It surprises me that I have waited almost a year into this monthly series to focus my attentions on one of my favorite foods—cheese. I have enjoyed a lifelong love affair with the sumptuous as well as nutritious dairy food, and regularly find myself longing for one variety or another. There are multiple ways in which to satisfy a cheese craving while vacationing at Walt Disney World® (WDW). Rather than attempting to introduce readers to all of them or endeavoring to choose and elaborate upon one superb dish, I have decided to select the best and/or most unique cheese dish in each one of the following eight categories. Of course, these selections will all be according to my taste. Yours may differ; therefore, I encourage you to read on to learn more about my favorites and discover if they match yours.
Guests hoping to indulge in a variety of gourmet cheeses need only make their way to Epcot®’s well-known Tutto Italia Ristorante where the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar affords guests the opportunity to select their own combination of “formaggi” to create small plates suitable for two. While options vary depending on the date and time of your visit, those available in the past include Asiago, Fontina, La Tur, Parmigiano Reggiano, Robiola, Bufala and Gorgonzola.
Something Stuffed with Cheese
The Jalapeño Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel available at both Fife and Drum Tavern at Epcot® and the Harambe Fruit Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park is a favorite walk-and-go snack among WDW park-goers. In many cases, having a pretzel with cheese includes some version of a yellowish orange, creamy cheese sauce. Not so when it comes to this savory, tasty treat. The creator of the Jalapeño Cheese-Stuffed Pretzel kicks things up a notch by using a mildly spicy Queso Blanco-style cheese filling as opposed to the typical dip.
Most who know something about dining at WDW are familiar with the famous dish—Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup offered at Le Cellier Steakhouse nestled in the Canada Pavilion within Epcot®’s World Showcase. While it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a dip, it does have something of a close cousin, the Sharp Cheddar-Beer Fondue, which can be enjoyed in the Territory Lounge at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. This simply delicious gourmet dish really is like a dip-able version of everyone’s favorite cheese soup. The warm, full-bodied fondue is served with understated pretzel sticks and House-made sourdough bread as well as sweet Washington state apples and figs.
Admittedly, there are not many choices available to those hoping to enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich at WDW. Be that as it may, there is one option that is good enough to be the only one on property, the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese served in Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Definitely not the “cheese toastie” of your childhood days, this delicious gourmet-esque sandwich includes sharp cheddar, Swiss and Boursin® cheeses topped with juicy tomato slices and crisp frisee on sunflower bread. The pungent flavor of the sharp cheddar is perfectly mellowed by the subtle nuttiness of the Swiss cheese, and the creaminess of the Boursin® creates a dreamily smooth texture. (Note: With work being done at the Polynesian Resort, Captain Cook’s will be in the midst of transitional period. As a result, there are conflicting reports as to whether or not this particular sandwich will remain on the menu. One can only hope that, if it is missing, it will be returned to the menu once the quick-service location re-opens in its permanent home.)
Late last year, The Friar’s Nook at Magic Kingdom® Park, added three new entrées to its menu: Bacon Cheeseburger Macaroni & Cheese, Blue Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Balsamic and traditional Macaroni & Cheese. The bacon cheeseburger dish consists of macaroni and cheese topped with seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese sauce, and a slice of bacon. The blue cheese balsamic variation is generously topped with blue cheese crumbles, sprinkled with chives, and drizzled with balsamic glaze. Finally, the classic Macaroni & Cheese version is simply, perfectly cheese covered macaroni topped with panko bread crumbs.
Cheese at Breakfast
For regular readers of my “I Have a Craving” posts, the WDW Cheese Danish is the obvious choice, in this category, for anyone looking to enjoy cheese at breakfast. For an in depth look visit my previous post—I Have a Craving for a WDW Cheese Danish.
Cheese for Dessert
I strongly recommend that cheese lovers try a particularly scrumptious sweet course being served in the Norway Pavilion’s Kringla Bakeri og Kafe located in Epcot®’s World Showcase. The pastry chefs there have created a decadent Gjetost dessert. Gjetost, literally translated “goat cheese,” is a uniquely Norwegian cheese that is mildly acidic and sweet. It has a soft, smooth texture and is caramel in color. The Kringla Bakeri og Kafe’s Gjetost Cheesecake is a round, single-serving dessert topped with sweet and salty sugared almonds. Do not miss out on the opportunity to enjoy such a distinctive cheese in the form of this oh-so fantastic dessert!
“Random” Cheese Award
Even though the “Cheese for Dessert” category is complete, I simply could not resist including this dessert dish on the list of notable Walt Disney World® cheese items. Quite possibly the most colorful use of cheese, the Tie-Dye Cheesecake at Everything POP located in the food court of Disney’s Pop Century Resort is “crazy man”. Therefore, it earns the “WDW ‘Random’ Cheese Award”. While it has a unique crust made of red velvet cake, it is the vibrant, multi-colored, thick, ultra-smooth and creamy cheesecake that is its claim to fame. Its psychedelic pattern makes this groovy dessert positively mind-blowing.
(Gjetost photo from the author’s personal collection. Tie-dye Cheesecake photo copyright Disney.)
So readers, did any of my choices match yours? If not, what do you believe are the best cheese dish or dishes on property? Please share your selections in the comments section below! I look forward to reading about your favorites.
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)