At Epcot's International Festival of the Holidays, parkgoers can walk the World Showcase, sampling foods that are holiday staples in different countries. At each food cart, a menu of savory entrees, sweet desserts and festive beverages are presented, from a pumpkin spice margarita in the Mexico pavilion to pork schnitzel in Bavaria.
But two standout favorites among festival attendees this year are located in Disney's Canada pavilion: A flavorful beef bourguignon and a maple yule log, both served up at the Yukon Holiday Kitchen food booth.
Disney chef Kevin Downing told TODAY Food both dishes are new to this year's festival, but that hasn't stopped them from being a big hit both with Disney's chefs and park guests.
"The beef bourguignon is served over crushed red skin potatoes with a hearty gravy over top," said Downing. "It's a perfect dish for the days when it's super cold outside, and a Merlot pairs perfectly with it because you get the big bold flavors of the red wine along with the nice red wine flavor you get from the beef bourguignon — it's one of my favorite pairings."
"And our Bûche de Noël has a maple mouse with cranberry wrapped in gingerbread chiffon," Downing added. "Our bakery team worked really hard to make it festive and like a traditional yule log."
Disney shared the recipe for its beef bourguignon on the Disney Parks Blog, describing the decadent dish as, fork-tender beef brisket with savory flavors of bacon-infused wine sauce over crushed buttery red potatoes," and, as someone who tried the dish at Epcot earlier this month, I'd say it nailed the description.
In fact, the entire meal I ate at Yukon Holiday Kitchen was delicious, so I asked Disney Parks to share the recipe for its Maple Bûche de Noël (or yule log) with TODAY, too.
With both recipes and a host of ingredients in tow, I spent my Sunday afternoon in the kitchen, attempting to re-create both dishes.
While my yule log wasn't as beautiful as Disney's and resembled something on an episode of "Nailed It," it tasted as good as the one served at Epcot. Making a yule log, I learned, is a labor of love, with lots of ingredients and steps to check off along the way. But what delicious steps they were: I could have eaten the maple mousse filling by itself, and the gingerbread chiffon was perfectly spiced.
It was a lot of fun to try making a yule log of my own, and I'd suggest attempting one to any holiday baker.
The beef bourguignon was a perfect dinner on our chilly December evening. The crushed red skin potatoes came out perfectly and the beef, which we allowed to simmer for a good part of the afternoon, fell apart in our mouths. The gravy was filled with flavors of red wine and earthy mushrooms, and everyone in my house went back for seconds.
At Downing's recommendation, we paired our beef bourguignon with a nice Merlot. And he was right: The pairing only heightened the rich flavors of the wine-braised stew.
A visit to Epcot may not be in your future this holiday season, but with this impressive meal from Disney Parks, you can feel festive (and full!) in the comfort of your own home.