In the first of a series of Flower and Garden food booth reviews, we are heading over to the Florida Fresh booth! Located between France and Morocco, this pavilion gives you the chance to learn more about Florida’s agriculture and how it is leading the way when in comes to growing fresh produce.
If you are travelling with small children, be aware that there are many themed playgrounds at this festival, and most are located in Future World. If you arrive after 11 am and want to make the most of your time in World Showcase, I would suggest coaxing your little ones away from Future World and over to the farm themed play area in this pavilion, which will allow them to run around and have fun while you sample some of the food this booth has to offer! Or, you know, you can ideally explore this festival over multiple days. 😉
Since we only had a limited budget, and alcohol is expensive, we decided to forgo all beverage options at the food booths, so we could afford to try more food. At this particular booth, we ordered the carne asada, the shrimp and stone- ground grits, and the Key Lime tart with toasted Meringue.
First up, the carne asada. The meat was served on top of a black bean cake and topped with a cilantro lime sour cream as well as tomatoes. This was delicious… which is probably something you are going to hear a lot in these festival reviews. The carne asada was cooked perfectly. The black bean cake was slightly crunchy and gave this dish a very tostada- like feel, and it really did an excellent job of complimenting the flavor of the carne asada. Since it was a pretty warm day, I also really appreciated the cold of the tomatoes and the sour cream.
The Key Lime tart with Toasted Meringue was the next thing we tried. This had a very fresh tasting Key Lime filling in a graham cracker crust. The filling was slightly more tart than I am accustomed to, but the toasted meringue did a good job at balancing out the flavor. I actually would have liked a little more meringue on my tart. One thing I noticed about this tart was the difference in the little butterfly that is used to decorate the tart. In promotional and preview photos, I noticed that the butterfly appeared to be a small, brightly decorated butterfly sugar cookie. The butterfly we got on our tart was rather plain and made of a dark/ white chocolate. I’m not the biggest dark chocolate fan, so I was a little disappointed in the discrepancy, but this does nothing to take away from the taste of the tart. It’s mainly just me being picky.
And finally, in the spirit of saving the best item for last, I give you the shrimp and grits! These shrimp were served on top of stone ground grits along with an Andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes, and cilantro. This dish really turned my world around in terms of flavor and Southern cooking. Being born and raised in the northern Midwest, I never truly had a taste of real Southern cooking. I have had instant grits before, and so my taste buds were used to what I can only describe now as a mediocre excuse for real grits. These were creamy and delicious and went wonderfully with the sauce that was served on the shrimp. I am not the biggest fan of sausage either, but this sausage was excellent. It wasn’t spicy or smokey and it very much agreed with my easily upset stomach. The shrimp were also amazing; they were cooked well and were properly prepared and seasoned with the sauce that came on them. Granted, I am not from the South so I have no way of knowing if this was true Southern cooking, but I have always heard how delicious it is, and when I tasted this dish my taste buds had a spiritual awakening of sorts, which I have now associated with Southern cooking. If you visit each booth and plan on only ordering one dish, I would highly recommend making it this one. I devoured every last bite of this one. Also, feel free to let me know in the comments if you have tried this dish and I am totally wrong on its authenticity.