20th Anniversary of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival from a Food Bloggers Perspective
It’s been a few years since I have attended the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival so I was anxious to get back there and try all of the different foods from around the world again. I heard through the grapevine that EPCOT has a new head chef and he made some changes to the menu this year. Before we attended the event, we went on-line and reviewed all of the countries and what our must try’s would be, and looked at all of the pictures of the items offered. There were a few surprise items that I think the chef had a hand in bringing to the festival that would not have been offered in years past. Disney has to cater to the majority, and most people are not that “food adventurous” as I am. While I did not get a chance to try a few of the new adventurous items, it was nice to at least see them take a chance on a few different dishes. Below are the countries and food items we did get to try at this year’s event:
First up we have Roasted Pork with Mangu (mashed plantains), pickled red onion and avocado, second is a yucca soufflé topped with griddled cheese! Both were very good, the pork was moist and tender, the mangu was kind of like refried beans texture, not sweet at all, which is not what I expected from the plantains. The soufflé had a familiar flavor that I could not place and the griddled cheese was milky tasting and slightly salty. Both were quite good!
Next up for our snacking pleasure is a Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney! The bun was firm but tasty. The pork was tender and had good flavor. The chutney was slightly sweet but had quite the zing to it. It was quite delicious!
Farm Fresh Booth
This next one was controversial to me. It came from the farm fresh booth and was a Bacon Mac and Cheese. What exactly is farm fresh about this? Besides the bacon, it was something in my opinion that does not represent a “farm fresh” dish. It was not very creamy, but did have an intense smoky flavor. The peppers were subtle but good, and I could have done without the spring onions on top. Definitely not a favorite thus far.
Making the rounds at World Showcase we next stopped at the South Korea booth for their Bulgogi BBQ Short Ribs with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi. The short ribs had good flavor but we’re very tough. The steamed rice picked up the flavor of the sauce and the cucumber kimchi was really good!
Hops and Barley American Adventure Booth
Next on our list was a Florida grass-fed beef slider with a pimento cheese sauce on top from the Hops & Barley American Adventure booth. The patty was quite large and had great flavor. The bun was soft and tasty, kind of like a dinner roll. The pimento cheese had a slight pimento flavor with a hint of spice to it. It was very good!
Making the rounds we ended up at the Belgium booth for their Potato and Leek waffle with beer braised beef and smoked gouda cream! My wife had the Waffle with the berry compote and whipped cream. The Potato and Leek Waffle was an exceptional dish. The beef was tender and flavorful, and the waffle added an interesting texture to the dish. I only tried a taste of the compote and it was good, not overly sweet which was nice.
Brazil was next and the one I was looking forward to the most since they were serving Crispy Pork Belly with black beans and tomatoes! It was exceptional! It had that deep rich pork flavor, it was fatty without being greasy, and it had just the right amount of saltiness to it. One of my favorite dishes of the day!
We have visited this booth at previous Food and Wine festivals and they had one of the best dishes I’ve ever had at the festival. It was Escargot in brioche with garlic butter. It was buttery, garlicky and had a fabulous bread flavor that was unbelievable! This year they changed it up a bit and the bread is a croissant stuffed with the Escargot, garlic and parsley puree. While it was good, it did not have that richness that I remembered from the previous dish. Although it was a little disappointing, it still rated highly out of all the dishes I tried today.
Last but not least was the Canada booth. My wife wanted to stop here for the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet with truffle butter sauce. I only had a few bites since filet is not one of my favorite cuts of beef, but it was an excellent dish! The beef filet was cooked a perfect medium and had a slight salty flavor and was a little heavier on the pepper which gave it a little bite to it. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and had great flavor from the truffle butter. Definitely would get this one again!
We tried a total of 10 different booths and a total of 12 dishes. Below is my list of the Top ATE Dishes that were my favorite from this years festival!
- Roasted Pork and Mangu with Pickled Red Onion and Avocado
- Yucca Soufflé with Griddled Cheese
- Potato and Leek Waffle with Beer Braised Beef and Smoked Gouda Cream
- Pork Slider with Dole Pineapple Chutney
- Grass-Fed Beef Slider with Pimento Cheese
- Escargot in a Croissant with Parsley and Garlic
- Beef Filet with Mushrooms in a Truffle Butter Sauce
And the #1 dish is . . .
- Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans and Tomatoes!!!
How much did all of this fun cost us you ask? We were really surprised when we got home and totaled up all of our receipts. For everything that you saw in this post, with two people sharing each dish, our total was only $64.25! Not too bad for all that we had. Our total for the day, with a tank of gas and parking at EPCOT was just a little over $100! All in all, we had an excellent day making our way around the world at EPCOT’s world showcase for the Food and Wine festival this year! We plan to head back later this year to see the Osborne Lights as this is the last year for it. We will stop over at the Food and Wine Festival to give a few of our favorite dishes a try again, and a few that we missed at well.