Dollywood opens with Festival of Nations

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. - During Dollywood's Festival of Nations presented by Humana, now through April 22, guests can experience new and exciting cultures — and great food — without leaving the Smokies.

A plethora of tasty and unique food options awaits guests thanks to the new World Passport to Food, an expanded international menu.  Upon arrival, guests pick up a passport and use it to navigate their way to the delectable delights throughout the park. At all international food locations, guests' passports are stamped to signify their visit to each country.

Dollywood's World Passport to Food provides a gateway to experience the culinary highlights of cultures from around the globe. In one afternoon, guests can head south of the border with beef empanadas and chicken tamales, sample the scrumptious croissants of a French café and visit the streets of Rome thanks to a classic Italian favorite, penne alfredo smothered with asiago and mozzarella cheeses.

Festival of Nations inspires Dollywood's award-winning foods team to rely on their skills to produce an amazingly diverse menu. Delicious dishes are available for purchase throughout the park and include Brazilian beef ribs and fried pork chops, Irish potato pancakes and grilled corn and Argentine ribeye steak with chimichurri sauce. Shredded chicken and fried rice from the Philippines and Irish shepherd's pie also are among the highlights of the international meals.

Fresh off its 2012 Golden Ticket Award for Best Theme Park Food, Dollywood rolled out a massive menu full of ethnic variety. Dollywood's Executive Chef, Steve Carideo, says guests should prepare for the ultimate assortment of international foods. 

"We're making almost 100 percent of our Festival of Nations food items from scratch right here at Dollywood," explained Carideo, "and 100 percent of the bakery items are made here. Festival of Nations guests can experience some of the best food from around the world, and it is priced to allow them to try many different things. For example, guests can sample three different offerings from three different countries for $2.99 or $3.99 each.

"Guests can get chicken paella, turn around and get chorizo potatoes, then go somewhere else to get Brazilian lemonade. When they're ready, they can go try even more plates. At lunch time, Backstage Restaurant offers the international buffet. There are some amazing items there that guests will want to try during Festival of Nations, because after it's over, they'll all be gone."

The lunchtime Backstage Restaurant buffet offers enchiladas, chicken fajitas, pasta carbonara, pasta marinara, sweet and sour chicken, beef and broccoli and Szechuan chicken. Side items include refried beans, ranchero beans, Spanish rice, baked Tuscan vegetables, green beans with tomatoes, oven roasted potatoes and sesame noodles.

A wide range of delectable pastries and desserts tempt those with a sweet tooth. Polish and German pastries, Baklava, Dutch chocolate-dipped strawberries, French croissants and German chocolate cupcakes make up just a portion of the bakery delights.

In addition, several Dollywood restaurants feature a unique mix of traditional cuisine alongside a sampling of international dishes. Each location serving international food is marked with a special World Passport to Food sign to assist guests in finding the special menu items.

Food is just one highlight of Festival of Nations. More than 25 countries are represented through their respective heritages of music, dance, food and art in this delightfully diverse event. Authentic cuisine and ethnic activities provide a great insight of other cultures while reminding guests, "We all smile in the same language."

Several new shows highlight the exciting lineup of acts, illustrating the festival's extreme diversity. Taking center stage during Festival of Nations are the debuts of Cirque Shanghai and Mystic India. Poland's Glass Duo and three-time Grammy Award-winners the Mariachi Divas, also make first time appearances. Another first, Dollywood's One World Celebration unites all Festival of Nations' visiting performers in a unique musical and colorful bash throughout Showstreet.

During Festival of Nations, Dollywood is closed on Tuesdays and Easter Sunday, March 31.

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