It’s here! My absolute favorite event at Disney. And I’m not the only one. Thousands of people plan trips to Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival.
top row: zapiekanki, mung bean pancake with shrimp and kimchi sauce; middle row: Caribbean booth, spicy sushi roll, us; bottom row: Brewer’s Collection beers, pork and kimchi lettuce wrap
With so much to do, there’s something for everyone. And the place is decorated so prettily with all the gardening displays and food topiaries. Every booth has a variety of regional-specific potted plants. If only my house were as nicely decked out!
We went a few times already, and tried to mainly try the new stuff. I’d like to give a shout out to Julius (of Droolius) and Odessa, who we met up with for a few hours. My husband and Odessa rolled their eyes while Julius and I took pictures of all the food. He also took the photo of Joey and I (see above.) Here are the highlights from our weekend:
The filet mignon from Canada. This is a dish from the Le Cellier Steakhouse menu. It’s a small portion, but quality makes up for the size. The meat was perfectly cooked, and it was served with wild mushrooms and a truffle butter sauce.
The tequila flight in Mexico. This was the first thing we had upon arriving, and after drinking all three, I didn’t notice the heat or the lines for quite a while! We talked with one of the servers in the booth, and discovered that two of tequilas were better for sipping instead of shooting. Wish I had learned that beforehand. Now I want to try them again and savor more of their flavors.
The lamb chop from Australia. This booth has always served a tasty lamb chop, but this year’s dish is dressed with a mint pesto (nice spin on the traditional mint jelly) and a crust of salt and vinegar potato chips. Yes, please!
White corn arepa from the Florida Local booth. I’ve never had an arepa stuffed with anything other than cheese, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the pork inside the pocket. The corn salsa was refreshing.
The cheese selection from the Cheese booth. This year’s cheese selections were a wicked sharp cheddar, blue cheese, and a goat brie. The cheddar had a drizzle of honey cut some of the sharpness. I just wish there had been a couple more crackers to accompany that wedge of brie.
The grapefruit beer from the Brewer’s Collection booth. We ended up tasting more beer during our visit than wine, and this one was the biggest surprise. It was light, refreshing, and didn’t at all taste like beer. It made the hot afternoon a little bit cooler.
top row: sparkling pomegranate kir, France booth, dessert trio; middle row: shrimp ceviche with plantains and cilantro, escargot and Grey Goose lemon slush, lobster claw; bottom row: chocolate lava cake, spinach and paneer pocket, coq au vin
Other highlights include:
For those people who are weirded out by using a garbage can as a table top (flat surfaces around the World Showcase are in high demand) the park now sells these nifty plates so you can carry your food and drink with one hand. Problem solved!
The Festival Center. This is the old Wonders of Life building, located to the left of Mission: Space. This is where a lot of the cooking demonstrations, tastings, and celebrity appearances occur. There is also a “wine cellar” where you can buy just about any of the beverages that are sold in the booths. And the building also houses the Ghirardelli Chocolate display. You can read about the chocolate making process, get a free sample of chocolate, sip a cup of hot chocolate, and gaze at the amazing chocolate displays (bonus if you can find Captain Jack Sparrow hiding in one of the displays.)
So that was the first weekend of the festival for us! I’m sure we’ll visit a bunch more times during the month. Check out my flickr set, because I’ll be adding pictures as we experience more of the festival. And in case you missed it, I chatted with Christine and Katie about some tips for maneuvering through the festival.