The Best Foods at Disneyland Resort's Festival of Holidays 2022

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The Best Foods at Disneyland Resort's Festival of Holidays 2022

Disneyland knows that one of the best things about the holidays is the food. The Disney Festival of Holidays is running at Disneyland Resort from now through January 8, and guests at Disney California Adventure can try out a variety of seasonal small plates and Christmastime cocktails at the Festive Foods Marketplace—an EPCOT-style food festival featuring nine kiosks with snacks and treats from a variety of cultures and holidays. Lining the park’s central artery from the end of Buena Vista Street all the way back to the entrance of Paradise Gardens, Festive Foods Marketplace is a pop-up attraction in and of itself, and a reason to get to California Adventure before the year comes to a close. Paste recently attended the festivities and sampled (perhaps too much) of the Festive Foods menu; here’s the best of what we tried, all of which we heartily recommend.

Holiday Ham Slider

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We headed straight to the Winter Sliderland kiosk to try the Holiday Ham Slider, and we weren’t disappointed. This small ham sandwich spreads a generous amount of cranberry-bacon jam over thick slices of ham and gruyere on a brioche bun that’s been salted and peppered. The jam provides an unmistakable taste of Thanksgiving while offering a sweet counterpoint to the perfectly salty ham. It’s a tiny preview of the best part of any holiday meal: the leftover sandwich you make the next day.


Curry Mac ‘n Cheese

I’m going to ditch the editorial third-person to get real personal with y’all for a second: I am not good with curry. Or perhaps I should say curry is not good with me. I’ve had some delicious curry meals, and I’ve had just as many where I just couldn’t get into the taste of whatever particular style of curry I was eating. So when I see the word “curry” on a menu, I’m not generally in a rush to order any of it. If there’s one way to get me legitimately excited to try curry again, though, it’s to add the words “mac ‘n cheese” alongside it. The Curry Mac ‘n Cheese at the A Twist on Tradition booth grabbed my attention, then, and I’m glad it did: it’s spicy, earthy, cheesy, and, thanks to the addition of garbanzo beans, a little bit crunchy, making for a great combo of flavors and textures. It’s probably the most pleasant surprise I had all day. Okay, editorial voice reactivated.


Impossible Chorizo Queso Fundido

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The Brews & Bites kiosk mostly serves beer (appropriately), but it does have one of the better snacks you’ll find at the festival: the Impossible Chorizo Queso Fundido. Served with a side of tortilla chips, this hot cheese dip is topped with crumbles of a lightly spicy (and VERY salty) meatless chorizo and topped with cilantro. It might not scream “the holidays!” so much, but it’s a very tasty take on a snack food staple, and felt good on a chillier-than-normal California afternoon.


Impossible Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes

Of everything we tried at Festive Foods, the Impossible Meatloaf and Mashed Potatoes feels the most like a meal. It’s a sizable chunk of meatless meatloaf atop a layer of potatoes, and after a handful of these small plates it was difficult for our party of two to finish this one off. Not because it tasted bad—it was a perfectly fine meatloaf, with only the extra saltiness of the Impossible substitute indicating that it wasn’t traditional meat. It’s just more food than we expected, and more than found on any of the other plates. And despite this meatloaf’s meatlessness, it’s also the most traditional snack we had at Festive Foods.


Turkey Poutine

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The last small plate we have to hit on is the Turkey Poutine, which can be found at the Merry Mashups kiosk. This is another holiday twist on a favorite comfort food, although if you aren’t from Quebec, or the parts of Canada that have gradually made this Quebecois original their own, you might not be too familiar with it. So a quick starter for anybody who’s never had poutine before: it’s french fries with cheese curds and gravy on top. It’s not quite “loaded fries,” as the curds are at least as important as the potatoes, but it’s not too dissimilar from that fast food favorite, either. The Festive Foods take on poutine features sweet potato bites (think sweet potato tater tots), covered with gravy, cheese curds, and roasted turkey, with a layer of frosted cranberries on top of it all. You get the traditional poutine with the curds and gravy, Thanksgiving dinner with the turkey and cranberries, and a combination of both with the sweet potato tots, and the result is fantastic. It definitely puts the “small” in small plates, though, so don’t expect to share.


Mrs. Claus’ Hot Cocoa Macaron

After all those salty and savory snacks you’ll probably want something sweet to tie the whole day together. There are a few deserts throughout Festive Foods, and our favorite is Mrs. Claus’ Hot Cocoa Macaron, which can be found, appropriately enough, at the Favorite Things booth. A little bit larger than a typical macaron, this red macaron comes with a filling of chocolate hot cocoa and ganache, with a small chocolate disc on top advertising Disney+’s new The Santa Clauses show. This is the only blatant cross-promotion we noticed at the Festive Foods Marketplace, and although we’d rather not have to think about an almost 70-year-old Tim Allen trying to squeeze back into his Santa fat suit while munching on cookies, this one is simply too delicious to overlook. It’s the top treat at this year’s event.


Hummingbird Cocktail

Finally, we have to mention at least one cocktail. You’ll find a variety of mixed drinks at the festival, alongside beer and wine, and the best of the bunch is the Hummingbird Cocktail at the Grandma’s Recipes kiosk. This bourbon-based drink is a bit of a sugar bomb, with pineapple juice, banana puree, butter pecan syrup, vanilla bean, and two kinds of sugar mixed up with that bourbon and a crème de banane liqueur, all topped off with a pineapple wedge. We’re not normally big fans of banana-flavored stuff, but here it swirls together with the bright sweetness of the pineapple to form a unified front of fruity delectability. And there’s just enough kick from the bourbon to remind you that this grandma’s recipe is for adults only.


Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games and comedy sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.

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