Epcot International Food And Wine Festival 2015, My Top 5 new foods of the 20th anniversary

Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2015

Hold onto your hats, it’s my favorite time of the year!  Fall means cooler weather, gorgeous autumnal colors on trees, and a slight nip in the air.  Except, none of those actually happen here in Florida.  However!  We do have the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival to look forward to!  This year is extra special because Disney is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the festival.  I’ve been thinking, and the first time I came to the festival was in 1997, the year I did my student teaching in Orlando.  I’ve been almost every year since (there were a few years when I lived in North Carolina, and didn’t make it down.)  Here’s a quick stroll down memory lane….

I was not above posing as a bosc pear bear at the 2007 festival…

The birth of our son didn’t keep us away in 2009.  In fact, this was Tyler’s first ever Disney trip…

At the 15th anniversary in 2010, guests were given red clown noses as part of the parting gifts from the Party For The Senses.

As in recent years, I am focusing this post on what’s new around the Global Marketplaces.  Food-wise, that is.  First, the Dominican Republic makes a return with new dishes.  Second, there’s the Chew Lab and Sustainable Chew, both located in Future World and dedicated to the television show The Chew.  I spent a good deal of time tasting my way through the new food (and some of the beverage) offerings.  I even made a guest appearance on Lou Mongello’s podcast, along with Julie, as we tasted our way through many new items. Lou was so much fun to hang out with, and I was constantly amazed by how easily he can speak on the fly without any script.  Check out the podcast, if nothing else than for our unguarded reactions to eating haggis for the first time!

(haggis with neeps and tatties)

It was difficult to narrow things down, because just about everything we tried was a smash hit.  The chefs have really stepped it up this year.  I was so impressed by the quality of the food, and how beautifully everything was presented.  I’ve managed to come up with my Top 5 new items for this year.  Here goes:

 

zucchini ravioli, Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2015

  • The ricotta and zucchini ravioli, Sustainable Chew.  Ravioli sounds like it’s going to be heavy, but this dish was fresh and light.  The zucchini was shredded and mixed with the ricotta, and the ravioli was cooked perfectly.  The tomato sauce that accompanied it had a slight heat from red pepper flakes.  It was the first thing we ate, and was a perfect start to the afternoon!  And, it’s a fantastic vegetarian option.

 

Lechón asado: Roasted pork with mangú, pickled red onion and avocado, Epcot Food and Wine Festival

  • Lechón asado: Roasted pork with mangú, pickled red onion and avocado, Dominican Republic.  The pork was soooo tender, and I loved the rustic presentation of the smashed avocado.  Mangú is made from mashed plantains, and made the dish feel hearty.  This is not only delicious, but also gluten free.

 

butter chicken, Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2015

  • Buttered chicken, South Africa.  This dish shares a similar flavor profile to chicken tikka masala.  It is spiced with garam masala, cumin, and cayenne pepper, and has a fragrant tomato-based sauce.  The naan that came with it was soft and lightly buttered. It was one of the spicier dishes, but not too much.  When I bought this year’s cookbook, this was the first thing I made, and it was just as good at home!

 

Loaded mac ‘n’ cheese with Nueske's® pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions, Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2015

  • Loaded mac ‘n’ cheese with Nueske’s® pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions, Farm Fresh.  They had me at “mac and cheese,” but then they add bacon to it!  This was loaded with four kinds of cheese, mixed with bacon and red bell pepper, and topped with green onion.  This is definitely a dish to share with friends.  I could’ve eaten it all, but then would’ve been done for the day.  And ready for a nap.

 

liquid nitro chocolate truffle, Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2015

  • Liquid nitro chocolate almond truffle with warm whiskey caramel, Sustainable Chew.  This was my favorite dessert so far, and so much fun to watch the chef make.  First,  she dipped a scoop of chocolate mousse in liquid nitrogen.  Then, she set the frozen mousse on a plate and broke it open by rapping on it with a mallet.  After that, she garnished it with caramel and almond crumbs.  I was impressed by how long the mousse remained frozen.  And it is sooooooo good – silky chocolate, with the almond for some texture and caramel for sweetness.

 

frozen brown elephant, Refreshment Coolpost

  • Frozen Brown Elephant, Refreshment Cool Post.  Okay, I had to include one more.  Like I said, it was hard to narrow things down!  Of all the drinks I tried, this one was my favorite.  It’s kind of like a rum and coke, but frozen.  And with a cream liqueur.  It went down very easily, especially on a hot day, and when eating the spicy hot dog with kimchi slaw.  I was sharing this with Julie and Lou, but ended up drinking most of it myself.

 

Whew!  Like I said, it was hard to keep from listing everything.  There were so many dishes that were equally as good, like the miso udon, venison, loin, and meat pie with mashed yucca.  AND, this list doesn’t include any of my returning favorites like the roasted duck steamed bun, filet with truffle butter, pork belly with black beans, or tuna poke.  *Sigh*  This just means that I need to make many (many) more trips back to try them all.

 

One last tip: if children will be with you as you eat your way around the world, I highly recommend the Remy’s Hide and Squeak scavenger hunt.  You can purchase a map of the World Showcase along with a set of stickers.  A statue of Remy is hidden in each of the countries aournd the World Showcase, and as you find him you place stickers in the correct spots.  Once you fill up the map with the stickers, you can turn it in for a commemorative pin.  My son was a whiny grumble pants as we entered Epcot, up until we got the map and began the search.  Then he happily walked from country to country looking for the statues while I enjoyed the food.

 

Have you been to the festival yet?  What dishes did you like?  Are you planning on going?  What food/drink are you most looking forward to trying?  Check out my Flickr album for more pictures from Epcot.  I’ll be updating it throughout the festival’s run.  Oh, and I may manage to post a recipe or two in the next few weeks of dishes from this year’s selections!

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