Friday, August 29, 2014

Favorites From the 2013 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

By: Nick-Co writer and editor of the Disney Musings Blog

Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival kicks off in just a few weeks, running from September 19th to November 10th. Menus for the 2014 Marketplaces can be found here.

Every year, when making a plan of attack for the Festival,  I intend on hitting EVERY booth to try at least one item from each, and inevitably I miss a few. For one reason or another, last year I missed even more than usual. But, I thought I'd share some favorites, several of which are returning this year, and also some selections that I wish I hadn't made, and will be sure to avoid this year!

We visited on September 29th, 2013, the third official day of the Festival.

Our first stop was Greece, which has always served one of my wife's favorites, the Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey. This year however, she thought it was a little greasier than usual, which could have just been a one off, as I thought mine was the same as in years past. We also got the Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce, which was very good, if very heavy on the onion.

Next was a stop at the Refreshment Port which is newly offering selections for the Festival. We only got one thing, the Dole Pineapple Fritters, and really liked them. Essentially these are deep fried pineapple rings.

Next door is Canada, and we picked up the always good Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup, which seemed even better this year, the "Le Cellier" Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce, an excellent selection, and a new item, the Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette, another winner. Year after year this booth is a top choice.

We started walking back towards the Mexican Pavilion side, to a favorite, the Argentina booth.

Along the way we stopped at Hawaii, where I had the Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chip, which never lets me down.

Next to this was another new kiosk, Scotland. I'd been anticipating the Scotch flight, but thought I'd get to it later in the trip. Sadly I didn't. Instead I got the Seared Scottish Salmon with Cauliflower Puree, Watercress and Malt Vinaigrette, which disappointed me. The fish was dry, and the puree fairly flavorless.

We made our way to Argentina for our perennial favorite, the Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce and Boniato Puree, with high hopes that this would be a high to the Scottish Salmon low.

Wrong! This was unfortunately a let down this year, as the beef was overcooked, and there was little sauce on them. In the future, I'll ask if they can give me one less well done, and try to get extra sauce as well.

By now, it was about 12:30 pm, HOT, and already getting crowded. We decided to hit the Mexico Pavilion, where a favorite activity of mine is to get a Tequila Flight at La Cava del Tequila and take a ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour.

As we were about to go into the Mexico Pavilion, we stopped at the Mexico booth, which is located out in front. We got what had been a hit with my wife last year, but had been way too spicy for me, the Taco de Rib-eye with Salsa de Chipotle. This year the heat was turned way down, and we both loved them! A strong finish to a shaky start.

We returned the next evening, and this time, started in France. We shared the Boeuf Bourguignon (Braised Short Ribs in Cabernet with Mashed Potatoes), and Crème Brûlée au Chocolat au Lait (Chocolate Milk Crème Brûlée topped with Caramelized Sugar), both terrific, but Barbie wanted no part in the Escargots Persillade en Brioche (Garlic and Parsley Snails in Brioche), despite the fact that you honestly cannot taste anything but garlic and butter. These are awesome, and I get them every year. Pictured with the food is what was my favorite beer of the Fesitval, Kronenbourg Blanc. It is a Witbier, one of my favorite beer styles. It has a light citrus undertone, perfect for a hot humid evening.

We skipped a bunch of booths on our way to the Florida Local kiosk, mainly because they are serving a beer from a highly regarded brewery, Cigar City, which doesn't distribute much to the Northeast USA yet. I got their Cracker Belgian-style White Ale, and it was very good, I'd absolutely recommend trying. I also had the Florida Grass Fed Beef Slider with Monterey Jack and Sweet & Hot Pickles, which I loved, but which didn't impress Barbie.

Continuing on, Barbie wanted to try the Ravioli de formaggio all’emiliana in Italy, one of 2 items a friend had raved about. We also got the Salsiccia e ‘Papacelli” Napoletani (sausage).The Ravioli was good as always, but the Sausage was terrific.

Skipping a few more booths, with the thought that we'd get back to them, which we never did, we visited South Korea for the other menu selection Barbie had heard was great, the Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce. While in line we heard a humorous exchange where a child very stubbornly declared that she would under no circumstance eat dog. Well, if she didn't, she missed out, because it really was delicious, and the photo below doesn't do it justice.

Our last stop of the evening topped them all however. We had the Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice and “Singa” Sauce at Singapore, and it was tremendous, among the best dishes I had at the Festival. Again, the picture does it absolutely no justice.

We didn't hit any more of the food kiosks for a few more days, until October 3rd, when we met up with a friend at the American Pavilion. Before heading all the way back there though, I stopped at the Craft Beers booth and got a Namaste from Dogfish Head Brewery to get me through the long, hot walk. This is another Witbier, and another wonderful beer from one of the best brewers in the US.

Back at the American Pavilion, we all split the Craisin® Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Anglaise from the Hops & Barley kiosk. Despite the fact that it is bread pudding, it was extremely light, and didn't sit on the stomach like a brick, as some bread puddings do.

We next hit Belgium, for the Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream and Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote featuring Driscoll’s® Berries and Whipped Cream. Waffles with fruit and chocolate. Need I say more? I had a Leffe Brune, a Belgian Dark Ale with the waffles, and it paired nicely. Beer. Waffles. Not really any way you can go wrong here.

We decided to hit Spaceship Earth, but to do that, we needed to have more dessert. I'm not really sure how this evening turned into the sugar and booze fest it became, but, there it is. 
To get all the way back around to the front of World Showcase, I got a beer in  the Japan Pavilion at the Saki Bar, a hefeweizen called Premium Unfiltered, which is the Japan Pavilions best kept secret as far as I'm concerned.
On the way out, we  stopped at the Desserts & Champagne marketplace again, and both Barbie and I got the Dessert Trio, which consists of:
  • Chocolate Orange Cupcake
  • Hazelnut Chocolate Cheesecake
  • Morello Cherry Pistachio Mousse
These were all great, the top of the Orange Cupcake being my favorite, I wish they'd have just served that in a bowl.
I also had the Pyramid™Weiss Cream Beer, a wheat ale, which was very light, but still tasty, and to be honest, you could have handed me just about anything at this point and I'd have been happy. 
So there you have it. I missed several kiosks that I wanted to try, and hope to get them this year.

I hope these reviews help you if you visit my favorite event ever, Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival!

Portions of this article were originally posted on the Tips From the Disney Divas and Devos Blog, where Nick is a contributing writer.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Booths and Menus

v  Beef tenderloin tips berbere style with okra, jalapeños, tomato and pap
v  South African bobotie with turkey and mushrooms (gluten free)
v  MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc
v  Fairview Pinotage
v  The Wolftrap Red: Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier
v  America Adventure Coffee Cart
v  Apple Maple Spice Latte, Hot or Iced

v  Garlic shrimp with roasted tomatoes, lemon myrtle and rapini (gluten free)
v  Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies (gluten free)
v  Pavlova: Crispy meringue shell with fresh berries and vanilla custard
v  Coopers Brewery, Original Pale Ale
v  Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling
v  St. Kilda Chardonnay
v  Nine Stones Shiraz*

v  Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef*
v  Belgium waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream
v  Belgium waffle with berry compote and whipped cream
v  Hoegaarden
v  Stella Artois
v  Leffe Blonde
v  Stella Artois Cidre
v  Chilled coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
v  Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde and Stella Artois Cidre
v  Block & Hans
v  Robert Mondavi, Fume Blanc
v  The Great American Wine Company, Chardonnay
v  The Great American Wine Company, Red Blend
v  Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon
v  Domaine Chandon Brut Sparkling Blanc de Noir
v  Still River Winery Apple Ice Wine

v  Mocequa de pescado: Regal Springs premium tilapia with coconut lime sauce and steamed rice (gluten free)
v  Crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro (gluten free)*
v  Pao de queijo: Brazilian cheese bread
v  Cocada: Brazilian coconut candy
v  Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer*
v  Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine
v  Tannat Reserve
v  Frozen Caipirinha

  Brewer’s Collection
v  Radeberger Pilsner
v  BraufactuM Colonia
v  BraufactuM Palor
v  Schöfferhofer Grapefruit
v  Altenmünster Oktoberfest
v  BraufactuM Roog
v  BraufactuM Darkon
v  BraufactuM Progusta IPA
v  Beer flight 1 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Radeberger Pilsner, BraufactuM Colonia, BraufactuM Palor and Schöfferhofer Grapefruit
v  Beer flight 2 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Altenmünster Oktoberfest, BraufactuM Roog, BraufactuM Darkon and BraufactuM Progusta IPA

v  Canadian cheddar cheese soup
v  Seared rainbow trout with bacon, frisee and maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette (gluten free)
v  “Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce (gluten free
v  Moosehead Lager
v  La Face Neige Apple Ice Wine
v  La Face Neige Sparkling
v  Mission Hill Family Estate Syrah*
v  China
v  Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce
v  Mongolian beef in a steamed bun with chili mayo
v  Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles*
v  Chicken potstickers
v  Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Riesling*
v  Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Syrah
v  Kung Fu Punch with vodka and triple sec
v  Happy Lychee with tequila and vodka
v  Mango green tea with popping bubbles

  Craft Beers 
v  Sierra Nevada, Kellerweis® – Chico, CA
v  Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Punkin Ale – Milton, DE
v  Shiner Brewery, Wild Hare Pale Ale – Shiner, TX
v  Abita Brewing Company, Purple Haze – Abita Springs, LA
v  Goose Island, 312 Urban Wheat Ale – Chicago, IL
v  Florida Beer Company, Sunshine State Pils – Cape Canaveral, FL
v  Magic Hat Brewery, Dream Machine IPL – South Burlington, VT
v  Terrapin Beer Company, Rye Pale Ale – Athens, GA
v  Beer Flight 1 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Sierra Nevada, Kellerweis; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Punkin Ale; Shiner Brewery, Wild Hare Pale Ale; and Abita Brewing Company, Purple Haze
v  Beer Flight 2 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Goose Island, 312 Urban Wheat Ale; Florida Beer Company, Sunshine State Pils; Magic Hat Brewery, Dream Machine IPL; and Terrapin Beer Company, Rye Pale Ale

  Desserts & Champagne
v  Dessert Trio: Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, blueberry lime cheesecake roll and chocolate espresso opera cake*
v  Guylian Belgian chocolate seashell truffles
v  Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé*
v  Möet & Chandon Nectar Impérial
v  Ruinart Blanc de Blanc
v  Dom Pérignon
v  Frozen S’mores featuring Monin® Toasted Marshmallow Syrup

  Farm Fresh
v  Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon hash with sweet corn, potatoes, hollandaise and pickled jalapeños (gluten free)*
v  Griddled “yard bird” with braised greens (gluten free)
v  Orlando Brewing Company, I-4 IPA – Orlando, FL
v  Ba Ba Black Lager, Uinta Brewing Company – Salt Lake City, UT
v  Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale, Bold City Brewery – Jacksonville, FL
v  Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale, Cigar City Brewery – Tampa, FL
v  Florida Orange Groves, Key Limen-Key Lime Wine
v  Chateau St. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica® Riesling*
v  St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel
v  Beer Flight (4 4-ounce servings): I-4 IPA, Ba Ba Black Lager, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale

  Fife & Drum
v  Ghirardelli® ice cream sundae
v  Mmmhops Pale Ale

v  Tartelette aux escargots: Escargot tart with garlic, spinach, bacon and parmesan
v  Gratin de crozet de savoie: Wheat pasta gratin with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese
v  Boeuf bourguignon: Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes*
v  Crème brûlée caramel fleur de sel: Sea salt caramel crème brûlée topped with caramelized sugar
v  Beer Kronenbourg Blanc 1664
v  Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche
v  Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet*
v  Sparkling Pomegranate Kir
v  La Passion Martini Slush: vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice

v  Schinkennudeln: Pasta gratin with ham and cheese*
v  Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll
v  Berliner: Yeast doughnut filled with apricot jam
v  Altenmünster Oktoberfest
v  J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett*
v  Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese
v  J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese
v  Kallstadter Kobnert Spaetburgunder Spätlese Dry Barrique Style

v  Vegetarian moussaka*
v  Griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey (gluten free)
v  Chicken gyro with tzatziki Sauce
v  Spanakopita
v  Domaine Skouras Moscofilero*
v  Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko/Athiri
v  Alpha Estate Axia Syrah-Xinomavro
v  Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

v  Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole® Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise*
v  Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips
v  Kona Brewing Company, Big Wave Golden Ale*
v  Kona Brewing Company, Castaway IPA
v  Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine
v  Aulani Sunrise featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum
v  Hops & Barley
v  Artisan cheese plate featuring Cabot Cloth wrapped cheddar, Purple Haze chèvre goat cheese and Cave Man blue cheese
v  Baked lobster alfredo
v  Florida grass fed beef slider with pimento cheese*
v  Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing
v  Samuel Adams® Octoberfest*
v  New Belgium Brewing Company Snapshot
v  Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat®
v  Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy
v  La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
v  Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Cambria Estate Winery
v  Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Samuel Adams Octoberfest, New Belgium Snapshot, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat and Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy

 Intermissions Cafe
v  Southwest chicken wrap
v  Vegan trio
v  Fruit & cheese plate
v  Side salad
v  Grapes
v  Tuna salad with pita
v  Asian chicken salad
v  Key lime tart
v  Brownie
v  J Vineyard Pinot Gris (Wine on Tap)
v  Franciscan Chardonnay (Wine on Tap)
v  Di Seño Malbec (Wine on Tap)
v  Acrobat Pinot Noir (Wine on Tap)
v  MARTINI Prosecco
v  Caposaldo Sweet Sparkling Peach Moscato
v  Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvée
v  Medalla Light Beer
v  Einstök Icelandic White Ale
v  Angry Orchard Hard Cider – Crisp Apple
v  Assorted soft drinks
v  Dasani Water

v  Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie
v  Kerrygold® cheese selection: Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig
v  Warm chocolate pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard (gluten free)*
v  Guinness® Draught
v  Bunratty Meade Honey Wine
v  Chilled Irish Coffee featuring Bunratty Potcheen*
v  Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur

v  Ravioli alla caprese: Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil
v  Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala: Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread*
v  Cannoli al cioccolato: Chocolate-covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit
v  Moretti Lager Beer
v  Moretti La Rossa Beer
v  Procecco, Bosco del Merlo
v  Pinot Grigio, Placido
v  Chianti Classico, Placido*
v  Frozen Primavera with limoncello and tequila

v  Japan
v  Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce
v  Teriyaki gyoza bun: Steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki sauce
v  Chirashizushi: Salmon, shrimp, crab and egg served over seaweed salad and ginger rice*
v  Kirin Draft Beer
v  Sake: Kikusui Ginjo*
v  Sake Sunrise
v  Sparkling Peach Sake Gell
v  Liberty Inn
v  Hess Shirtail Chardonnay
v  SIMI Cabernet Sauvignon

v  Shrimp taco: Fried shrimp, pickled habanero pepper and onions on a flour tortilla*
v  Rib eye taco: Marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle salsa and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla (gluten free)**
v  Sweet corn cheese cake
v  Dos Equis Beer*
v  Sangria
v  Tequila Flight
v  Mango-strawberry margarita**

v  Kefta pocket: Ground seasoned beef in a pita pocket
v  Spicy shrimp roll with cilantro and mint sauce*
v  Baklava
v  Casa Beer
v  Guerouane White*
v  Sangria
v  Mimosa Royale: Sparkling wine and orange juice topped with orange liquer

  New Zealand
v  Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs
v  Venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula and black currant reduction (gluten free)*
v  Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney
v  Kim Crawford Pinot Gris
v  Mohua Sauvignon Blanc
v  Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay
v  Kim Crawford Pinot Noir*

v  Beef empanada
v  Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée (gluten free)*
v  Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri (gluten free)**
v  Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut
v  Terrazas Reserva Malbec*
v  Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier**
v  Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé

v  Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream
v  Sauerkraut pierogi with pork goulash*
v  Okocim Brewery, Okocim O.K. Beer
v  Blaufraenkische Donausonne, Hungarian Wine*
v  Frozen Szarlotka (apple pie) featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

  Puerto Rico
v  Ensalada de carrucho: Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro (gluten free)
v  Carne guisada con arroz blanco: Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice (gluten free)
v  Friturias: Sorullitos (sweet polenta fries) and bolitas de queso (cheese fritter with mayo ketchup)
v  FlanCocho: Vanilla caramel custard with chocolate coffee cake
v  Gasolina Sangriiia
v  Medalla Light Beer
v  Frozen San Juan Breeze
v  Frozen San Juan Breeze with Don Q Limón Floater
v  Chilled Club Caribe Mango Rum (neat)

  Refreshment Cool Post
v  Mango Star featuring African Starr Rum
v  frozen yogurt
v  Refreshment Port
v  Croissant doughnut*
v  Fried shrimp with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce
v  Fried chicken chunks with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce
v  Dole Fruit Squish’ems!™ Apple-Strawberry
v  Dole Whip Soft-serve
v  Dole Whip Soft-serve with crème de cacao white
v  Dragon Berry Refresher featuring Bacardi® Dragon Berry Rum*

v  Vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties: Griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga and mashed potatoes
v  Fresh potato pancake with smoked Scottish salmon and herb sour cream (gluten free)*
v  Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon (gluten free)
v  Crannachan: A traditional Scottish dessert trifle
v  Innis & Gunn® Original*
v  Loch Lomond featuring Glenfiddich® 12 year
v  Glenfiddich Scotch Selection (12, 15 and 18 year)

v  Lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice (gluten free)
v  Seared mahi mahi with jasmine rice and “Singa” sauce*
v  Tiger Beer
v  Marqués de Caceres Satinela*
v  Singapore Sling featuring Hendrick’s Gin and Cherry Herring

  South Korea
v  Kimchi dog with spicy mustard sauce*
v  Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw
v  Bokbunjajoo: Bohae black raspberry wine
v  iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew*
v  Soju Fruit Slushy featuring Jinro Chamisul Soju

v  Blackened Chick’n Breast, farro wheat and spicy gumbo sauce featuring Gardein™ Chick’n Breast
v  CraB’less CraB Cake with pepper slaw and Cajun remoulade featuring Gardein™*
v  Chocolate-blood orange cupcake with tofu icing
v  Red Bridge Ale
v  The Vegan Vine Chardonnay*
v  Paperboy Red
v  Fresh Watermelon Juice