Welcome back foodie fans for the third and final installment of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. I know this may sound crazy that we spent three days in the Festival, but there is so much to experience, it could take a whole week! One aspect that we were not able to cover were the many book signings and demonstrations that take place during the week. Ahead of time, you go online to see the schedule and sign up for meal demonstrations by chefs like Carla Hall from The Chew or even learn how to be a bartender! These events do come at a price but the experience and the knowledge are more than worth it.
On this last day we decided to move in the opposite direction by starting with England and moving up towards the middle repeating any carts we felt were exceptional. In England, we stopped by and tried a cheese flight with various Kerrygold cheeses mixed with bread and a side of chutney. Kerrygold is an Irish cheese and the various blends were tasty and satisfying! We then made our way to Scotland, which is a new booth this year, to try out the Glenfiddich Scotch Flight. There were three scotches all different ages (12, 15, and 18). The people of Scotland are kind enough to also give you some water to help with the scotch. My brothers did try all of the different flights and I do recommend trying them yourself but only if you truly enjoy what alcohol it is so that you can appreciate it more. I definitely enjoyed trying out the beer flights, but I did pass on the tequila and scotch flights.
In between some of these booths was yet another food specific booth in the form of Desserts and Champagne. I controlled myself and only had one dessert which was the Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake. This dessert is so creamy on top with so much crunch with loose crumbs on the bottom making a delightful combination. I love chocolate and Nutella which peaked my interest in a chocolate hazelnut combination and I was not disappointed. This dessert was cheaper than some of the other dishes I had tried being under $2 and it was still a great portion size. There was the option for a dessert flight which was tempting but it was still early in the day and I did not want to fill up too quickly.
Working our way around the back end of the festival, we came across Brazil and Argentina where we tasted some amazing dishes. In Brazil we had Seared Scallop with Tomatoes, Hearts of Palm, and Steamed Rice. In Argentina we thoroughly enjoyed the Beef Empanada and Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree. The skewers were tender and juicy with just enough sauce to add more flavor. The puree underneath was creamy like a nice mashed potato which makes sense because boniato is a Latin white sweet potato. This combination was delicious and the Beef Empanada was equally as good. The dough was crispy and the meat inside was tender with a great mix of flavor.
In Greece we tried some of the Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey. Once again I love cheese and honey in any combination and this was slightly crispy on top and delicious. The crisp on top was nice and the cheese underneath was soft and creamy. For cheese lovers this is another great combination and a good cheese as well! While in Greece we also enjoyed some Spanakopita which was a crisp pocket with some nice crunch before reaching that delicious center. For those of you who don’t know, Spanakopita is a very traditional Greek dish. Usually it contains spinach, feta cheese, onion, egg, and seasonings. This combination is creamy inside of a nice crispy puff pastry dough.
We made our way across to Asia yet again on this day and found ourselves in Singapore. Here we had a Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut and Jasmine Rice and a Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and “Singa” Sauce. Here we also tried the recommended wine pairing with the Marques de Caceras Santinela. At the booth and even in the cookbook it recommends pairing this wine with the dishes because the spice in the dishes helps the sweet wine go down smoothly. Overall the dishes were amazing with tender meat and fish and a great combination of spice which was only enhanced through the wine. We also went back to South Korea because those Lettuce Wraps were too delicious to pass up and we also tried a Kimchi Dog with a spicy mustard sauce. Much like the lettuce wraps, the Kimchi Dog was a great flavor combination of the spice and the tender meat topped with an amazing sauce. Sadly, this is where we had to end our culinary journey at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. While there, I did learn some tips that are helpful in case you decide to make a trip to the Festival yourself!
One helpful tip is to pay attention to the company who is helping to host the event itself. This year it was Chase, the credit card company. Therefore, if you have a Chase card you can gain access to a special air conditioned lounge with soft drinks and other amenities. If you have the card you can get in for free and it’s definitely nice to escape that Florida heat!
Another helpful tip is how to pay for all of these delicious dishes. While you can always use cash or credit cards, you can also use the Disney Dining Plan. Prior to your trip to Disney you can sign up for the Dining Plan which offers various options to choose from. With the Dining Plan you have the option of having snack foods during the day. At every booth there was the option of using the dish as one of the snacks for the day. Lastly, there is the ability to use your room key which will be added to your bill at the end of your stay or you can purchase Food and Wine Festival gift cards to use. There are many different options and the possibilities are endless! For me, I felt the price was worth it because rather than spending a lot of money at lunch (there were 7 of us) we were able to try all different foods and fill up for much less while enjoying a nice walk around the park.
I was not able to try everything at these booths, though I definitely did try! All of these dishes and drinks were great representations of the countries they wanted to portray down to the ingredients. I highly recommend trying to make it to any Food and Wine Festival, but especially this one because Disney itself is quite the experience. Thank you for joining me on this worldwide culinary journey!
Hopefully I have inspired some of you to try new foods or explore the Food and Wine Festival some more. If so, you can check out these sights to look at more menus and information regarding the festival: http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/guides/epcot/events/index.htm and https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/. Until then, safe travels!