After the D23 Expo in Anaheim and the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge media event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, let’s keep our Disney week going! So it’s off to Epcot today for the opening of the 2019 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
With more than 30 marketplaces and hundreds of selections, we decided to focus on some of the new options at this year’s festival during our visit today.
We started the day at the festival’s new marketplace for 2019 — The Alps. Featuring Swiss favorites, the marketplace is serving warm Raclette cheese with baby potatoes, Cornichons and baguette slices, venison stew with crushed potatoes, and a blueberry and Frangipane tart with Crème Fraiche and almonds.
So of course, we ordered them all.
The tart [$4.50] is the star here — a delightful pastry with a nice blend of almond and blueberry flavors that refresh your taste buds without beating them down with cloying sweetness, as too many theme park desserts do. I also enjoyed the stew, which offered nice meaty flavor. But with just one noticeable chunk of venison, there wasn’t much substance here, even with a $6 price.
While I enjoyed watching the servers scrape the warm Raclette [$5] from the wheels of Swiss cheese on the counter, the meager portion here also didn’t do much to thrill me. The baby potatoes were nice, but the two pickles were buried under the cheese, which cooled quickly, losing much of its appeal.
If people of The Alps were being a bit parsimonious this morning, leave it to the hosts in Italy to revive the party. The festival’s Italy pavilion is offering an all-new menu this year, including Ravioli Carbonara, Costine di Maiale (Balsamic-glazed pork ribs), crispy chicken with Marinara, Sicilian cannoli, and a Chocolate-Hazelnut cake on a stick.
Pacing ourselves, we skipped the cake, but ordered one of everything else. And that was more than enough.
We got five of the ravioli [$7.25], three of the chicken pieces [$6], and three very meaty ribs [$8], making this pavilion — hand on heart — the best value we’ve seen from a Disney food festival in ages.
The chicken was pretty much your basic chicken breast tenders, though with a light and flavorful batter and a nice side of Mariana. The ravioli were actually enough to share, with a cream-enhanced Carbonara dressing the Parmesan- and Pecorino-filled ravioli. The ribs, though, stole the show with fall-off-the-bone tender meat enhanced by a glaze that added extra umami without any distracting sweetness.
The single cannoli [$4.25] was nice, but seemed skimpy next to the other three selections and just didn’t measure up to the bright flavors of the blueberry tart we’d just enjoyed.
Stuffed from the portions in Italy on a hot August day, we sweated our way around the other side of the World Showcase to the Refreshment Port next to the Canada pavilion. Our target here was the Duck Confit Poutine [$8.49].
Served atop fries with a fig Demi sauce and with a Brie fondue in lieu of the traditional cheese curds, this poutine is either a complete meal for one or something to share among several friends. Once you get over the guilt of Epcot’s Mallards staring you down, the duck here was quite tasty, and I’ll never say no to melted Brie, though I miss the texture that curds bring to a traditional poutine, which also is available here for $6.99.
That's all we could try today, but with a record 87 days to enjoy this year's festival, there's plenty of time for Disney and food fans to try more. The 24th Epcot International Food and Wine Festival runs daily through November 23 this year.Tweet
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.