Before we get to the Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance opening tomorrow, Walt Disney World today hosted reporters for a look at what's new and coming at Epcot. Before the formal events kick off this evening, I took the chance to do some holiday noshing around World Showcase.
Accompanied by TPI Mom, we tried several new and familiar dishes from the Holiday Markets at the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. We started with the Yukon Holiday Kitchen (Canada), where we tried the Canadian Wild Rice and Ham Soup with Almonds served with a Pretzel Roll ($5) and Seared Verlasso Salmon with Crown Royal Maple Whisky Glaze, Parsnip Silk, and Apple Chutney ($6).
The ham soup refreshed on a cool day (in the upper 40s when we started), but the salmon tasted like it was dipped in maple syrup. Whether that is a deal-killer or deal-sealer, we leave to you.
Ranking the rest of our picks from next-to-bottom to the top, we head to the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen (Germany) for Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce and Spaetzle ($6.25) and a Linzer Cookie ($2.50).
It's a nice pork fritter (as we called this back in Indiana), and the Linzer Cookie is certainly tasty. But it's nothing as special as other offerings around the World. A better choice would be at the Shi Wasu Holiday Kitchen (Japan) where we had the Chirashi Sushi Tree: Sashimi Tuna, Salmon, Ikura, and Yellowtail with Vegetables on a bed of Rice ($6) and Matcha Crème Brûlée: Creamy Green Tea Custard with a Caramelized Sugar Crust topped with Mochi, Strawberry, and Red Bean Jam ($5.75).
Now, we're talking. (Okay, we didn't talk. We ate.) There's not a lot of sushi atop this Insta-worthy tree, but the Crème Brûlée was a delight, as TPI Mom discovered the joy of Mochi.
Having watched pretty much every episode of the Great British Bakeoff, I was impressed by our selection at Le Marché de Noël Holiday Kitchen (France): Rillette de Saumon: Salmon Spread with House-made Fennel Bread ($5.75).
The lamination on that bake! The salmon spread was yummy, but the crispy, flaky bread was the real highlight here. But for an even more impressive bit of baking, head to Tuscany Holiday Kitchen (Italy) for Bianca Neve: Italian Flatbread, Mozzarella, and Parmesan ($5), along with Collezione Barilla: Pennette Pasta, Sweet Sausage, Caramelized Onions and Creamy Sauce ($7) and Panettone Mignon ($8).
I love, love, love Via Napoli and its amazing pizza crust, and while this flatbread doesn't quite achieve that sublime delight, it's a nice treat nevertheless. And, as is American custom, we didn't eat the Panettone 'cause we're giving it to someone else.
And that brings us to L’Chaim! Holiday Kitchen (Between Morocco and France) for my favorite bite today, the Smoked Salmon Potato Latke ($5).
Rich salmon with tasty dill atop a perfect potato latke. In my Southern California cultural melting pot, this is a perfect holiday dish and Disney executes it spot-on here. Highly recommended.
Other that the Holiday Kitchens, one of the other highlights of Epcot's annual holiday festival is the nightly Candlelight ceremony, which Disney will live stream with narrator Neil Patrick Harris tonight at 8:10pm Eastern.
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The best food at the F&W was the pepper bacon mac and cheese from the farm fresh booth. Just awesome, we ate way too much of the stuff ... :)
I walked round Epcot on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and nothing really caught my eye other than the cookies, but now Robert has done his review I'll be trying a couple of things next visit.
Yep, got my Chip n' Dale magnet(s), but very underwhelming I have to say.
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That tree is quite cute, but it looks like an awful lot of sauce on there, almost drowning the sushi. I assume that the sauce is applied after ordering so a guest could request less or have it served on the side.
That's quite a serving of salmon on the latke. It looks like there's some minced red onions (and maybe capers) mixed into it, which appear to be in a perfect ratio with the amount of fish.
I've always found the offerings from the Italy booth at the EPCOT F&W Festival underwhelming (they did have an amazing seafood ceviche with hunks of octopus, muscles, clams, shrimp, and scallops back in 2017), and these items don't really change that impression for me (really, mini Panettone in a box that you could just as easily purchase from the store? - we got one of these from Big Lots 2 weeks ago for free).