Your Foodie Guide for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras
Celebration kicks off Feb. 1 at Orlando theme park
ORLANDO, Fla – If you feel that bounce in your step and you’re beginning to crave New Orleans-style Cajun cuisine, it must be time for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration.
The annual event, now in its 25th year, is set to return February 1 through April 2.
Guests will get to try authentic Cajun cuisine, specialty crafted drinks and desserts, including some mouth-watering ice cream floats.
With 25 years under its belt, Universal is bringing a variety of new things to the event this year.
Check out our interview with Ron Cope, Executive Chef at Universal Orlando Resort.
Universal leaders said this year’s celebration is branching out into Universal CityWalk to include Voodoo Doughnut, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, The Cow Fish and many more.
Let’s loosen our belts -- and dive in.
The French Quarter Courtyard is back open with some fan favorites and an all-new twist.
This year, Universal is rolling out the all new “Carnival Around The Universe Tasting Tent.”
The tent will not just offer your average shrimp po’ boy, but will feature dishes from carnivals around the world. Universal said the tent will rotate out the countries every two weeks, giving new options for guests to try on each of their visits. Did we also mention, some of these dishes are plant based!
Week 1 and 2 (Feb. 1 – Feb. 15) : Foods from Trinidad & Tobago
- Chickpea Double: Chickpeas served on a spicy bara flatbread. Served with micro cilantro and mango chutney. (Plant-based)
- Grilled Pineapple Trini Chow: topped with kimchi seasoning and micro cilantro. (Plant-based)
- Pholourie: Fried spicy split pea dough with turmeric, curry powder and a tamarind chutney. (Plant-based)
Week 3 and 4 (Feb. 16 – Feb. 29) : Louisiana Creole cuisine
- Cauliflower Dirty Rice: Riced cauliflower with gardein crumbles, served black eyed peas and cajun spices. (Plant-based)
- Softshell Crab Slider: crispy softshell crab topped with organic vegetable slaw. Served on a soft brioche roll with bayou aioli.
- Pecan Street: A specialty cocktail with pecan vodka, caramel and apple cider.
Week 5 and 6 (March 1 – March 14) : Brazilian Carnival
- Pão de Quiejo: Traditional warm cheese bread served with a guava dipping sauce.
- The Girl from Ipanema: A specialty cocktail featuring gin, lime, orgeat syrup, coconut water and pineapple simple syrup.
- Sugared Sweet Plantains: Covered in cinnamon and sugar. Served with banana poppy seed dipping sauce. (Plant-based)
Week 7 and 8 (March 15 – April 2) : Germany
- Sauerbraten: Slow braised beef, buttered spaetzle, and pickled red cabbage topped with a savory red wine sauce.
- Grilled Bratwurst: Served on a potato pancake with whole grain mustard and sour cream and chives
- Warm pretzels will also be served.
Courtyard Cajun classics making a return include:
- Catfish Po’ Boy
- Chicken & Andouille Po’ Boy
- Cajun Twisted Tater
- Gator Bites
- King Cake
- Shrimp Gumbo
- Red Beans & Rice with Shrimp
- Shrimp & Andouille Po’ Boy
- Sausage Po’ Boy
- Crab Etouffee
On select nights, The Bayou Boil – An Exclusive Mardi Gras Experience, will allow guests to enjoy a Louisiana-style boil featuring crawfish, shrimp, potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, as well as an exclusive viewing area for the Mardi Gras parade with king cake, beignets, sparkling wine and assorted non-alcoholic beverages. Tickets can be purchased here.
- New this year are recommended food and drink pairings. Guests can find the recommendations on the tent menu boards.
- The French courtyard opens everyday at 4 p.m.
- If you plan on attending more than once, the Mardi Gras tasting lanyards are a great option. Lanyards can be purchased at the park.
- Universal Orlando passholders can save money on a number of food options including 15 Items for just $60 (plus tax).
New this year, Universal’s Mardi Gras celebration looks to be pulling a page from their other popular event, Halloween Horror Nights. Guests can grab one of several exclusive cocktails in an impressive voodoo-style souvenir cup.
Drinks served in 20oz cups
- High Seas Twister: Rum, blood orange liqueur and watermelon juice.
- Bourbon Street Punch: Bourbon, orgeat, coconut puree and orange juice.
- Blue Voodoo: A tasty blue mardi gras margarita.
- Baby Cakes: Vodka mixture that Universal said tastes like king cake.
- Carnival Lane: Gin filled with fruit juices.
- Coconut Water in a Coconut (non-alcoholic and available only during week 1 & 2 of Carnival Around the Universe)
Drinks served in 9oz cups
- Hoodoo Cold Brew: Pecan vodka cold brew. Pairs well with Beignets.
- Cajun Bloody Mary
- Pecan Street (vodka caramel drink available only during week 3 & 4 of Carnival Around the Universe).
- Girl from Ipanema: Gin coconut drink (available only during week 5 & 6 of Carnival Around the Universe)
Mardi Gras ‘Float Floats’ :
Inspired by the all-new Mardi Gras parade float theme, Treasures of the Deep, guests can dive into some over-the-top ice cream floats to celebrate Florida’s biggest party.
The floats will be available at Schwab’s Pharmacy.
Check out the mouth watering desserts below.
Schwab’s Pharmacy is located along the “Avenue of the Stars” in Hollywood.
Food offerings at Universal CityWalk:
CityWalk is getting in on the festivities with fun and new Mardi Gras themed food and drinks.
Universal posted on its blog a list of offerings.
- The French Quarter Milkshake
- Mardi Gras Doughnut (filled with cinnamon sugar bavarian cream, photo below)
- Masquerade Martini: Grape vodka with blue curacao and citrus flavors.
- Party Gras Drink: vodka and coconut rum with pineapple flavors.
- Voodoo Doctor Drink: classic margarita with a hint of black raspberry.
- Taste of Nola: red beans and rice, crawfish and andouille etouffee and blackened chicken with creole sauce.
- Mardi Gras Muffuletta Platter: A footlong hot dog with traditional muffuletta dressing.
- Roast Beef Po’boy: shaved roast beef and gravy with toppings.
- King Cake Bon: classic Cinnabon dressed up in its Mardi Gras best.
The food during the event is just the beginning of Universal’s Mardi Gras Celebration.
Click here to learn about the artists set to perform.
Click here for tickets to Universal Orlando Resort.
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