The Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival was launched in 2006 to showcase the variety of fresh ingredients available in the Golden State. It instantly became one of the Disneyland Resort’s most popular annual events and has grown each year, with festival marketplace kiosks—plus other locations throughout the park—serving bites and sips that highlight California’s fresh produce as well as the state’s diverse food landscape.
“Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival features the best of what California has to offer,” says Gary Maggetti, general manager of Disney California Adventure.
Chef John State, culinary director for food & beverage at the Disneyland Resort, agrees. “It’s not difficult to find a hero when you come to Disney California Adventure park,” he says. “I’m not talking about Spider-Man or Black Panther; I’m talking about the hero ingredients that we celebrate here in California.”
From corn, artichokes, and avocados, to strawberries and Meyer lemons, the Disneyland chefs raise the culinary bar each spring with dishes that showcase these delicious California heroes and many more.
Due to the closure of Disney California Adventure in March, this year’s festival was cut short, so my son and I decided to re-create one of the recipes that make this festival one of our favorite Disneyland traditions.
Fried Artichokes with Lemon Aioli
Artichokes have been grown in Castroville, Calif. since the 1920s, and in fact, the California town has been dubbed the “Artichoke Center of the World.” One of the most popular festival marketplace kiosks every year—I Heart Artichokes—is dedicated to the delicious thistle that we all “heart” and has had a variation of fried artichokes on the menu for the last three years, including 2020’s Fried Artichokes with Lemon Aioli.
In my opinion, everything tastes better when it’s fried, so frying something that’s already delicious is a win-win, but our crispy artichoke hearts dipped in a creamy, lemony sauce were a perfect bite.
Check out our at-home recipe below:
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup of seasoned coating mix
- 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
- 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Dredge artichokes in seasoned coating mix, shaking off excess.
- Working in batches, slowly lower coated artichokes into hot oil and fry until crisp, about 3 minutes, flipping if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (optional).
- Serve with lemon aioli.
- Combine mayonnaise, lemon, and garlic in a small bowl.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
We want to see your creations if you decide to give this Fried Artichokes with Lemon Aioli recipe a try! Be sure to share photos with us on Twitter at @Attractions.