrees, nothing beats a cheesy dish. The more cheese the better.

Brazilian Cheese Bread, Brazil Booth

This was pretty high on my list going into the festival. I was really intrigued by the idea of the Pao de Quiejo, or Brazilian Cheese Bread. I went to BLT Steak while in Washington DC, which gives complimentary bread that’s very similar to Brazilian Cheese Bread. It was love at first bite. While the Brazilian Cheese Bread wasn’t as good as BLT’s version, it definitely hit the spot.

I think I expected something closer to a mozzarella stick. The cheese is baked into the bread, rather than inside it. The taste of cheese is definitely prevalent. They’re very light. The texture is crispy on the outside and softy and billowy on the inside. Each order comes with two and are fairly easy to split.

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Brazilian Cheese Bread

Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Farm Fresh Booth

This wound up being the first thing we tried last year. We decided to tackle the most popular offerings first, as it was Friday and due to get crowded after 5pm. Plus, the smell drove us in. As we finished riding Test Track and walked back toward the World Showcase, we immediately smelled the bacon.

First impression: it was actually a solid-sized portion. As far as taste goes, this doesn’t hold any punches with cheese. The cheese sauce is creamy and sharp. I liked that the sauce wasn’t too, well, saucy. It was thick enough that it coated the pasta and didn’t leave you with a watery cheese soup at the bottom of the tray.

It was advertised as “Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions.” The bacon certainly had that peppered taste. It was a subtle spiciness—the kind where your nose starts running a bit and you break a sweat. Or maybe that was due to it being 90+ degrees at 11am. Who knows. It was certainly spicier than I anticipated, though. The bacon, as well as the peppers and green onion added a nice texture. I wasn’t crazy about the green peppers, as I can never quite get rid of the taste the rest of the day. However, the red onions added a nice dimension and certainly added some color to the dish.

This is a must-get at the Food and Wine. The popular Farm Fresh booth returns this year. Split a cider flight, but make sure to get your own serving of the mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s so good that we almost ordered seconds!

Mac&Cheese

Peppered Mac & Cheese, Farm Fresh

Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup served with Pretzel Roll

As one of the more popular booths at Food and Wine, I’d recommend heading to the Canada Booth earlier in the day and toward the middle of the week if possible. Food and Wine is an extremely popular after work spot among the locals. You’ll certainly see an uptick in lines and difference in crowds after 5pm on a Friday.

Despite the recommendation to hit the booth early in the day, we decided to save the Canada Booth for later on. We wanted to enjoy the Filet Mignon for “dinner” and with it being unseasonably hot in November, we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat soup in the afternoon.

The Canada Booth offers a small sample of the pavilion’s Deluxe Restaurant, Le Cellier’s, most popular dishes. I still dream about the bread basket at Le Cellier. My family would fight over who got the pretzel rolls. A true seasoned Le Cellier diner knows to order the cheese soup and to save the soft pretzel for dunking.

Having not been to Le Cellier since 2010, we decided to head to the Canada Booth this year. I’ll get to the Filet in a later post, today is all about the cheese. This was the first and only booth where we ordered pretty much everything. We ordered the chicken sausage to split; and we each got our own filet, cheese soup and Moosehead Lager.

For the first time probably ever, I was happy that the soup wasn’t too hot. This is the kind of soup you make on a football Sunday in November—when that crisp cold breeze is in the air and you throw everything in the crockpot and let it cook all day. This was quite the opposite. It was a hot, dense day with little to no breeze. I used the cheese soup as more of a dip than a soup. I almost wish we had more pretzels.

The cheese soup is thick and hearty. It could honestly be a meal on its own, which is why I’m glad that it’s a smaller serving. The soup is made with white cheddar. Quick foodie lesson: it’s a Canadian belief that “very old” cheddar tends not to be colored. It doesn’t change the taste much, but I guess you’re getting authentic Canadian cooking with the white cheddar being used. It’s rich and creamy, with a slight sharpness. The saltiness of the bacon is a nice compliment and the taste is rounded out by the slight taste of beer, which is probably my favorite part. The beer adds a slight bitterness that really compliments the creaminess of the soup. Dare I say, it’d be far too decadent without the beer.

The cheese soup returns this year, along with the rest of Canada’s star-studded menu. I really, really recommend ordering everything at this booth.

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