Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Epcot Food & Wine Fest

Finally. We've arrived.
At EPCOT. [Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow]

We all have our favorites. Mine has been Epcot for as long as I can remember. And no, it's not because of the giant silver sphere housing spaceship earth, but that certainly isn't hurting its cause!
I've been to Disney 3 times prior to this trip, age 3 (I think), age 10 (I'm guesstimating) and age 16. Is it strange that as a 10 year old I was more enamored with the video of "Oh Canada" and eating California Rolls in Japan than any rides at Magic Kingdom? Don't get me wrong I loved me some Mickey & Minnie. I had my little autograph book for sure! But Epcot had its claws in me.
The 15th Annual International Food & Wine Fest was currently underway in the World Showcase section of the park.
No big deal.
I've only died and gone to theme park-foodie-wino heaven. The World Showcase promenade of Epcot traditionally houses 11 countries - Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, USA, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. During food and wine fest that number is doubled to house marketplaces for countries from the likes of South America including Chile, Argentina and Brazil, to a broader array of of European cuisine with Poland, Ireland, Belgium and Greece in the mix. The Eastern Hemisphere is more widely represented as well with South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand rounding out the bunch.
We started off at the 15 Beers for 15 Years booth. After our unconventionally sober day at The Magic Kingdom, my palate craved an ice cold beer. Of the 15 choices, I opted for two 6oz brews ($2.75 each)On the left we have an Abita Purple Haze. A crisp American style wheat beer with raspberry puree added after filtration. Therefore, you may see raspberry pulp in the beer. The raspberries provide the lager with a subtle purple coloration and haze, a fruit aroma and a tartly sweet taste.
And on the right a Windmer Hefeweizen. Hefeweizen translated literally means "yeast wheat." This beer is left in its natural, unfiltered state in order to bring out the unique citrusy hop and floral aromas. Additionally notes of biscuit and bread can be detected in this crisp refreshing ale.

Our travels lead us first to Mexico!
Each country clearly displayed a menu in front of their booth with two to three choices of food items and beer, wine or signature drink for purchase. The lines were usually pretty small and moved at rapid speed. They have the system down to a science. You wait in a clearly marked roped off line, pay at one of two cash registers and bring your receipt over to the booth where you are handed your order. Tricia and I both decided on Taco de Chilorio ($3.75) corn tortilla filled with marinated pork sinaloa-style topped with fresh avocado sauce and red onion. Washed down by an ice cold Dos Equis ($4.50)
Adam opted for the Esquites ($3.75) fresh corn topped with mayonnaise, queso fresco, fresh lime and chili powder. He let me have a taste. I was impressed with the quality of the food at Mexico and the stimulating presentation of these small plates. For the rest of my time at the Epcot Food and Wine fest, I would continue to be impressed. Everything I ate today tasted fresh, well seasoned, and was executed in a timely fashion. Not to mention I was getting quite a buzz on. In Argentina I ate a Grilled Beef Skewer ($4.75) with chimichurri sauce and boniato puree.
The boniato puree looked just like mashed potato, but was unexpectedly sweet. I Googled it and learned that a boniato is a white sweet potato. Fun! On the menu in Chile was a Shrimp Chevice ($4.75).
With peppers, onions and tomatoes topped with some sweet crispy corn nuts. I opted for my first glass of wine a Sauvignon Blanc ($2.50) In New Zealand Adam enjoyed a Seared Sea Scallop ($3.75) with vegetable slaw and lemon vinaigrette. Wondrous. While some of us made our way through the countries of the Southern Hemisphere, the rest of the group ventured North to Ireland for Guinness!
We met back up in France for some Parisian Cosmo Slush ($8.50) Grey Goose Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice and Sparkling Pomegranite Kir ($6.50).
France knows what's up!
Alongside our pink drinks we ate Parmenter de Boeuf braise au Cabernet ($4.75) Braised short ribs in Cabernet with mashed potatoes.
As we made our way to Morocco I was in full on drink mode.
Enamored with Morocco in its entirety, Adam and I wandered the streets....
sharing a Tangerine Mimosa Royale ($6.00)
and Sangria ($4.00)
In Japan I sipped Hatsumago Junmai ($6.50) sake.
While Adam enjoyed a Kirin draft beer ($7.00)
Singapore is brand new this year!
The Singapore Sling ($7.00) gin, benedictine, cherry juice, pineapple juice tasted like a shot!Eventually we needed to make our way over to Future World East & West to hit up some rides we had grabbed Fast Passes for earlier in the day. I'll dedicate an Epcot ride specific post at some point. Since we came back to the World Showcase at night, many hours later, I'll keep right on going.....

I started off the night with Asopao de Pollo ($2.50) chicken soup with rice in Puerto Rico. The temperature had dropped significantly at this point so hot soup was just what I craved.
I was excited to try food from Poland because I'm a quarter Polish.The Kielbasa Potato Pierogie ($5.00) with carmalized onions and sour cream did not disappoint.
And even though it counteracted the Puerterican soup as far as increasing my body temperature I couldn't pass up a Belvedere Strawberry Balsamic Chiller ($8.75)
The balsamic flavors were poignant. I enjoyed this uniquely sweet and savory iced concoction a lot but any more than the taste I had would have been too much. In China we explored but passed on the grub.
This country offers a pretty gorgeous interior.
In South Korea I ate a Lettuce Wrap ($2.75) with roast pork and kimichi slaw.
It didn't look incredibly appetizing, but it tasted great!
Up next was South Africa
for some Seared Beef Tenderloin ($4.75) with sweet potato puree.
I think that was a cherry apple chutney on top.
Red wine once we reached Italy was a must.
Offered was a Placido Chianti ($4.50)
And my for my final "meal" in Epcot, I ate Baked Cheese Ravioli ($4.50) creamy bolognese sauce and melted mozzarella. Adam and Mike enjoyed a finale of Smoked Turkey Leg from the good old US of ANot bad for a days worth of eating and drinking. Not bad at all. I missed a few countries along the way like Greece (bummer), Canada (Maura said the cheese plate was excellent), Belgium (Dave reported good things about the mussels) and Germany. The quality of foods I ate and drinks I drank today far and away surpassed my expectations. In all fairness, I came into this event with those expectations set rather low. I was excited don't get me wrong, but skeptical for sure. Early on in my around the world travels that skepticism turned to bliss. I was completely impressed with everything about this spectacular event. I thought the prices were mostly fair, the concept behind the dishes well thought out and reflective of the country at hand, not to mention the clean and aesthetically pleasing presentations. The service was consistent, the lines not too long, and the plates well executed. What more could you ask for? A great group of friends and warm sunny weather would be nice...oh wait....
We stuck around for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth - A breathtaking display of fireworks, colors and lights set to a musical scene over the water after dark.

Have you been to Disney World? What is your favorite park?


  1. The last time I was in Disney we did a drink at each country...let's just say it was a little messy towards the end of the night and we found ourselves in a pub in "England" soaking up the alcohol. The Epcot Food and Wine Fest looks AWESOME!

  2. So much good stuff. I don't think I would ever leave Italy ;)

  3. That's so awesome! I love Epcot too, when we went there when I was little I felt like I was in a foreign country! So, so cool, the food/wine fest looks amazing! Happy holiday to one of my favorite friends! XX!

  4. This looks like a total dream!! LUCKY!! I've never been to Disney in FL...I guess I should get your number. Maybe you could have picked up Rivo for me seeing as FL is the only store that he's living in right now. Argh

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!


  5. i think epcot is my fave disney park too... i just love going to all the countries- so fun! looks like you had a blast! happy belated thanksgiving!!

  6. Looks like so much fun. It might rival sunday funday-- maybe a field trip is in order for next year?
    I think those crunchy nuts on your ceviche are corn nuts.

  7. Ooooh, all that yummy food. I think I'm going to move into US and follow you around to all these fun events :D

  8. haha i love Anne's comment! great post! adam and his turkey leg are priceless!

    we really did eat and drink our faces off this day :)

  9. Seriously, all of your adventures seem so awesome!!!! Hooray Epcot!

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