close to 100 food choices, where do you begin?Walt Disney World is back with its 23rd annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. With nearly three dozen food booths offering
Well, start with my list! Based largely on taste while factoring in price, I am pleased to share my annual listing of 10 great foods to try when visiting the festival.
Australia — Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (Gluten Free, $7.75) The lamb chop is back! Last year, it was a thin salty piece of lamb "T-bone" that was plain bad, but this year the lamb chop has returned to all its glory. The lamb chop is grilled, topped with mint pesto (but not too minty), and topped off with the potato chip pieces that you find at the end of your chip bag. I'm so happy it's back. *If you have a Disney Dining plan, make sure you use the snack credits on the more expensive dishes like this one. Snack credits can be used on F&W items, but you get the best deals on the higher-priced items.
Brazil — Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions (Gluten Free, $5.75) A fan favorite, this dish returns unchanged from last year because it was perfect to begin with. I mean, who doesn't love a niece piece of crispy, perfectly rendered pork belly? Adding in the tomatoes and onions provide a fresh flavor contrast to the very savory pork.
Greece — Spanakopita: Greek Spinach Pie (Vegan, $4.50) Vegans can rejoice again with this absolutely great tasting dish. Spinach baked in flaky phyllo dough is oh so good. By the way, there are about twenty-eight vegan dishes available at the Festival.
China — Beijing Roasted Duck Bao with Hoisin Sauce ($6.75) Bao buns are one of my favorite glutenous products. That sweet, warm white bread goes so well with almost anything. Place some shredded duck along with some hoisin sauce, red onion and crunchy noodles to make any already perfect piece of bread even more amazing.
Coastal Eats — Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn, Butterbean Succotash and Chili-chipotle Butter Sauce ($6) A great new addition to the menu this year is a nicely portioned dish featuring sea scallops. The scallops are not big, but for $6, you get three nicely sized fresh tasting scallops with a scrumptious sauce.
France — Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley ($5.75) If you never had Escargot, a.k.a. snails, this is the place to try it. I call Escargot oysters of the land because besides being coming from a shell, they are a little chewy and absorb whatever flavor they are cooked in. This happens to be the case when the Escargots are cooked in delicious garlic butter sauce and stuffed inside a super soft and flaky croissant. C'est Magnifique!
Flavors from Fire — Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli ($6.75) I absolutely enjoyed this dish. Everything paired so well and every part of the dish tasted amazing on its own. The dish would have went higher on the list, but the steak was a tad overcooked, which they do on the filet from Canada as well (but I can understand Disney not wanting to cook things medium rare).
The Cheese Studio Hosted by Boursin Cheese — Cheese Trio: Profiterole topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Orange Apricot Jam; Smoked Salmon Pinwheel with Boursin Shallot, and Chive Cheese and Everything Seasoning ($5.50) All flavorful soft cheeses are accompanied with a little bit of everything. It's a dish that truly expresses the versatility of cheese.
Active Eats — Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese with Nueske's Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions ($5) The mac and cheese is perfectly cooked with a nice proportion of cheese to macaroni. Add in some of the best bacon available and there is reason why this dish is back again.
Wine & Dine Studio — Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds ($4.50) Another great
vegan vegetarian dish that you can taste butternut sweet squash filling inside a soft pumpkin colored ravioli. Makes a good fall flavored addition.
Bonus: Hops & Barley — New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream and Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side ($5.75) This dish really tastes like your momma's pot roast stuck on a potato roll. Everything goes together very well.
While I can list more, these dishes make the top of my list. I hope you get to try these dishes out because there are just so many to choose from. I also encourage you to try anything that sounds good to you because Epcot really has refined most of its dishes. So get out there... and then tell us your favorites!Tweet
I’ve been living in Australia for nearly 6 years and while Lamb with mint sauce is definitely an Aussie staple, I don’t get where the potato chip crumb thing comes from at Food and Wine Festival.
Hey Jeff, I completely disagree with the other commenter Barry. I think this article is great and includes a listing of new items I cannot wait to try when my family goes in October. Thanks again for posting!
Instead of being snarky, Barry, why don't you add a few posts with some of these new items that Jeff didn't include?
Cant wait to try them all!
Hey Sean, I apologize, I meant to write Vegetarian. Colin, yeah I feel like potato chips are very American, but I will say the chips make a nice addition. Thank you for all the support and thanks specifically to Tim. It’s very much appreciated.
My comment was mysteriously deleted... however, I feel it is important to point out how boring this article is. Almost nothing new to highlight. I wish articles like this would not rest in their laurels and feature the really new and exciting dishes. Check the author's profile people...a majority of this stuff is a retread from two years ago. Yawn.
You just don't get it, Barry. Your previous post got deleted. Three guesses as to who did that. Two other posters disagreed with your attitude towards the thread author...and you basically post a retread of your deleted post because you "feel it is important to point out how boring this article is." Really???
Instead of posting a pile of negativity why don't you add to the thread with some of the new stuff you keep talking about but can't seem to find the time to take pictures of and write about? Or is it more fun being a troll?
I don't get it either. Whether it's a complete rehash of the previous year's review or not, the purpose is to highlight the start of the EPCOT F&W Festival. As someone who has provided reviews here for annual events many times before, it's really hard to stay consistent with previous opinions while offering fresh takes and interesting angles to frame events that typically change very little from year to year. As a writer and commentator, you don't want to undercut yourself or be hypocritical, especially in today's digital world when in a few clicks, someone can tell whether you're a flip flopper. Providing a simple highlight and photos of new items with a brief commentary is often the best way to go.
I'm not sure if Jeffrey provided this review based on a media event or a personal visit (looks to be the latter), but that could also alter the comprehensiveness of the review. Additionally, let's not forget that most of the writers here are providing content to TPI for free. Yes, some of us get access to exclusive media events and behind the scenes previews thanks to the reputation and reach of TPI, but the time and effort to attend and write about theme parks is typically not for any sort of financial gain, and simply grounded in our love of theme parks and the occasional opportunity to do things the average guest doesn't usually get a chance to do. In fact, if Jeffrey actually did spend his own money to provide the photos and description of these dishes (looks to be over $60 invested, plus admission to the park for the day - granted there are other websites out there that I will not name that spend hundreds of dollars of their personal money to taste and photograph every single item at the EPCOT F&W Festival, many multiple times throughout to confirm consistency), I think a "thank you" should be added to any criticism of the writer's editorial decisions. After-all, he likely paid for most, if not all, of these items to help you decide whether it's worth spending your own money, almost like a public service.
I will say that I wish they would go back to the traditional presentation of escargot. Hiding them inside a croissant perhaps helps to make them a bit more accessible to the average guest, but I'd much rather have them with just a sprinkle of bread crumbs soaking up the garlic butter than an already butter pastry drowning in the succulent sauce, almost making it too much of a good thing.
Also, I'd be pretty disappointed in that portion of meat on the New Brunswick Slider compared to the giant hunk of bread. Nonetheless, thanks Jeff for bringing us some highlights from the EPCOT F&W Festival, especially for those of us who can't attend every year.
Thank you Jeff for a informative article! I've been to the Food and Wine Festival several times but have missed some of the items you mentioned. I am definitely going to try the Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn as well as the Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake based on your descriptions above!!
Russell's point about writers providing content to TPI for free is well taken. I suspect that many readers are unaware of this. For a media event, there's first the time involved in getting there and getting checked in, then the time to wait one's turn to ride, then the time to get the camera set up, then the ride time, then the time (for people like me who don't travel with laptops but rely on desktop PC's) to drive home, then the time to pull the onride video off a flash drive and upload it to YouTube, then the time to download all the photographs the writer took and upload them to a photo processing service such as Photobucket, then the time - and this is obviously what requires the most time and thought - to actually write a piece about whatever it is that occasioned the media event. It's a labor of love - certainly not a way to make money - even when the subject doesn't generate much interest. (My review of Cyborg at Great Adventure didn't generate much interest despite its being the first ride of its kind in this country so was it a waste of time to cover its opening? Of course not!)
And if Jeff did indeed invest his own money and wrote this independently of any media event, more power to him. It obviously took some effort and if I found it boring - which I didn't - I wouldn't be boorish enough to say so.
Russell and Bobbie are correct and provide a great insight to what TPI provides. I very much appreciate their support. I did volunteer this article and invest my own money with multiple visits to try to find the right dishes. Some of the dishes are the same because they are good and I don’t want people to miss out. Some of their new dishes were not to my liking for example, Thailand’s scallop and shrimp cake and the Festival center’s charcuterie plate which I did not include amongst other new items.
I also agree the ratio of bread to meat in the New Brunswick slider is disproportionate. Just that the meat is so good!
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Hi Jeff - thanks for the article. One picky comment, "vegan" is often defined as "A person who does not use animal products." If you accept this definition, meals with dairy products (e.g, cheese, butter etc.) likely wouldn't qualify as "vegan". - Sean