by Nick the Disney Devo
This year, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival is longer than ever, having started on September 19th, it is running through November 10th.
I had the opportunity to visit old favorite food booths, as well as visit some new ones this year.
Our first stop was the Festival Center, located at the old Wonders of Life Pavilion in Future World.
As it was a very hot morning, a nice cool beverage was in order, so I bought a beer at the Intermissions Cafe. The Einstok Icelandic White Ale is a favorite new find.
Afterwards, we headed back towards World Showcase as food kiosks were just opening. Our first stop was New Zealand, where I had the Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney and the Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Bread Crumbs. The Mussels were a little dry, and tough, perhaps because of all the breadcrumbs; but the meatball was excellent, and one of my favorites from the festival.
Next we visited the Farm Fresh stand, a new addition this year, where we sampled both selections they had to offer, the Pepper Bacon Hash, and the Griddled “Yard Bird,” which is chicken.
The Hash was pretty good, the yard bird, meh. I also had a couple of beers: Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Orlando Brewing’s I-4 IPA. Both…meh. I’m not a big brown ale fan, and this IPA was unimpressive. At least the Cast Members at this booth were high energy and fun.
I had a beer from the Brewer’s Collection, the Braufactum Palor, a pale ale. Not bad, nothing to write home about.
It was now well past noon, and HOT. So, yes, I was in need of another beer. I got the Snapshot from New Belgium Brewing at Hops & Barley. This was at least better than the previous 3 beers I’d had, but, not in the same league as that Einstok from earlier in the day.
Our next kiosk was one I’d missed last year, Brazil, and I got the Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans. It was very good, not as great as I’d hoped. I think I’d hyped it up in my own head to a level that nothing short of excellent could have truly satisfied me. Yes, I really like pork. I also had a Xingu Black Beer, which was actually very nice.
That evening, after a break at the pool, we stopped in Italy.
We had the Filetto di Pollo, or Chicken with Marsala Sauce. It sounds like a simple dish, but it was delicious, especially the mushrooms and sauce.
I also had a Moretti La Rossa. I’ve had regular Moretti Lager, and was not impressed, but this Doppelbock was much better, highly recommended.
Our last stop of that evening was Singapore, where we had the Mahi Mahi and Jasmine Rice.
The fish was very moist and the rice and “Singa” sauce was as good as it smelled. An excellent dish.
A few days later we returned, with our first stop being the Puerto Rico booth. This is easily the nicest food booth at the Festival, with a nice area to relax.
Unfortunately, the food offerings I sampled didn’t impress as much as the surroundings. The Ensalada de Corrucho, or Conch salad, was good, but the onion was overwhelming. The Carne Quisado, or slow braised beef, was rather dry.
Next, we got the Griddled Greek Cheese at the Greece booth, which was not as good as in previous years, Barbie even stating she thought the cheese had a hint of “goateness,” and, as she isn’t a goat cheese fan, that was not a compliment.
Our next stop was the France booth, which had been absolutely jammed on our previousvisit, and for good reason, the food here is terrific. The Escargot Tart, which was not as tasty as the old way it was served, in tiny little brioche, was still very good. The Boeuf Bourguignon and the Creme Brulee were excellent, among my favorite items at the Festival.
We stopped at the Patagonia booth, which used to be Argentina. Last year, our perennial favorite, the Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce was dry, but this year it was back to it’s former glory, and moved back to being a favorite.
The Roasted Verlasso Salmon was very good, but a bit dry.
While eating at a table in a nice shady spot, we were joined by another couple who had the Grilled Lamb Chop from the Australia booth. As it looked really good, I walked over and picked one up for myself. Yep, it was as good as it looked. Sorry, the photo below doesn’t do it justice.
By now, it was nearing 3:00, so we headed to the Craft Beer pavilion where we were meeting our friends, the Darlin’ Diva herself, and her husband Raymond. For the first time this year, this pavilion is housed in the Odyssey Center.
Darlin’ Diva and Raymond got there around 3:45, and we could’ve spent hours talking, but they had to leave to get ready for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
We walked with them to the front of the park, as we had FastPasses for Spaceship Earth.
photo courtesy of Darlin’ Diva
We then walked back to World Showcase, where we got the dessert trio from Desserts & Champagne.
Barbie’s favorite was the Passion Fruit Coconut Creamsicle, mine was the Chocolate Expresso Opera Cake. We both thought the Blueberry Lime Cheesecake Roll was bland.
Next, I decided to give the Seared Sea Scallop at Scotland a try. Last year, their Salmon dish was a let down, and perhaps I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, as it hasn’t returned this year. I’m really glad I got the scallop, as it was one of the best selections at the Festival. Moist and tender, and the Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon was amazing.
I was so impressed with this offering, I went and got another, and while I was there decided to try the Potato Pancake with Smoked Scottish Salmon, and it was almost as good! I paired this with Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer.
Scotland was a great finish to a very good Food and Wine Fest. I wish I’d had time to hit more booths, but, as in past years, time was an issue.