This year I had the opportunity to experience Disney World’s EPCOT’S annual ‘Food & Wine Festival’ held between September 25-November 16, 2015! Food and Wine at EPCOT is all about ‘Tasting Your Way Around The World. “Embark on a culinary adventure celebrating 20 years of culture and cuisine with the finest wine and beverage offerings at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, presented by CHASE®.” …Which is exactly what I did do! I embarked on a culinary adventure and Epcot Food & Wine has been amazing.
Countries featured have their own pavilions with about 3 different food options and wine options that showcase the country. Countries featured include: Africa, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Patagonia, Poland, Scotland, South Korea and some speciality gourmet food stands such as Chew Lab, Farm Fresh, Wine and Cheese stations etc.
The dishes are not very big (the plates are about the size of a regular plastic fork). Below are some of the tastings I was able to try and my thoughts.
CHINA: Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles // $5.50US
The traditional Chinese flavours were an absolute stand-out in this dish and I was genuinely surprised. The sauce was spot on but the let down was the shrimp because it was definitely over cooked.
HAWAII: Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips // $4.75
This wasn’t what I was expecting but it was very tasty and fresh. It was SUPER small and the soy at the very bottom of the cup was very salty. The seaweed was NOT like the Japanese style of seaweed salad in terms of the flavours. It was seaweed and salty soy mixed together. Interesting combination.
BRAZIL: Crispy pork belly with black beans and tomato // $5.50US
This was very tasty; I loved the fresh cut to the pork belly made by the acidity of tomato and onion. I was pleased that there wasn’t actually that much fat on the pork belly (more value for money haha) however the pork was tough. I let it pass because the combination of flavours was great. It was VERY VERY small though.
CHEW LAB: Liquid Nitro Chocolate Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel // $4.00
They make this on the spot which means a slightly longer waiting time but it’s cool seeing the nitro in action. The chocolate taste was very subtle however joined with the whiskey caramel and small almond crushed bits made it a great combination. This is definitely one of the bigger desserts and more value for money since it’s $4.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Barbecue Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi // $5.00
The flavours was delicious and really tasty. The short ribs were cooked well HOWEVER I felt like this dish definitely fit more with China. This is NOT the typical South Korean Kim Chi so I was disappointed and felt that this dish was quite deceiving. I really enjoyed the dish but it wasn’t a good representation of Korean food.
SUSTAINABLE CHEW: Vanilla panna cotta with fresh figs and pistachio brittle // $4.25US
The only fail I’ve had during my food and wine is THIS dish!! I was so disappointed by it. My friend and I tried to split this but we both had a small bite and did not like the texture of it at all. I don’t know if it was just that day but it tasted sour and slightly like off milk. It looks beautiful but it was also tiny. I’d use that $4.25 for another Nitro Chocolate dessert from the Chew Lab.
Now onto other tastings I tried… I’m sorry for no photos!
MOROCCO – Baklava // $3.00
I recommend trying this if you haven’t tried baklava! It was a large portion especially for the price and it took me a good few minutes to actually finish eating it. It was filled with layers of pastry, overall quite sweet (probably sweeter than it should be) and there was hints of spice/nutty flavours (but again probably also not as strong as a true Moroccan baklava should be). However I really enjoyed it as a dessert and I was satisfied.
SCOTLAND – Haggis with neeps and tatties: Traditional Haggis with rutabaga and mashed potatoes // $4.75
I just had to try something really abnormal and foreign so I thought I’d go with a ‘traditional haggis’. It tasted like the burnt bits off a meat pie mixed with kidney haha but the rutabaga and mashed potatoes were the bomb! I really enjoyed the sweet flavours and I think I’ll attempt trying to make this at home.
BELGIUM – Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef and smoked gouda cream // $4.25
This will sound weird but I found this to a be a real cosy warm type of dish to have. Ironic since I’m in Florida (where it’s been super hot) but it was a very saucy dish. The beef was tough (probably about 4 small pieces) which was a shame but the sauce was good and the waffle was drowning it so I couldn’t really taste that sweetness of the waffle.
CANADA – Chicken sausage with creamy polenta and Minus 8 onion jam // $4.50
It’s difficult to nominate but I think this was my favourite. Trying this came to me as an absolute surprise because I didn’t think it would be anything special but that polenta was the best polenta I’ve ever tried. It tasted very much like a sweet corn infusion and though the chicken sausage was good (definitely spicy) the polenta was the wow factor of this dish.
So there you go! If you’re reading this now and you’re in Walt Disney World you still have about 4 more days till the Food and Wine Festival Ends! Hope this blog post assists you in making those final decisions about what to try/what not to try.
Have a great day everyone!