[Note: I was waiting for Hubby’s contribution before I posted this but I don’t think I’m going to get that at this point. So here it is!]
Event: Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2013
Day: Saturday, November 9, 2013
I had not been to the Food & Wine Festival in about 10 years and last year I started bringing it up to Hubby that I really want to go. This year some of our friends were interested as well, so we finally managed to get it on the schedule.
When I went to the Festival previously, I did not plan ahead and consequently did not get to try many of the foods and wines that I really wanted to (because I was too full or had run out of money – I was in college, so probably more of the latter). But this time I planned ahead! I went to the Festival site the day before and made a list of all the countries I wanted to visit and what I wanted to get there:
And here is the official guide:
Epcot Food & Wine Festival Guide
I highly recommend having this list written out and in your pocket before you get there. No one else in our party did this and they filled up way too early. If you’re in it to win it at this thing, you have to strategize. My main goal was to try foods I’ve never had or don’t get often.
We went counter-clockwise around the World Showcase, so I had to bypass lots of yummy-looking food on an almost-empty stomach to get to my first stop: Belgium. The sacrifice was worth it! I had a potato leek waffle with braised beef ($4). The beef was a little tougher than it should have been but the overall flavor was fantastic. I drank a glass of Chardonnay from France’s pavilion (Macon-Villages, $5.75) with my waffle because none of Belgium’s beverages appealed to me.
Next on my list was the New Zealand pavilion, where I picked up venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula, and black currant reduction and a glass of Kim Crawford pinot noir (did not save the receipt, prices unknown). I had never had venison sausage before and thought this was a prime opportunity to try it since it was a small (and inexpensive) portion. The sausage was fine. I don’t think I’m a venison fan. I could definitely see that meat being inedibly gamey if prepared wrong.
After that it was on to Morocco for a harissa chicken roll, which I imagined being like a lobster roll but was in fact more like an egg roll. When I read the whole description (roasted corn, cilantro, some other stuff I forgot) I almost chickened out but I’m glad I didn’t because it was REALLY good. Kind of a cross between an egg roll and a taquito. (I also didn’t save this receipt so not sure the price for that either.)
Then we got to the American pavilion which featured the Hops & Barley stand, a real nod to American food and drink, especially New England. I had a lobster roll ($7.50) and a Sam Adams Boston Lager ($5.50 for 12 ounces). The lobster roll was half a roll overflowing with lobster meat. Delicious and generously sized for the price. I thought the price for the beer was fair as well.
My next stop was South Korea for a kimchi dog with spicy mustard ($3.75) and a shot of Jinro Chamisul Soju ($6.50). The kimchi dog was hands down my favorite food of the day. Very spicy, just like I like it! Soju is kind of like sweet vodka. The shot was a pretty good size (maybe 2 ounces) and the stuff is strong, so three of us shared it.
I had four more stops on my list after South Korea but I was getting full and everyone else was ready to ride some rides (one girl in our party had not been to Epcot before), so I made a final stop at the Desserts & Champagne stand for a morello cherry pistachio mousse and a glass of Moet’s Nectar Imperial (virtually impossible to get by the glass anywhere). I don’t have the receipt but I think the champagne was about $14, which was reasonable given the difficulty of finding this champagne by the glass. The mousse was pretty good (the cherry overpowered the pistachio a little) but the champagne was heavenly. It was a great way to end my tour of the Festival.
As far as the logistics of the Festival, the lines moved pretty quickly. Our longest wait was at Hops & Barley but they must have had a problem because we waited for several minutes without moving, then moved very quickly. The worst stand logistics-wise was France. They had the lines and registers set up in such a way that people trying to order and people trying to pick up food were all over each other. All the other stands I visited (whether just for myself or waiting with others in our party) were really smooth.
I would love to go the Festival again next year and maybe do some of the special events (cooking demonstrations, etc.). The Festival is a great opportunity to try food from around the world and enjoy some Disney magic at the same time.