by Disney Magic Diva
It’s that time of year again. The kids have returned to school, daylight hours are beginning to wane, holiday decorations have appeared in stores. And at Walt Disney World Resort, the festivals are back!
The 2021 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival began July 15 and will run until November 20th. In addition to dozens of Global Marketplaces where you can find hundreds of tempting dishes to sample and beverages in which to indulge, the Festival offers foodies a chance to attend seminars on everything from food and beverage pairings to cheeses of the world to tasty tailgate treats. You can have brunch with a chef, learn how to make candy sushi, or rock out at an Eat to the Beat concert. It truly offers something for everyone!
As a family who loves food, we always enjoy visiting the Global Marketplaces to sample as many new (and sometimes returning favorites!) as we can. Here’s what we tried on the Opening weekend of the 2019 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival:
My New Englander husband loves a good crab cake, so we stared at Earth Eats with the Lump Crab Cake with Napa cabbage slaw and avocado-lemongrass cream. It was fabulous! There were solid pieces of crab, and it wasn’t at all mushy. The slaw was the perfect accompaniment; it was tangy but not overwhelming. Excellent choice!
Next, we had to stop at The Chocolate Studio because – well – chocolate. We chose the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with whipped cream. We had tried this last year, and loved it, so wanted to have another taste this time. And yep, it’s still delicious! The filling resembled a mousse-like texture and had a nice raspberry flavor. The crust was a little dry, which was disappointing, but still – chocolate. We’ve also tried the Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle in the past. It’s a very popular choice – we saw dozens of them being ordered. If you haven’t ever tried it, I’d recommend it. Such a fun presentation!
And finally, I had to try the Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea and Chocolate Shake. It was terrific! I like pumpkin, chai, and chocolate, but wasn’t sure how the combo would be. Since no one flavor dominated, it was delightful! I could get a hint of each flavor, but none was so strong as to overpower the others.
At The Wine & Dine Studio I finally got to try the Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese. I’ve wanted to sample this for a couple of years, and it just never worked out. But it’s such a fun presentation and seems like the ideal representation of a “Food & Wine Festival” so I was excited to finally have a chance to enjoy it. The Palette pairs three wines with three cheeses: Reata Chardonnay with Gorgonzola with cow’s and sheep’s milk; Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rose with Artigiano aged balsamic and cipolline onion, and Spellbound Petite Sirah with Italico.
The chardonnay was crisp, fruity, and dry – just as you would expect. The fullness of the gorgonzola was an ideal pairing. The Pinot Noir Rose was elegant, refreshing, and dry. The Artigiano was delicious with its balsamic and onion flavors. Served with the bread and berries it was so yummy! And finally, the Petite Sirah was my favorite (but I prefer reds over whites). It was rich, medium-bodied, and balanced. And the Italico was a wonderful pairing – earthy, tender, almost soft texture was supple and delicious.
We couldn’t pass the Hawaii marketplace without trying a Kalua Pork Slider with sweet and sour pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise. The pork was tender, the pineapple comes through nicely, and the sauce was tangy. A stellar combination.
Canada is always one of our favorite stops. How can you go wrong with Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup and Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon? The answer: you can’t! Even on a hot and humid Florida afternoon, we gobbled these up! Both were exactly as we remember them from previous visits to the Festival and as well prepared as if they were served in Le Cellier. Warm, cheesy soup and tender, perfectly seasoned beef is delicious even in the blazing Florida sun.
A new stop this year is Appleseed Orchard, located in the theater typically used for the O’ Canada! film.
Tip: This is a wonderful place to visit to escape the heat! It’s huge, and air conditioned! Plenty of space to stand at a table or sit on the floor along the walls of the perimeter.
We tried the Frozen Apple Pie. It was pretty much an apple cider slushie with a crunchy crumb topping. The slushy part was excellent – a great mix of sweet and tart. But we could have done without the crumb topping. It just didn’t add anything for us.
My son tried the Cider Flight: Ciderboys Lemon Cello had a weaker apple taste with a little lemon flavor, but rather bland. The Collective Arts Brewing Cherry Apple does have definite cherry taste to it. It won’t be for everyone though, because it’s a little tart. The Woodchuck Hard Cider Spiced Apple was great! Had a traditional, fall apple cider taste you’d find on an apple farm. He loved it!
My husband and son had to try the Roasted Irish Sausage with colcannon potatoes and onion gravy at the Ireland Marketplace. It was a bit too heavy for me, but they loved it and said it’s exactly what they expected from an Irish sausage. It was seasoned, but not too spicy, and the potatoes and gravy were the ideal accompaniment.
While the guys devoured their Irish sausage, I enjoyed Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream liqueur custard. (chocolate, remember!?) Oh my! This was unbelievable. Very rich and dense, it had a warm molten center. The cream was lighter than I expected and didn’t have any alcohol taste. I adored it and will definitely be having it again!
Our next stop was Belgium, where the guys once again went for the meat and potatoes, and I chose chocolate. (Do you see a pattern here?!) They were very pleased with Beer-braised Beef with smoked Gouda mashed potatoes. I, however, was sadly disappointed with the Belgian waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream. The waffle was undercooked and mushy, and the whipped cream immediately melted making for a gigantic sloppy mess. The ganache was just a syrup, none of the typical creamy, chocolatey flavor I was hoping for with ganache.
In Germany the Roast Bratwurst was well grilled and tasty, and the pretzel roll was wonderful. The Apple Strudel with vanilla sauce looked nice and flaky, but it was a little tough. The apples were tart, but just slightly.
We next stopped at India and chose the Warm Indian Bread with pickled garlic, mango salsa, and coriander pesto dips. This was pretty much what you’d expect. The pickled garlic dip had a strong pickled flavor; the mango salsa was mostly sweet, but with a nice spice touch; and the pesto was exactly as anticipated.
Our last stop on our tasting tour was a new destination – The Alps. We tried it all! The Venison Stew with crushed potatoes was superb! Tender meat, well-cooked vegetables, and seasoned well. The Blueberry and Almond Frangipane Tart, though, was disappointing. The filling was rather tasteless, and the crust was so hard it was impossible to cut.
We also tried all the menu offerings on Emile’s Fromage Montage. Watch for an upcoming article devoted to those dishes!
So, what sounds good to you? Let me know in the comments what your favorites are, and what you’re most looking forward to tasting! And if you’d like some expert guidance in booking your vacation, be sure to contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel for a FREE quote!
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