Local Do: Food & Wine Festival at Busch Gardens

by Jennifer Thai in ,


Last weekend, I got the opportunity to visit Busch Gardens Tampa for its Food & Wine Festival and eat my way around the park before a special evening concert featuring the Goo Goo Dolls. It was a really special day for pH and myself, because the first concert we ever went to together was the Goo Goo Dolls and Daughtry tour back in 2014 - bring on the nostalgia and the delicious eats!

I attended a VIP preview of the Food & Wine Festival the evening before it kicked off, so I had the benefit of knowing which favorite dishes to come back for and which ones I wanted to try this time around. Out of everything I tried in total, I was most impressed by the Minute Maid Apple Glazed Pork Belly with Kimchi Slaw and the Griddled Cheesecake Sandwich with Raspberry Drizzle - do not leave the park without trying these!

I've included some of my favorite dishes below, along with which food cabins they can be found in. You can buy sampler lanyards to add more flavor to your day at Busch Gardens - choose from 5-, 8- or 12-item samplers!

28) Coke Fusion: Minute Maid Apple Glazed Pork Belly with Kimchi Slaw

23) Artisan Eats: Duck Fat Truffle Fries with Parmesan Truffle Aioli

22) Coast to Coast Cookery: Flourless Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce

Cooking with Coke Pavilion: Baked Brie with Strawberry Fanta Coulis

10) Gourmet Lodge: Griddled Cheesecake Sandwich with Raspberry Drizzle

A really neat thing that Busch Gardens is implementing into this year's Food & Wine Festival is live painting throughout the park, featuring local artists in the Tampa Bay area! I have so much appreciation for our local creatives and think that this is such an awesome opportunity for them to showcase their talents for the public to see how much work goes into a mural or work of art.

Live painting from Alexandria Gogolin

In addition to all of the amazing eats, we also got to partake in a special meet-and-greet with Johnny and Robby from the Goo Goo Dolls! They're not just incredible musicians - they're also incredibly kind and charismatic as well.

Even after 30 years of playing together, the Goo Goo Dolls are still amazing live - we sang along from Section 2 of VIP seating to classic hits like "Iris," "Name," and "Black Balloon," and newer songs like my favorite "Rebel Beat." 

And there are still more awesome concerts to come! Concerts are every Saturday and Sunday through April 29th - all concerts are included with your admission to the park, but you can upgrade your experience with VIP seating for a more up-close and personal look at your favorite artists.

And, of course, I couldn't leave the park without first feeding an adorable wallaby! 

*Disclosure: The visit featured in this post was provided by Busch Gardens Tampa in exchange for editorial placement. This opinions expressed here are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Busch Gardens Tampa or SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.