“Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it.” – Gusteau
If there ever was a quote that summed up my love of good food, this is it. Not only do I love to eat good food, but I also love to cook good food. I’m not sure which I love more, eating it or cooking it. I think I enjoy dining out (especially dining at Disney) but when I cook my favorite part is watching others enjoy the food and making people happy.
I think the one thing that can bring anyone together is food. You see elements of gathering together to enjoy food and fellowship in every culture. One of the reasons we love going to Disney World in the fall is for the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival. Anytime during the year, the World Showcase is an amazing place to learn about different countries and cultures and to try their food, but during the EIF&WF it gets even better. Along with the permanent countries in the Showcase, new festival booths are added along the showcase. Along with our regular favorites, Mexico and Canada, we have our new favorites, Hawaii and New Zealand. Last year we didn’t get to the Africa booth, so this year the butter chicken is calling my name! Between that and the Brazilian cheese bread, I’m hoping to have even more favorites this year. It’s so neat to get to enjoy all the different flavors of these countries and regions without a passport. Well, an actual passport. I have my wine and food one ready.
But enough of EIF&WF and back to Ratatouille; the reason I started with food vs the décor inspiration is, as Gusteau and Remy say, it’s all about the food. I hadn’t actually seen the movie yet, but based on the IMDB page and various memes, I gathered it was all about the food. For that reason, I decided a minimalist tablescape and sideboard would be better than trying to recreate a fancy restaurant. Also, my brother was in town from his job in OH, so a fancy tablescape for 8 was gonna be pretty crowded. Jacs has a full chef’s outfit given to her by her Uncle Chris, so I thought playing up the “chef” theme of Remy and Linguini would be a perfect start.
The first thing I looked for were chef hats, and I found these on Amazon for $7.79 for 10 hats. That would be enough for the tablescape and a couple of extra, they were less than $1 each so I ordered them. I also borrowed an Eifel Tower decoration from my friend and culinary partner-in-crime Marissa a.k.a. Potz to my Panz. (Stay tuned for more from Potz and Panz, Aproned Crusaders.) I used the tower for the centerpiece with my black chargers and dollar store white plates for the place settings. I needed a pop of color to separate the white hats from the white plates so I used a dollar store blue plate in between. I had a couple of Ratatouille posters saved, and they had blue in them so I went with that color choice. I also found a Gusteau’s menu image from Buzzfeed, so I printed some small ones and used them to make the place settings a bit fancier. My favorite part of the tablescape was my wine glasses. I needed to dress up the plain dollar store glasses so I used the logo and recreated the face using white and pink vinyl and my Cricut Explore.
The sideboard was even simpler than the tablescape. My every-day sideboard background is a painting of a French bistro and I have fleur- de-lis wine bottle candle holders that I use for décor on the actual sideboard. Since it was a French painting I left it as the background and then used some wine bottles from the France Pavilion in World Showcase and a poster of Remy in a dollar store frame for the décor.
Every time we go to Disney World, we bring back wine to stock our wine rack. Sometimes it’s wine we have tried, sometimes we like the bottle, and sometimes we just want one from a specific shop or region. We eventually drink it and keep the bottles so we had one previously opened and one that we opened with dinner. It’s fun to bring a bit of Disney home to use on special occasions and DMNs. After all, that’s what DMNs are all about, making memories.
In addition to the tablescape and sideboard, we always decorate the kitchen island where we have our signature cocktail. The island was equally minimal with a Ratatouille poster in a second dollar tree frame and champagne bucket and dollar store glasses. The signature cocktail was a Kir Royal, champagne cocktail made with champagne or sparkling wine and creme de cassis, which is a blackcurrant liqueur. I had never had one before but it reminded me of Rosa Regale, a sparkling red wine, which we’ve had in France in World Showcase. It wasn’t as sweet as RR, so it was a nice sipper before the meal.
While we sipped our cocktail and waited for dinner, Jacs got to do her craft. Every DMN she gets to do a themed craft while we have our signature cocktail. Since I had extra chef hats I let her decorate her own hat which she loved. I also found some “champagne” bubbles at Dollar Tree, so she got those to have for the next day outside.
Now onto the best part of the evening – THE FOOD. I toyed with so many menu ideas, fancy French food, bisques, soufflés, the obvious ratatouille, dishes on the menu at Le Chefs de France or Bistrot Chez Rémy, samplings from Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie…too many delicious choices!!!!
But then I thought, if I’m keeping the décor simple then it should be a simple and fun menu, and after all what is a mouse favorite thing…CHEESE! And what is better than a cheese plate? Melted. Cheesy. Fondue. That was it! Melted cheese that you dip delicious things into, simple yet delectable and perfect for lots of us gathered around the table.
Obviously the cheese is the star of the show, but the dippers are the vehicle to the schmelty goodness. Fondue is very filling so we didn’t have any appetizer to start but I wanted enough protein for everyone to feel satisfied and to balance the richness of the cheese. The proteins were rotisserie chicken and chicken tortellini. I also wanted to include ratatouille in the meal so I did a deconstructed one roasting zucchini and squash (Courtnei is allergic to eggplant). (These people kill me, no onions, pineapple, eggplant and John S. is even allergic to chocolate, it’s enough to make a chef throw their hands up and quit, but not I.) We also had fresh tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, and cauliflower to bring brightness to all the rich cheese, cubes of toasted baguette, and sliced gala apples. I’m not much of a sweet and savory person, but the combination of apples and cheese was really good. Our winners were the chicken, mushrooms and apples. Although, the good ol’ bread-and-cheese was my personal favorite.
With such a delicious dinner, we couldn’t forget the dessert! We kept the theme going with dark chocolate fondue. Milk chocolate can be so rich, and dark chocolate is better for you. So you can eat twice as much, right?! (Don’t answer that.) Our chocolate fondue dippers included strawberries, apples, marshmallows, cubed pound cake, and croissants. The strawberries were good, but the pound cake was delicious.
Along with the themed food, we didn’t forget to dress themed but there wasn’t much variety. Hey, our options were rat or chef, or in Jacs’ case – both.
We did have a blast with the chef hats; fortunately John S.’s arms were long enough to get a group shot. I have since invested in a selfie stick.
Join us next month when we find out who is the fairest one of all in DMN: Snow White!
Bonus Pic: It started to rain and Jeff realized he had left the windows down on his truck. Nothing like a grown man with a little bitty Minnie Mouse umbrella. Told you we love Disney! 😉
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