When the end of summer comes around and fall is here, I don’t know about you but there is one thing that comes to my mind. No, it’s not pumpkin spice, it’s the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! I love the Food and Wine Festival, it’s one of my favorite times of year at Epcot. I enjoy sampling my favorite eats and drinks (& finding new favorites), partaking in some culinary seminars and events, and enjoy my favorite bands! I had a chance to check out the festival last month and I wanted to share!
When I did my research for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year, I read that there were to be 35 booths (35 booths and it’s Epcot’s 35th anniversary, coincidence? I think not)! That’s a lot of booths which means that there were going to be a lot more choices. I had an idea of which booths I wanted to check out (which new ones seemed worth it and which favorites to hit from previous years) but I didn’t want to plan every single meal at each booth. I have a tendency to change my mind on what to try at each booth once I see the food in person, or smell them! Having a general game plan works best for me because of that. So I went into Epcot with excitement and an empty stomach, two key things to have at Food and Wine if you ask me! Once inside of Epcot, I grabbed a Food and Wine Festival Passport which lists every booth and the options at each booth. I love getting a passport, it’s a prefect souvenir and a great way to keep track of what you tried and where you got it from. When I glanced at the passport and took a tally of the booths, I noticed that there were 40 places listed but not all were booths (For example, Refreshment Post and Joffrey’s are listed in the passport) but they were offering items specific for the festival.
I spent the whole day at Epcot and sampled my way around and ended up hitting 20 locations. I was lucky to have my mother with me which meant we could spilt everything from the booths and cover more ground. I have to admit that overall I didn’t have one thing that was bad. Disney has really upped their foodie game when it comes to Food and Wine and it shows in the food. I have gone in the past and there have been things I’ve tried that just didn’t thrill me or didn’t seem worth the cost so I’m happy to say that didn’t happen this year. The portions this year were a good size and I even think a bit bigger than other years. They were perfect to share with others (or keep to yourself if you’re so inclined). Now without further ado, let’s talk about what I tried!
As I mentioned, I went to 20 locations which is a lot of food so talking about every single one would take a long time so I thought I’d just go through some highlights. First, I want to mention the Flavors from Fire booth. Flavors from Fire is located in Future World behind what used to be Innoventions West and it’s one of the new booths this year. I was excited about this booth when I did my research before I got there, the food options looked great and seemed to have this BBQ style to them. Flavors from Fire has this almost abstract sculpture of a flame in a small courtyard before the booth so you can’t miss it when you walk by. I decided to get the Smoked Corned Beef with crispy potatoes, pickled onions, and Blonde Ale beer fondue. This was amazing! Everything on in it would have been great on their own but when you combine them into this BBQ nacho dish it became one of my favorite things there. This was one dish I didn’t want to share! I also decided to get the Swine Brine drink because any drink with a rib on top is worth trying! The Swine Brine features Evan Williams Bourbon with lemon juice, apple cider, and Dijon mustard with a pork rib on top as a garnish. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I’d like having a rib on my drink but it was actually good. Personally, I’m not a fan of mustard but I didn’t even taste it in the drink which was good for me. The drink doesn’t look the best, it looks murky which does not look please. Luckily, look were deceiving and it was great! All the flavors were blended together and the rib felt more like a little snack to go with the drink. I could’ve just stayed at Flavors from Fire and be content but there was still a lot more to explore.
When it comes to the food at the festival I think I could spend all day talking about everything I tried but instead I’ll just talk about my top 5 dishes:
- Potato pancake from Scotland. When I think of Scottish food I don’t usually think about a potatoes pancake but this was delicious. It was simply done which sometimes is so much better than trying to make something fancy because the ingredients were good to begin with. All it consisted of was a nice warm potatoes pancake with smoked salmon and herbed sour cream. The salmon was sliced similar to Lox but in my opinion so much better, by smoking it there was more flavor and the herbed sour cream was a perfect complement.
- Spanakopita from Greece. The reason why I mention this is because I am a huge fan of spanakopita, I am half Greek and this is something that I grew up on. I’m pretty critical when trying someone’s version of it outside of my family. This was a wonderful spanakopita, the phyllo (filo) dough was crispy and the spinach was not overwhelmed by other flavors (some people add too much lemon juice or other things which just ruin it in my opinion). This would be my spanakopita of choice outside of what my family makes and that’s saying a lot!
- Salmon BLT Sushi Roll from Japan. I love sushi so going to the Japan booth is a “don’t miss” every year for me and I was excited to try this sushi roll. The roll consisted of lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, tomato, salmon, and bacon chips. Some people might not like this combination but I did. I was worried that the BLT flavors would overpower the sushi roll aspect but it didn’t. They all worked well together. I jokingly refer to it as a low carb BLT since there’s no bread!
- Madra Red Curry from India. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this because it’s hit or miss for me when it comes to curry but this one was great! This curry was with roasted cauliflower, baby carrots, chickpeas, and basmati rice and I really like the cauliflower in this dish with the basmati rice to balance the curry was perfect. It was probably one of my favorite curry dishes I’ve ever had!
- Braised Beef “Stroganoff” from The Cheese Studio. This sauce was so tasty! It was the cheese but did not taste like cheese at all which just shows what the chefs at Disney can do with food now. The other aspect of this dish I like was the shredded pickles on top. I thought this was just a cool way to garnish this dish and also tasted great with everything. I think I might have to start shredding pickles at home!
In addition to these 5 dishes I have to mention my favorite desserts because you can’t go to Food and Wine and not try a couple of desserts!
- Sweet Dark Chocolate Raspberry Torte from The Chocolate Studio. Personally, I love the combination of raspberry and dark chocolate. I just think they work so well together so this dessert could do no wrong in my opinion. They also topped it with a little whipped cream and some raspberry dust and that just made things better for me because whipped cream is always good with chocolate.
- Warm Chocolate Pudding from Ireland. This is one of the things I have to get every year (or whatever version of chocolate cake they have at the Ireland booth). I love it! Now don’t ask me why they call it chocolate pudding when it’s more like a warm delicious chocolate cake but it just so good and then you add Irish Cream Liqueur Custard on top and I was in heaven. I saved this dish until last and it was the best way to end my day!
So there you have it, my highlights of Food and Wine. This doesn’t even cover it and I’ll share the photos from all the wonderful dishes because I think that sometimes the pictures is better than any description. As I mentioned before, every dish was great so no matter what you pick, you’ll have a blast trying out everything that Food and Wine has to offer! Now, if you are an avid follower of us here at The Disney Nerds Podcast then you know that our 4th annual meet up is almost here! On November 3rd we will be in Epcot for our Half Samplethon in Epcot so be sure to come out and try some of these dishes and more with us! Check out our events on our Facebook page for more details! If you can’t make it to the samplethon with us, don’t worry, Epcot’s International Food and Wine is going on through November 13th so there’s still time to enjoy all that the festival has to offer!
Also, remember, if you would like to plan a trip, please contact the official travel agent of The Disney Nerds Podcast, Once Upon a Time Travel.