When Is Mardi Gras?
Universal Orlando’s 2021 Mardi Gras Celebration is based on the international flavors of Carnaval. Mardi Gras 2021 is happening from February 6th to April 11th. It will feature food from all over the world, as well as, spectacular parade floats on display, street entertainment, and beads!
What Food is available This Year?
Each country represented has a unique menu with several different food items and drinks to try! There are also many gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options to choose from! Below I have listed the countries and their different menus. This year you have the option to purchase a tasting lanyard which I will also explain in detail below.
The menu for the Bahamas location includes Jerk Chicken and Jerk Jackfruit. The Jerk Chicken is gluten-free and is jerked marinated chicken, rice, and peas, with scotch bonnet salsa. The Jerk Jackfruit is jerked marinated jack fruit, rice and peas, and scotch bonnet salsa. This dish is also gluten-free and vegan. There are two alcoholic beverages available at this location. They include a Bahamian rum punch called a Goombay Smash and an international pilsner called Carib Lager.
The Belgium stand includes two food options and three drink options. This tasting menu features vegan Belgium Liege Waffles, these are sweet liege waffles with strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate. It also features Brussels Frites with Roasted Garlic Veganaise, this is fries and they come with three dipping sauces. The drink menu features a Belgian wheat beer, a Belgian quadruple, Abbey ale, and a fruited sweet and sour ale.
The Brazil menu features a shrimp coconut cream stew with white rice and sweet potato curls. It also features stuffed coxinha, which is crispy pulled chicken tear drop fritters, and a dish called Brigadeiros which is a vegan Brazillian classic with condensed milk, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles, toasted peanuts. The drinks offered include Pineapple Caipirinha Punch, Strawberry Caipirinha Punch, and mixed Caipirinha.
The Canada menu offers a Beef Short Rib Poutine, a Nutella Doughnut, and a vegan Maple Doughnut. The drink menu Labatt Blue and a Sugar Shack Springtime Punch which is a complex Canadian whiskey punch with a base of pear juice.
This tasting menu offers three options of cornmeal cake. The first is a cornmeal cake pocket filled with avocado, carnitas, mayonnaise, ketchup, and cilantro. The second is Beef Picadillo or Pollo Arepas, which is cornmeal cake filled with savory beef or shredded chicken, mayo ketchup, and cilantro. These two items are gluten-free. The third option is Queso Arepas, is cornmeal cake filled with white shredded cheese, mayo ketchup, and cilantro. This dish is gluten-free and vegetarian. Colombia offers one alcoholic and one non-alcoholic drink. The first option is called Coco Loco and it is a Limonada de Coco spiked with rum and tequila. The non-alcoholic beverage is Lemonade de Coco, which is a lemonade sweetened with coconut cream.
Cuba offers a Cuban sandwich with roasted pork, serrano ham, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles on Cuban bread served with plantain chips, and a gluten-free and vegan Cuban flan. Cuba also offers Cuban coffee and Rum and Coke.
France only offers one tasting item which is a Poached Pear Creme Brulee Crepe. The drink menu offers four different wines to try.
Vegan Bratwurt with Beer Braised Onions
Bratwurst with Beer Braised Onions
Pork Schnitzel Slider
The drink menu includes beer, two different lagers, and white wine.
Italy offers an Italian Rainbow Cookie, Cannoli, and Arancini which is a fried risotto with wild mushrooms, truffle, and parmesan cheese. The drink menu includes several wine options as well as a vanilla gelato served with a double shot of espresso.
New Orleans has the largest menu of all the countries. Dishes include a crawfish boil, shrimp boil, a mix of the two, Jambalaya, shrimp gumbo, etouffee, beignets, a muffuletta sandwich, and andouille twisted tater.
The tasting menu includes:
Pernil & Mofongo: roasted pork, smashed plantains, onion mojo
Quesito: guava and cream cheese-filled fried pastry.
Paella Mixta: saffron yellow rice, chorizo, squid, mussels, shrimp
Charcuterie: a traditional platter of Spanish meats and cheese, olives, grapes, lavosh.
Leche Frita: crispy fried with condensed milk, vanilla, and cinnamon.
-Trinidad and Tobago
The tasting menu includes:
Pholourie(Vegan): deep-fried spicy split pea dough with turmeric, curry powder, and a side of tamarind chutney or powdered sugar.
Pineapple Trini Chow (vegan): grilled pineapple skewers, spices, micro cilantro.
Queen’s Park Swizzle: a national cocktail of Trinidad and Tobago.
Tasting Lanyards can be purchased at all tasting locations or the Universal Reservations Cart. The lanyards are $55 plus tax and include 10 food items. Annual Passholders can purchase a 15 item lanyard for $65 plus tax.
These lanyards are a great value if you plan on tasting many items from different locations! I recommend getting the more pricey items on the menu in order to save the most money! You can find the best value dish at the New Orleans stand. The Crawfish and Shrimp Boil is $12.99 and by far the most expensive food item at Mardi Gras so if you purchase the lanyard you will get the best value with this dish!
Throughout Universal Studios you will find beautiful parade floats on display. Due to the health precautions Universal is currently taking, there will not be a parade this year. The floats that would have been in the parade are now scattered throughout the park with entertainment and special characters throwing beads!
The Tribute Store has become a staple for seasonal events at Universal Orlando! The Tribute Store was originally just a store to sell event-specific merchandise. However, it has now become part of the experience! The theming in the store for Mardi Gras is probably the best I have seen from a Tribute Store. It is filled with so much detail and tons of Mardi Gras merch! There is also a food stand in the last room called Sweet Treasures where you can get moon pies, Mardi Gras Macaroons, Masquerade Cookies, King Cake, and Banana Foster Cheesecake Pop. There is a second stand that serves more savory times like Andouille Puff Pastry with Creole Mustard, Crabmeat Hand Pie, and Spinach & Artichoke Vegetarian Hand Pie. My favorite item in the tribute store was the scented candles. This is the first time Universal has sold scented candles which is really exciting! They are wood-wick candles (my favorite) and come in several different scents. I recommend the Banana Rum scent!
Did you enjoy Mardi Gras this year or are you planning to visit? Drop by Instagram and tell me what your favorite part of Mardi Gras was or what you are most looking forward to!
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