One of the best parts of living so close to Walt Disney World is getting the chance to have dinner at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (see the menus) several times each year! Today, I’m excited to share our experiences so far in 2013! The rules are that I’m only featuring items we have actually tried in 2013. Although dishes don’t usually change year after year, I only want to share fresh experiences. Of course, the reviews are just my opinions, so you may disagree. But let’s get started!
Argentina – Beef Empanada (Pictured Left)
This is a classic dish that my hubby loves so much he thought it was fitting that it’s “glowing” in this photo. Though it isn’t anything terribly exotic, this is a solid choice. The beef inside is perfectly spiced with the outside fried until it’s crispy and wonderful! Overall we really enjoyed this one. The beef empanada certainly isn’t a can’t miss, but it is sure worth a try! The glass of cabernet didn’t pair very well but was still tasty!
Australia – Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes (Not Pictured)
I don’t know why I always fall for shrimp at the Food & Wine Festival! I love seafood, and I guess I always have high hopes. This was certainly not a good value at over a dollar per shrimp. It definitely tasted like garlic, but this wasn’t a dish I’ll be getting again this year. There are much better items to be had! Your mileage may vary as I’m not a big tomato fan!
Belgium – Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef (Pictured Center)
This one took a bit of bravery. Since we were in line I went ahead and added this to our order expecting just another waffle. What was served I can only describe as visually repulsing. I’m pretty adventurous, and I actually thought about chucking this one in the trash. I would have been wrong to do it, though. Reminding myself that I can count on one hand the things that have been truly bad in all the years I’ve attended Food & Wine Festival, I took a deep breath and went for it. It was interesting with a more savory waffle and tender beef. For the flavor I would try it again.. but I think it would still take me a little time to get past the visual!
Belgium – Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream & Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote featuring Driscoll’s® Berries and Whipped Cream (Pictured Above)
What can I say? We’re a waffle loving bunch in my house! The dessert waffles were a total no brainer – we couldn’t walk by without trying them, and they didn’t disappoint. The sweet crispy waffles are excellent with the toppings! Was it the most adventurous dessert? Of course not! But if you know this is something you enjoy, you can’t miss with this option! The Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur was also a nice complement to these waffles. It’s a bit thick and that kind of super sweet you only get with Chocolate Liqueur, but if you know you enjoy that then don’t miss this cocktail!
Brazil – Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça (Not Pictured)
If you are looking for a strong drink – choose this one! Wow, it was so good! If you have tasted a caipirinha before, then you’re familiar with the very sweet and tart lime flavor, but the twist is that this one is frozen. That certainly didn’t have any impact on the alcohol content, though. Pace yourself if you haven’t tried Cachaça before!
Canada – Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup (Not Pictured)
Since the most recent menu change at Le Cellier, it hasn’t been a place we frequent. The only thing I missed was this soup, and I was excited to have it again (even in the shot glass portion). This is a staple of Food & Wine Festival and not to be missed!
China – Black Pepper Shrimp with Sichuan Noodles (All Pictured Left)
Yes, I fell for shrimp again – but this dish I don’t regret. The noodles add a little bit more substance, and I loved the spicy burn of the black pepper. If you’re looking to try some seafood, I recommend giving this dish a try.
China – Chicken Potstickers
This is another one we look forward to year after year. While they are typical fare for most Chinese restaurants, they are an easy choice for picky eaters wanting to participate in Food & Wine Festival. You won’t be disappointed if you try these!
China – Mongolian Beef in a Steamed Bun
Phew – this one was HOT!! My husband really enjoyed this and would order it again, but it is a “skip” for me. I didn’t love the texture of the steamed bun, and the sauce was like thousand island dressing mixed with lava! I’l be curious to hear what others thought of this one!
We have found a new favorite dish in this simple little slider! It is juicy and all the flavors blend together perfectly! While I was skeptical about wasting Food & Wine time on a little hamburger, I have to recommend this dish! It is very tasty! I also recommend the Cigar City beer from this booth!
France – Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Not Pictured)
If this is not a dish you have tried before, you absolutely should try it! For Food & Wine they serve the snails in teeny tiny little bite size bread bowls. The seasoning is perfect. The flavor is so out of this world you’ll forget you’re eating bugs (and maybe even order seconds)!
France – Boeuf Bourguignon (Pictured Right)
This was also an exceptional dish. The beef was fork tender, and the mashed potatoes creamy and decadent! It is all tied together with a red wine sauce that is to die for! My experience is that you pretty much can’t go wrong with anything in France!
Hawaii – Kālua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole® Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (Pictured Left)
This might be one of the best dishes at Food & Wine. I’ve tried making this at home several times after the festival ends, and I can’t get it quite right. This has been hands-down my hubby’s favorite dish at the festival for three consecutive years. Put this one on the “must try” list!
Hawaii – Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chips (Pictured Right)
While this is good, it isn’t a “can’t miss,” but I seem to try it every year (yep, still a sucker for seafood). The seaweed is bright and has the right amount of crunch, and the tuna -while not the best quality – is very good. This is something to try if you’re in the mood for it, but better dishes can be found around the world.
Japan – California Roll (Not Pictured)
I was with a friend that ordered this one, so I can confidently say it is just your run of the mill California roll. While there is nothing wrong with that, it isn’t something you should go out of your way to try with so many other dishes readily available.
Japan – Spicy Hand Roll (Not Pictured)
This, on the other hand, was excellent and worth dropping by Japan to try! While it is still a more typical item that you’d find at a sushi restaurant, it was excellent! I also think this is a nice one to try if you aren’t sure about sushi – it is a great place to start.
Japan – Green Tea Colada (Not Pictured)
I’m going to give this drink the “best sissy drink” award for this year. The sweet coconut taste completely masks the alcohol, making it very palatable. It was surprisingly good, and I’m sure we will mourn losing this one when the Festival ends! If you are looking for a sweet drink, this is the one to try!
Scotland – Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette (Pictured Left)
Are you seeing a theme here? They got me one last time with seafood… while this was good, it just tasted like salmon. I wasn’t impressed. It was tasty but not very special and not seemingly worth the price. If you’re heading to Scotland, maybe you should try the haggis? I’m trying to work up the nerve to, myself!
Desserts & Champagne – Chocolate Orange Cupcake (Pictured Right)
This is shockingly wonderful! The cake was moist and perfect with creamy, thick icing. It was really delightful! The icing has a light orange taste, but the sprinkles on top are the real punch. I don’t know where they got these little guys, but I need some for my baking at home! We will be going out of our way to get one of these every time we visit. Neither of the other items in the dessert trio really appealed to us, but we went back for seconds on the chocolate orange cupcake!
Desserts & Champagne – Frozen S’mores
I was so, so excited to try this dish and just got the chance last night. Let me just say… hubba, hubba. From looking at it, I thought it would be a heavy, thick milkshake, but it wasn’t at all! The drink part is light and airy! It wasn’t quite like anything else I’ve tried. I just loved spooning up the drink with the marshmallows and chocolate curls! I only wish I could have had a couple more graham crackers. Overall, this might be the best thing we’ve has this year! Be sure not to miss it!
That is everything we have tried so far this year, but we can’t wait to get back and taste more! Have you had a chance to sample things we missed? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions on dishes? Please let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading!