The 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (see all the menus) is in full swing and continues to pack in the crowds. Some guests like to attempt to “Drink Around The World” and sample all the various drinks, while others like to try exotic food items from countries not regularly found in World Showcase. While eating vegetarian at Disney and Universal can be challenging (especially if you want more than the ubiquitous garden salad or veggie burger), this year’s Food & Wine has many unique options. Below is a list with every vegetarian option at this year’s festival, along with my review of the items I personally tried. (Click on any picture to see a much larger version)
We’re going to go through the booths in alphabetical order except to start off, as that spot is going to Terra. Why Terra? Because everything in Terra is vegetarian. That earns it a special spot on the list.
*Trick’n Chick’n Curry with Basmati Rice ($3.75) – A returning favorite from 2012, Trick’n Chick’n is made from Gardein brand chick’n breast with a great spicy curry served over basmati rice. I enjoyed the curry because it had a kick to it, but overall was mild and not overwhelming.
*Chili Colorado with House-made Chips and Cashew Cheese ($3.75) – The chili is made with Gardein brand beefless tips and cashew cheese. I’m pretty tough on vegan cheeses, as I feel they generally come nowhere close to real cheese (as compared to the incredible advancements in the meatless meats over the past few years), but this was great. I loved scooping up the chili onto a chip and eating it that way.
*Chocolate Cake with Coconut Mousse and Passion Fruit Sauce ($3.00) – Big fan of the cake. Big fan of the passion fruit sauce. Not a big fan of the coconut mousse.
Africa: Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pocket ($3.50) – Just a fantastic dish. The pocket itself was nice and crispy which delivered a fantastic flavor dynamic with the spinach and cheese inside. Like the Trick’n Chick’n curry from Terra, there was a just enough spice mixed in to add to the overall experience. Big thumbs up.
Australia: Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll’s Berries and Vanilla Custard) ($3.25)
Cheese: Artisan Cheese Selection: Flagship Reserve Cheddar, La Bonne Vie Triple Crème Brie, Wijngaard Goats Gouda ($4.75)
China: Silky Spun Ice with Toppings (three flavors: Coconut, Strawberry, and Chocolate) ($3.95)
Desserts & Champagne: Chocolate Orange Cupcake ($1.75) – Might be alone on this island, but I wasn’t a fan of the combination of orange and chocolate. Bananas and chocolate I’m down with. Same with strawberries and chocolate. Orange and chocolate? Not a fan. However, the people I was with enjoyed it.
*Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake ($1.75) – Good – but not great – cheesecake.
*Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse ($1.75) – They had me with the presentation on this one. Looked great aesthetically and tasted very good.
France: Crème Brûlée au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Crème Brûlée topped with Caramelized Sugar) ($4.00)
Germany: Apple Strudel with Werther’s Original Karamel and Vanilla Sauce ($3.50)
Greece: Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey ($3.50) – Oh man, this was incredible! It’s not often I find cheese dishes that can combine sweet and salty flavors, but this one does and it hits a home run. Add this to the top of your list.
*Spanakopita ($4.00) – This was okay, but if you’re going for a spinach based item just go over to Africa and get the spinach pocket. Grab a Griddled Greek cheese plate to eat while you’re walking over.
*Dannon Oikos Light & Fit Blueberry Greek Yogurt ($4.00) – This was literally a cup of yogurt that you can get at your local Wal-Mart, Publix or might even be in your refrigerator as your reading this. Very strange. Doritos should open a booth next year right next door (if you haven’t dipped your nacho cheese Doritos into yogurt you’re missing out!)
Hops & Barley: Craisin Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Anglaise ($3.25)
Ireland: Kerrygold Cheese Selection: Reserve Cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout, Skellig ($3.75) – This was a bit different than the Kerrygold cheese selection offered in 2012 and I actually preferred it over last year. The combination of the cheeses go great with a cold beer.
*Warm Chocolate Pudding with Bailey’s Custard ($3.50)
Japan: Youki Tofu topped with Miso Sauce, Edamame and Served with Grilled Vegetables ($4.50) – This was a nice surprise. Well, I guess it’s not too big of a shock considering how much I enjoy the regular dining in the Japan pavilion, but they did a good job with the tofu and the vegetables were very flavorful. Lots of color on this plate which is generally a good thing to have when dining. If i had one complaint its that the tofu was a little more salty than I prefer.
Mexico: Rice Pudding ($3.50)
Morocco: Baklava ($2.95)
Poland: Zapiekanki (Toasted Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Cheese Bread with House-made Ketchup ($3.00) – This was an item that seemed a bit different from last year but I didn’t mind the changes at all and I’m a sucker for pretty much anything with caramelized onions.
Refreshment Port: Dole Pineapple Fritters ($1.99) – This was not what I was expecting. I actually thought I’d be getting a cup of cubed pineapple pieces. No idea why I thought that, but what actually came were huge cross sections of pineapple. Like coconut, I think a little pineapple goes a long way (count me as proud member of the Cult of Citrus who prefer a Citrus Swirl over a Dole Whip) but it’s hard to go wrong with the price.
In fact, overall eating vegetarian is one of the best values at Food & Wine (along with being much healthier for the most part, but let’s get real, who’s going to Food & Wine to eat healthy?) The vegetarian options are usually cheaper on the menu and often times you get a relatively large serving.
Scotland: Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties – Griddled Vegetable Cake with Rutabaga and Mashed Potatoes ($3.25) – Possible the all time weirdest food chase, this dish is a vegetarian version of traditional haggis. What is haggis? Let the kid’s leave the room first. Ok, haggis is a sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs) mixed with various spices and stock and all of it encased in the animal’s stomach or a sausage casing. Thankfully you’re actually not getting a vegetarian version of that. We actually found the haggis to be a glorified veggie burger, but the sides of “neeps and tatties” were very good and for the price you get a lot of food.
*Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scottish Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles and Sweet Cream ($3.25) – Just wonderful, and another item that I felt delivered a pretty big bang for the buck as this is a good sized tart. Tons of chocolate and the sweet cream and crumbles take this over the top. One of the best desserts I’ve had at Food & Wine.
Special thanks to Brandon Glover for his assistance with this article.