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.
White Cheddar Lager Soup
“The one item that has been on the festival menu since 2006 is a beer cheddar cheese soup,” Maggetti says. “We’ve changed it up—for example, we’ve made it with lager, and we’ve made with ale—but that offering is one our guests look forward to [every year].”
Cheese and beer are certainly a match made in heaven, so it’s easy to understand why this savory soup has never missed a festival for the last 14 years. At the 2018 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, the White Cheddar Lager Soup was served in a mini Boudin sourdough bowl—no doubt from the Boudin bakery inside the park—but even without the edible bowl, our version of this popular soup was just as heavenly as the original.
Check out our at-home recipe below:
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup of white onion, minced
- 1/2 cup of celery, minced
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 3/4 cup of amber lager (non-alcoholic beer can be substituted)
- 1 1/2 cups of grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt to taste
- Chopped scallions to garnish (optional)
- Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and celery, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add flour and stir to form a paste. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly with a wire whisk.
- Slowly add cream and chicken stock, whisking constantly to eliminate lumps. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes (soup will thicken as it heats).
- Whisk in beer and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove form heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add cheese in batches, stirring constantly until completely melted.
- Add cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and salt to taste.
- Serve topped with chopped scallions (optional).
We want to see your creations if you decide to give this White Cheddar Lager Soup recipe a try! Be sure to share photos with us on Twitter at @Attractions.