In October, we made our annual pilgrimage to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival.
The quality of the food and wine was much improved from last year. The new countries offered great and interesting new dishes. We felt that every dish we tried had a lot more flavor and the wine selections were good. The Festival is branching out to include more beer – hoping to draw a wider audience.
The standouts for us were:
• South Korea: Both the Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw and the Barbecue Short Ribs with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi were excellent.
• Belgium: Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream. The mussels were cooked perfectly.
• Canada: Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta. The sausage was well seasoned and spicy. The polenta was creamy and the perfect complement to the heat of the sausage.
• New Zealand: Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil and Lamb Slider with Tomato Chutney. The scallop was huge and perfectly cooked. The accompanying vegetable slaw was well-seasoned. They used dill which I never would have thought to do myself. The lamb slider is always satisfying.
• Morocco: Tangerine Mimosa Royale and Sangria. Both drinks hit the mark. Every year I look forward to the sparkling wines and this mimosa was terrific.
• France: Our old favorite year after year: Escargots Persillade en Brioche. Perfectly cooked garlicky snails encased in a little brioche. SO GOOD!
• China: Carmel Ginger Ice Cream. Another old favorite. The perfect afternoon snack on a hot Florida day.
The Festival itself was a little disappointing. In years past, they had stations set up to taste multiple wines or beers. You received a passport. You would get so many stamps and then go and taste. It was great because you could linger in between tastes, and learn more about the wines and beer. This year, you had to buy flights. This was much less enjoyable because it was hard to carry three small cups and you had to drink them very quickly otherwise they got warm. Also in years past, a sponsor would set up a demonstration in the main World area. There have been Sam Adams tastings, gumbo classes, etc. That was discontinued this year as well. Hopefully next year, they will bring many of those things back.
We stayed at the All-Star Movies. It was great. We also finally found the Club Cool where you can taste Coca-Cola products from all over the world. That was really fun – if not a little to sticky. We rode Soarin’ – one of the favorite rides in the park. We also spent some time in the Magic Kingdom. We got to see both the afternoon street party and the revived Electric Light Parade. I like the street party. The music is good and people seemed to be really into it. The Electric Light Parade is awesome. It’s all the old floats. We really enjoyed it.
Even with the changes to the Festival - we really really enjoyed ourselves and can't wait to go back next year!