I just returned from my first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort and as luck would have it, I as there during the popular Epcot Food & Wine Festival. Celebrating its 24th year, the festival runs from August 29 through November 25, 2019 and features more than 30 global marketplaces that each have their own unique food and drink items reflecting their destination. In addition there are special seminars, tasting events and concerts throughout the festival, but of course I was more interested in the food.
To be clear, there is a lot to eat and the Food & Wine Festival, so I did a little research beforehand and identified some bites I knew that I wanted to try. Some were good, others were mistakes but it was a fun experience and a great way for me to explore Epcot’s World Showcase. Admission to the festival is included with park admission, but of course the food and drink items are extra, costing anywhere from $4-$9 depending on the item.
The setup is the same to what I experienced in Disneyland during their special Christmas food festival in Disney’s California Adventure with small huts set up that quickly serve up the dishes on offer. Each station has between 3-4 food items and a few drink choices, along with suggested pairings.
I’m partnering this year with Marriott International to share some of my favorite spots to visit around the U.S., including my first visit to Walt Disney World.
Rather than try to “do it all” in Epcot, I first went around the park to enjoy the attractions that interested me most, before setting my sites on the Food & Wine Festival. Even though the bites are smallish, appetizer-sized really, within a few dishes I was nearly full. This is a really fun event that honestly requires a few visits in order to experience some of the best things on offer. Even though I did research beforehand, I missed some snacks that I would have loved, so be prepared and read through the menus at each stop. Also, remember to pace yourself. There’s a lot to enjoy, so grab a friend and share in order to get the most from your experience.
Overall, I liked the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, but if you’re really serious about it you have to devote time to it. This is where I’m jealous of locals who can stop by whenever they have a chance, but even those visiting can enjoy the experience. Disney seems to be devoting more and more resources to these special events, clearly a great way to get people into the parks and spend a little more money than they would otherwise have planned. If you go into it with a good attitude though, and don’t enjoy too much of that wine, it’s a great add-on to an already fun experience.
Here are a few of the dishes I enjoyed plus a few more I wish I had tried:
Hawaii – Kāalua Pork Slider with Sweet-and-Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and spicy Mayonnaise
India – Korma Chicken with Cucumber Tomato Salad, Almonds, Cashews, and Warm Naan Bread
Germany – Schinkennudeln: Pasta Gratin with Ham, Onions, and Cheese
Brazil – Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread
France – Fondue Savoyarde: Fondue of Imported Cheeses and Chardonnay served with Croutons
Ireland – Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard
Food items I wish I had time to enjoy:
Australia – Deconstructed Pavlova with Pastry Cream, Citrus-macerated Berries, and Lemon Myrtle Meringue
Islands of the Caribbean – Quesito: Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce
Mexico – Tostada de Carne: Braised Beef on a Corn Tostada with Mole Oaxaqueño and Chicharrón Dust
The Alps – Warm Raclette Swiss Cheese with Baby Potatoes, Cornichons, and Baguette
Africa – Kenyan Coffee Barbecue Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Corn Mealie Pap and Kachumbari Slaw
Hops & Barley – New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast-style” with Horseradish Cream and Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side AND the Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing
Canada – Canadian Cheddar and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll
Refreshment Port – Duck Confit Poutine with Fig Demi Sauce and Brie Cheese Fondue
The Cheese Studio – Maple Bourbon Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel, and Pecan Crunch
What do you want to try the most?