by Kendall Foreman
For those of you who have followed prior posts of mine, you already know what a foodie I am, and that I am convinced that WDW offers some of the finest snacks and dishes I have ever eaten. To my dismay, many of my favorites have disappeared from the menus of some of my much-loved dining hotspots throughout the Resort property. I choose to believe that these culinary delights were not removed as a result of unpopularity; rather, they were set aside in order to make room for innovative Disney Chefs—many of whom are critically acclaimed artists in their industry—to maintain their positions as leaders at their craft; to enable new Chefs to make their mark in the culinary world; to keep Walt Disney World Resort at the forefront of the dining industry; and, of course, to provide guests with all new creations as well as out-of-the-rut twists on traditional and regional cuisines. While I enjoy trying new things, there is just something about having an amazingly delicious snack or dish, again and again. Oh, to have just one more chance to indulge in those memorable delights, each of which are attached to so many wonderful reminiscences. What follows is a list of a few of my now gone favorites.
Red Raspberry Tart—Available in the mid-to-late 90s Boulangerie Patisserie in the France pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase, this dessert still reigns supreme as my favorite food item at WDW ever, exclamation point! Now, for those of you who are thinking that they still serve this small round, perfect in its simplicity tart or one similar to it, you would be right… almost. Indeed, there is a mixed fruit tart that includes raspberries currently being served at various locations throughout the Resort property; however, it pales in comparison to the original. While the new tart would receive a favorable rating of 7 on my scale, the changes to it are disappointing in my opinion. “The Original”—as I refer to it—did not have the almond crème filling or hard, breakable crust of today’s tart. Instead, it had a dreamingly soft, melt-in-your-mouth, buttery pastry shell that did not crack or crumble under fork pressure. While stiff enough to hold its shape, the crust was light enough to soak up some of the sweet, somewhat sticky glaze that covered the red raspberries and settled perfectly in the bottom. The coated juicy raspberries were lightly dusted with just the right amount of Confectioners’ sugar. Never disappointing, it was blissful perfection in every bite. I say, “Kudos to the wonderfully talented chef who created the recipe.” Though I cannot number how many I partook of at Epcot over the years, I can tell you that I will never forget the first one in 1995. Sadly, the Raspberry Tart was replaced with a Strawberry Tart comprised of the original light crust and glaze. Far less juicy than the raspberries, the firmness of the whole strawberries made it difficult to eat. I hoped the change was temporary due to raspberry costs or shortages. Alas, I had to accept my favorite would be no more. No sooner than I had arrived at that conclusion, Boulangerie Patisserie began serving the current Mixed Fruit Tart. The firm crust and crème are too great a disappointment for me to get over. Gone forever, my beloved Raspberry Tart is but a memory. Perhaps worse, my husband never had the joy of trying one… so I have no one with whom to commiserate.
Potato, Vegetable and Goat Cheese Torte—Served at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway pavilion Epcot World Showcase, this fabulous snack/appetizer was removed from the menu just this year. Just so you know, I am a consummate cheese lover. Among the many varieties, I thoroughly enjoy goat cheese—whether mild and delicate or strong and pungent—it is a fantastic addition to both savory and sweet dishes. When it is used in proper proportion, it is excellent. In the case of this torte, it makes the dish. I think most would suggest that this is a treat to be shared, and my husband and I usually did. However, I readily admit to sneaking a few extra bites beyond my half… and always wishing I had ordered my own. What can I say, “I appreciate fine things, and this torte is one of the finest.” In fact, prior to our recent trip in May, my husband asked me what food I was most looking forward to eating while at WDW. This Torte topped my list. (It was a “10” on my ranking scale!). You can imagine my utter disappointment when we reached Kringla Bakeri og Kafe only to discover it was no longer available. Sad, sad day.
Shere Khan—Once available during the 1990s at the Polynesian Resort’s Coral Isle Café—now known as the Kona Café—this family friendly beverage was a standout on the children’s menu. Described on the menu simply as Sprite® and orange juice, the Shere Khan seemed like so much more. Perhaps it was the souvenir cup, or the cool name, or the company with whom I enjoyed it (my sister and parents)… I don’t know. I just know it made a lasting impression on me, and I will always remember it fondly.
Buffalo Steak with Vidalia Onion Jam and Sweet Potato Hazelnut Gratin— Once an entrée available at the Wilderness Lodge’s higher-end restaurant, Artist Point, it has been replaced by Slow-roasted Buffalo Strip Steak with Truffle Macaroni & Cheese with Rainbow Chard. I first enjoyed the original, favored entree in 2002 while on a trip with my family. I reveled in taking my husband to partake of it while on our honeymoon in 2008. Then, when we returned in 2009, it was gone… just gone. You cannot imagine my disappointment when I learned that yet another of my favorite WDW dishes was no longer available. What a letdown. While both of these entrees boast bison steak so succulent and tender it could stand alone on the plate and be fully satisfying, their similarities end there. Please don’t take me wrong, I’m sure the Truffle Macaroni & Cheese with Rainbow Chard is exceptional. I just do not believe it could measure up to oh so perfect Vidalia Onion Jam and Sweet Potato Hazelnut Gratin. For those of you who missed out on this dish, words seem inadequate to convey its deliciousness. As previously noted, buffalo steak—a very lean meat that must be cooked carefully to avoid toughness—was masterfully prepared; then, aromatic onions caramelized until their natural sweetness reaches candy-level perfection were added. Truth be told, I think the entrée could have stopped right there and it would be superior to most. Thankfully, it did not. Instead, the chef masterfully created a sweet and salty combination of sliced scalloped sweet potatoes and hazelnuts that complemented the steak and onions in ways I do not believe macaroni and chard ever could. Admittedly, I did not try the current dish. It may have been delightful. My memories of the original outweighed my willingness to try the new one. Just a note: Happily, I have located the recipe for the Sweet Potato Hazelnut Gratin and have been able to enjoy it once again; unfortunately, it made me long for the entire dish all the more.
I would like to hear about the foods you crave that are no longer offered at Walt Disney World Resort and if you miss any of the ones I mentioned above. Please share your comments in the section below.
Kendall began visiting Walt Disney World in 1991 with her family and has continued to visit the resort with her husband. As a child, she and her family filled vacations with challenges such as “How many times can we ride Splash Mountain during SpectroMagic and the fireworks?” (Answer: 7) Now, after marrying a converted Disney skeptic, she and her husband enjoy challenges such as “How many hours can we eat nonstop at the Food & Wine Festival?” (Answer: 4)