Terra, Everyone’s Favorite Vegan Marketplace

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The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is many things. A drinker’s paradise, an adventurous eater’s heaven, and a vegan’s worst nightmare. I know, it’s blasphemy to not be completely head-over-heels in love with the yearly foodfest that draws so many visitors to The World Showcase Promenade, so hate me if you must. I have to admit that up until this year, the Food & Wine Festival was probably my least favorite time of the year at Walt Disney World. Why, you ask? It boiled down to pure jealousy. Hearing everyone rave about all of the options they were exploring from different countries, spooning edible culture into their mouths as I sat chomping on a plain pretzel just seemed unfair. That is, of course, until this year.

Now, I can’t claim to have singlehandedly strong-armed Epcot into having vegan options at the International Food & Wine Festival. However, I also can’t deny sending numerous e-mails, and making a few (ok, a lot of) “suggestions” regarding the lack of vegan options available around the ‘Showcase. And as Disney magic would have it, the fine folks at F&W dreamed up Terra, a brand new marketplace for 2012 in which all of the food options, yes, I said all of the food options, are vegan!

The marketplace itself is presented by Gardein, a brand of mock meats with which I am quite well acquainted. Gardein is a favorite among vegans for meat alternatives, and offers meatless meatballs, chick’n strips, and barbecue riblets just to name a few. The Terra menu features two items: Trick’n Chick’n Curry and Chili Colorado, each priced at $3.75. Each item is paired with a wine option, but please be forewarned: neither of the wines offered, the Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc nor the Paul Dolan Pinot Noir is vegan. The Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch and Silk brand Berry Smoothie, however, are totally vegan so you can get your G-rated drink on!

The Trick’n Chick’n Curry is a vegan version of a chicken cutlet, covered in a mild-with-a-kick red curry sauce served over basmati rice. The texture is hearty, and the taste of the curry sauce complimented the grilled cutlet, which has a mild taste reminiscent of actual chicken. The rice is a nice option to go along with this dish to be used as a sauce vessel. This option left me wishing for this as a mainstay at any Walt Disney World restaurant, I highly recommend trying this!

The winner from this booth, though, is The Chili Colorado! The only downside is that it is served with house-made chips, instead of the aforementioned basmati rice. I found the chips to be greasy, too salty, and an underwhelming pairing for such a good main dish. The chili itself is topped with a delightful, but very sparse helping of cashew cheese, and has the mouth feel of beef with an excellent taste. I managed to isolate a small helping of the cashew cheese and try it on its own, it was so, so delicious and rivals nut-based cheeses that I’ve tried in some really amazing raw food restaurants. If you only have room for one vegan dish, go with this one. Despite the chips, it is unique and a great example of vegan food done right. 

If you’re looking for a drink to go along with these fine options, opt for the Honest Kids Juice over the Silk Berry Smoothie. Unfortunately, the “smoothie” part of the name is slightly misleading, as the drink’s consistency is more milk-like, less smoothie-like. It does kind of taste like liquid berry yogurt, so if that’s your thing, by all means go for it! You can also go for it on the cheap at home, as you can find this in your grocery aisle near the soy milk.

Finally, of course, we can’t forget about dessert! I was thrilled to learn this booth would feature a vegan dessert option other than Tofutti or Rice Dream Ice Cream. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the vegan ice cream options served throughout the parks, and have a very close relationship with both of them, but I was excited to see something unique for the event. The dessert option is a Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit Sorbet and Coconut Foam. The coconut foam taste overwhelms the dessert with an overly sweet coconut flavor. The chocolate cake, on the other hand, had a very mild taste. The winner on the plate was the passion fruit sorbet which had a light but tangy taste, and was refreshing on a really hot day. I would prefer the dessert sans coconut foam, but overall it was a nice dessert option.

There we have it! Terra in a lot more than a (cashew) nutshell. I am still in shock that Walt Disney World has embraced vegan dining in this way, and decided to offer this options to Guests this year. Hopefully, this means that the message is getting out and there will someday be vegan options as far as the eye can see at WDW dining locations. Finally, a (portion of the) festival for the rest of us!

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Posted on October 4, 2012

31 Responses to “Terra, Everyone’s Favorite Vegan Marketplace”

  • Not to be a completely insensitive tool (ok, I am), but in honest curiosity, how can a wine be non vegan? I’m sure there’s an answer, but I can’t see the angle.

    Otherwise, good post, and I will definitely be hitting the chili in a couple weeks. Thanks!

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 4, 2012, at 9:11 pm EDT

      Yes, what AJ said below! I do know there are vegan wines out there, though!

      Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear what you think about the chili!

  • I googled it :). It turns out that some animal products are used in the “fining” or finishing of the wine specifically in filtration. Very interesting! I had no idea. I sometimes feel I could very easily be vegetarian, but not vegan.

    My question, and I will Google it ;), is about different types of additives to the meat-less products. My experience has been that they are artificially colored. We avoid artificial colors in my house. It makes my husband sick and my children not feel well. Especially behaviorally. Are the ingredients for the products well available? My DH has never gotten sick at WDW. So I’m sure he won’t this time, either!

    Thanks for the great review!
    AJ

  • by Andrew Drummond on October 4, 2012, at 9:28 am EDT

    Ok. You’ve sold me. We don’t get to the world until Nov. 11 (sigh) but I will make sure to try the chili.

    It’s also conveniently located right by the entrance to World Showcase!

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 4, 2012, at 9:17 pm EDT

      Score! You’re right, it’s probably the first booth most people will visit, as many of us tend to tour World Showcase in a clockwise pattern. I can’t wait to hear what you think, and don’t worry, November 11th will come soon enough!

  • Thanks so much for writing about some of the vegan options at the resort! I was at Epcot last weekend (happy 30th, Epcot!) and did enjoy both the Trick’n Chick’n Curry and the Chili Colorado. I am not a practicing vegan myself, and I guess my complaint could apply to every booth at the festival, but I was just a little disappointed that the vegan booth was all about eating “fake meat.” I guess sponsorship also played a part here, but there are plenty of mass-appealing dishes that could be presented that aren’t just imitations of other otherwise non-vegan dishes. Oh, and how cool would it have been to also have something from BabyCakes NYC (already in downtown disney). Well, I guess we can keep sending our appreciation and suggestions to the WDW folks.

    • by Laurel Stewart on October 4, 2012, at 11:19 am EDT

      I completely agree with Jeffrey both on the “why serve fake meat?” and “bring on the Babycakes!” points. So many cuisines and dishes are naturally vegan that I’d love to see most of the kiosks serving vegan options – Thai, Indian, Mexican, maybe not the country of “Cheese.” Then again, I commend Epcot for reaching out to Gardein to sponsor a kiosk. The Chili Colorado was tasty and I’ll probably seek out the “beefless tips” product at the supermarket (I already Googled it and found that it’s easy to buy at even mainstream stores).

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 4, 2012, at 9:31 pm EDT

      Thanks for reading, Jeffrey (and thanks for the BabyCakes NYC plug!)! I agree it would be amazing if more booths featured “accidentally” vegan items.

      Perhaps the addition of Gardein is a way to introduce vegan food to those who are otherwise unfamiliar with animal-free dining. When I talk about veganism to someone who is an omnivore, the response given usually laments how difficult it would be to give up meat. Maybe this is a way of saying, “Hey, look, it’s not that hard! We have things that taste just like chicken over here, too!”

      You’re definitely right about sending feedback to WDW, they are definitely listening!

      Thanks again for reading!

  • so glad they offered this booth this year; hopefully it will stick around for awhile. Still a little ticked off at the woeful lack of vegetarian dishes at the F&W fest. Thanks for writing this post!

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 4, 2012, at 9:33 pm EDT

      Stay strong, Peter, and thanks for reading! Hopefully, this is just the beginning and there are more veg-friendly options to come.

  • by Jerry Applegate on October 4, 2012, at 11:17 am EDT

    I’m a total carnivore and I loved the chili. I will try the chicken next go around. Great review!

  • Yes I agree fake meat wasn’t needed though thankfully gardein soy is at least non gmo. Does the chili have beans? If not, why didn’t they just do a vegan bean chili with the cashew cheese?

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 4, 2012, at 9:38 pm EDT

      Hi Mike, thanks for the comment! The chili is bean-less, and you definitely bring up a good point. I think since the kiosk is presented by Gardein, they are looking to get their product out there, and that’s why we have the mock meat chili instead of a bean chili. If you have a chance to try it, I’d love to hear what you think!

  • I tried the trickin’ chicken curry on Monday! The “chicken” had the right texture. It was good and the spices made the dish. I will try the dessert the next time I am there!

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 4, 2012, at 10:44 pm EDT

      I’m glad you liked the Trickin’ Chick’n Curry, can’t wait to hear what you think about the dessert!

  • by THATJamesMoore on October 5, 2012, at 7:40 am EDT

    The cake is quite wonderful and the chick’n is very good my only problem is the cashew isn’t a nut

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 5, 2012, at 10:47 am EDT

      James! Wikipedia tells me that the culinary world considers it a nut, while the botany world considers it a seed. I have just learned more than I ever knew about cashews! Thanks, buddy!

      • I loved the chick’n, didn’t so much care for the chili but have now had the cake with EXTRA coconut foam 3 times!!!! That dish is in my dreams…. I have loved it every single time I have had it. Great booth and I hope that they make some of these a staple!

  • Great job, Emily! You make it all sound so delicious!

  • My family is heading to the World and we will be there for the last day of F&W. Cannot wait to eat at and support the vegan booth! Thanks for the great review. Before our trip earlier this year I made a full spreadsheet of vegan options at all the parks and hotels, great to have one more thing to try.

    Thanks again!

    • by Emily Woesthoff on October 5, 2012, at 10:49 am EDT

      Thank you for the comment! I am glad that you will make it just in time to try this new booth. I’d love to hear about your dining experiences after your trip. Enjoy and bon (Bonnie) appetite!

  • by THATJamesMoore on October 5, 2012, at 10:53 am EDT

    I’m the cult of useless knowledge but the food is very yummy

  • Hi, Emily! Great blog! I haven’t been able to swing much WDW since that time I randomly ran into you in Frontierland, but I’ve been enjoying keeping up with your vegan park discoveries via the blog! Soooo jealous of those getting to F&W this year. A whole vegan booth! I heard there are a few veganizable options (Ceviche minus shrimp, anyone?)but maybe fewer than in years past. My favorite was the India kiosk of a few years ago which served lovely vegan dosas (now I’ve got to settle for the ones at Trader Joe’s). Thanks for being such a great influence on Disney Dining…and of course for the Babycakes presence!

    • by Emily Woesthoff on November 1, 2012, at 11:23 am EDT

      Hi Michelle!

      Yes! I still can’t believe that there is an entire vegan booth, it’s like they made it just for us! I hadn’t thought of asking about the ceviche without shrimp. Hopefully I can get back to F&W before it’s over and try it on your behalf!

      See you soon!?

      • I wissssshhhhh! I tried everything to get to F&W this year but it was not meant to be. How awesome is the cranberry bog? I want to seeeee it. I want to taste everything (ok, except the Silk thing) at Terra. I want some 30th anniversary merch.
        Seriously, I think it’s awesome that you (and I, and a bunch of other people) are pestering WDW with so many dietary requests that they are building it into park menus just to shut us up (by stuffing delicious food into our mouths). I want to come visit Art of Animation to check out the vegan offerings in the new food court (hint, hint, new blog post idea!).
        I will let you know when I’m coming down next…so that you can save me a mountain of cupcakes! ;-)