2023 Universal Orlando holiday treats capture the feelings of the season

2023 Universal Orlando Holiday treats include peppermint mocha petit gateaux, photo by Cristine Struble
2023 Universal Orlando Holiday treats include peppermint mocha petit gateaux, photo by Cristine Struble /

While the snow falling from the sky might be man-made, the sentiment of the season is captured with the 2023 Universal Orlando holiday treats. From hearty bites to sweet endings, everyone will have a food that makes them smile from ear to ear.

For theme parks, the holiday season is a time to sparkle and shine. Showcasing favorite characters within the festivities keeps traditions alive. The Grinch might be a little snarky, but everyone wants to hear his commentary on their new holiday sweater.

Universal Orlando brings a little nutty merriment to every corner of both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. From the nightly parade featuring the Macy’s balloons to spotting Earl the Squirrel throughout the parks, there is plenty of cheer mixed into every corner.

Since food often captures the sentiment of the season, the 2023 Universal Orlando holiday treats are a gift to everyone who passes under those arches. The hot chocolate bombs are back as are the various holiday cookies. Whether people grab a cookie to dip it into that Hot Butterbeer or prefer to each offering separately is a personal preference. But, everyone should come hungry to feast.

Recently, Universal Orlando held a media preview of its holiday offerings. From the specialty merchandise to the meet and greets, everyone was feeling that seasonal spirit. And, everyone was devouring all the holiday treats.

A few of the items showcased at the event were Turkey Snack Dinner Sandwich, “VBLT” Sandwich, Max’s Smoked Brisket Skillet Hash (part of the character breakfast), Vegan Cookie Butter Snowflake, Butter Pecan Yule Log, Peppermint Mocha Petit Gateaux, Coquito Milkshake, and Grinch themed holiday cookies. These items are just a small sampling of the many offerings across both theme parks, City Walk, and the onsite hotels.

During the event, FoodSided spoke with Chef Jens Dahlmann, VP, Executive Chef Food and Beverage Operations about the 2023 Universal Orlando holiday treats. Dahlmann shared, “I think that we want to get transported into the feeling of Christmas and we do that through the aromas, like warm spices. Some of the dishes are warm and sweet, but also fit the area. A great example is the Coquito Milkshake with the chocolate letter to Santa. It tastes like Christmas with the cinnamon, but the coconut is a nod to that classic Puerto Rican beverage.”

As Chef Dahlmann went onto explain, “our culinary team is diverse as are our guests. We want to share our culture at Christmas, and we incorporate those flavors into our holiday offerings.”

While there is a nod to the traditions, cultures, and familiar tastes, Chef Dahlmann appreciates that the visual needs to deliver a wow factor. As he mentioned, “we used to say we eat with the eyes, now the camera eats first. I think that it is important to have visually appealing treats.”

A great example is the Peppermint Mocha Petit Gateaux. Chef Dahlmann mentioned that the flavor will remind people of their favorite seasonal beverage, but the shiny glaze with its pretty décor sparkles. Everyone will be snapping a photo before the fork hits for the first bite.

2023 Universal Orlando Holiday treats include peppermint mocha petit gateaux
2023 Universal Orlando Holiday treats include peppermint mocha petit gateaux, photo by Cristine Struble /

Although the desserts might take center stage, the offerings are inclusive. One of the best bites is the Vegan Cookie Butter Snowflake. The moist texture and delicate crumb could convert anyone to better appreciate vegan desserts, especially when they are well-executed.

Ensuring that there are vegan options on the menu is a priority for the Universal Orlando culinary team. As Chef Dahlmann explained, “the family makeup has changed, and we want everyone to have a great food experience. Sweet, savory, we have options to ensure that everyone has something delicious to enjoy.”

The 2023 Universal Orlando holiday treats are available now. Check with the Universal App or the information throughout the theme parks and City Walk for all the flavorful food and beverage offerings. The holiday event runs through the end of 2023. More information on special events, performances and other offerings can be found online.

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