It is that time of year again! The Food and Wine Festival is our favorite event at Disney. It is celebrating its 15th year. We have already gone twice this month to sample all the tasty food. We are going again next weekend to “The Party of The Senses,” a private event held every Saturday night during the run of the festival.
The kiosks seem more organized this year than in the past. Lines can get long, but they move at a brisk pace. We didn’t wait for more than 5-10 minutes in any line. For Disney, this is quite an achievement. Each year, we seem to initiate some newbies to the festival. After many years of experience, I have a few tips for successfully making it around the World Showcase.
-Go with a group, and share food. We usually have between 2-4 other people. Sharing means that you get to sample more (more economical as well), and you don’t get full as quickly.
-Take your time. Our one-year old squirt came with us, which forced us to take lots of breaks so he could crawl and stretch his legs. It took us 6 hours to make our way around the World Showcase. Our glacial pace meant that we didn’t eat too much too quickly. This was also the first year that I didn’t feel totally stuffed. There’s lots of good shopping in each of the countries. For example, the fellows from this group spent some time purchasing hats.
-Most plates have a recommended drink pairing (wine, beer, non-alcoholic specialty.) We have found that the wine pairings match very well with the food.
There are two countries debuting this year: Belgium and South Korea. We tried the food at both – barbecued beef short rib and a pork lettuce wrap at South Korea, and mussels and a Belgian waffle at Belgium. The Korean food was tasty. I wasn’t expecting too much from the waffle, but it blew me away! It is easily the best-selling item of all, and one of the tastiest. There were three waffle irons going to keep up with the demand.
We tried lots of new dishes, and for the most part, were not disappointed. Some, like the coconut beef rendang, looked the most unappetizing but tasted the best. The dessert trio was the opposite. They looked fantastic, but each one of them was bland and surprisingly tasteless. That was probably our biggest disappointment.
Here is a sampling of stuff we tried.
Row 1: braised short rib, coconut beef rendang, Korean barbecued shortrib with pickled cucumber.
Row 2: chocolate lava cake with Bailey’s ganache, spanokopita, black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles.
Row 3: asopao de pollo, “Parisien” Cosmo slush, escargots in brioche.
Row 4: corn and cheese empanada, beef tenderloin with mango barbecue sauce and sweet potato mash, mussels in a garlic-cream sauce.
I am a home cook, musician, and wannabe photographer. Kokocooks documents my adventures in the kitchen – developing recipes using fresh, seasonal ingredients, concocting fun desserts, and encouraging a love of cooking in my young son.