Our adventure begins with a sense of excitement and anticipation as we enter the festival grounds. It’s a day filled with firsts, particularly for Jen, who is attending this magical event for the first time. For us, it’s a unique blend of the first and the last, as the festival is drawing to a close, scheduled to end on November 18th. With just a few hours to explore the myriad flavors, we’re determined to make every moment count.
The Culinary Journey
The Food and Wine Festival is a gastronomic extravaganza with over 200 delectable food and beverage items to sample. While it’s impossible to savor them all in one day, we’re committed to trying as many as we can. So let’s dive into this culinary adventure together.
Our first stop leads us through the Breezeway, a pathway between Creations and Connections, as we venture to explore the festival’s booths. Several of these booths made their debut on September 22nd, offering an array of mouthwatering dishes and drinks. One booth that piques our interest is Coastal Eats, known for its seafood specialties. However, we decide to forgo the crab cake and Oysters Rockefeller in favor of other tempting options.
One remarkable feature of the festival is the inclusion of the year each booth was introduced, providing a fascinating glimpse into its history and evolution.
A Glimpse of the World Showcase
As we venture further towards the World Showcase, our curiosity is piqued by the possibility of holiday decorations beginning to appear. This area often holds hidden culinary gems during the festival, and we’re eager to uncover them. Along the way, we encounter displays commemorating the 100th anniversary of Disney Studios, titled “It All Started with a Mouse.” Another delightful surprise is the sight of the grand “luminous barges” for the new nighttime spectacular, “Luminous,” which premiered on December 5th.
Canada’s Culinary Delights
Our first culinary stop is in Canada, where we’re drawn to the Filet Mignon. Priced at $9.75, it’s served with mushrooms, black truffle, sea salt mashed potatoes, and black truffle and sea salt whipped butter. The steak is cooked to perfection, offering a tender and flavorful experience. The accompanying truffle butter adds an extra layer of indulgence.
New Booths and Offerings
Our culinary expedition leads us to explore the newly introduced booths at the festival. “Bubbles and Brine” immediately catches our attention, featuring jumbo shrimp cocktail and jumbo Crab Claw cocktail. While the offerings appear enticing, their price point prompts us to pause. At $14 for three shrimp, it’s on the higher end of the cost spectrum.
Another newcomer on our culinary journey is “Wine and Wedge,” offering artisanal cheeses and accompaniments. The Southern pimento cheese with bread and butter, pickled vegetables, and grilled bread looks incredibly tempting. It’s a unique combination of flavors, promising a delightful culinary adventure.
Wine and Cheese at Wine and Wedge
Our next stop takes us to “Wine and Wedge,” a newly introduced booth at the festival. Here, you can indulge in the perfect pairing of wine and cheese. We decide to try the Southern pimento cheese with bread and butter pickled vegetables and grilled bread. The portion is substantial, and it’s a satisfying combination of flavors. The cheese has a hint of sweetness, a touch of spice, and a creamy texture. The grilled bread adds a delightful smokiness to the ensemble.
Meeting Asha from “Wish”
Adjacent to “Wine and Wedge,” we stumble upon a character meet and greet for Asha, a character from Disney’s new movie “Wish.” The line is short, so we decide to meet Asha. It’s a magical encounter, and Asha shares stories of wish-granting in the kingdom. Although there’s a mention of another character, King Magnifico, who grants wishes, we decide to make a wish with Asha. Please note that her future location may vary, so it’s best to check for updates.
Exploring the Culinary Offerings
Our culinary journey continues as we explore the festival’s booths. We come across “Char and Chop,” another new addition, offering a roasted porchetta with lemon parsley salsa verde and shaved fennel salad, as well as a grilled impossible spicy sausage with herb puttanesca sauce and ricotta. The porchetta is tender and flavorful, with the fennel salad adding a refreshing contrast. The spicy sausage is a treat for those who enjoy briny and savory flavors.
Noodle Exchange Delights
A visit to the “Noodle Exchange” introduces us to the shaved beef Ramen with shiitake mushrooms, pickled carrots, Daikon radish, shaved Peppers, soy egg, and citrus sesame broth. The broth is a standout, with vibrant citrus notes and a pleasant heat. It’s a harmonious blend of flavors that make this dish a must-try.
The Vegan Option
If you’re a vegan or have dietary restrictions, it’s worth noting that the festival offers some options to cater to various preferences. For example, there’s a vegan pork udon available, even though it’s served in chicken broth. The vegan beef Ramen is another choice at the “Noodle Exchange,” replacing the meat with tofu.
Pickle Milkshake – A Surprising Treat
Our culinary adventure takes an unexpected turn as we try the infamous pickle milkshake. It’s a unique blend of flavors that intrigues our taste buds. At first, it has a hint of cinnamon and a touch of sweetness, but the predominant flavor is that of eggnog with a subtle dill undertone. It’s a surprising twist that leaves us pleasantly surprised.
Exploring the Croissant Donut
We couldn’t resist the temptation of the croissant donut, a delectable treat that combines the flakiness of a croissant with the sweetness of a donut. It’s airy, fluffy, sugary, and utterly delicious. The layers of this dessert are a testament to the culinary artistry at Epcot.
Meeting Asha from “Wish”
One of the highlights of our day is encountering Asha, a character from Disney’s new movie, “Wish.” The chance meeting is a magical surprise, and Asha shares stories of wish-granting in the kingdom. While we don’t entirely trust King Magnifico, who also grants wishes, the experience with Asha is heartwarming.
Festive Holiday Preview
As we continue our culinary exploration at the festival, the holiday spirit is in the air. Festive decorations, holiday cookies, and even snow blowing bubble wands add to the joyful atmosphere. It’s a sneak peek into the upcoming holiday celebrations at Epcot.
A Memorable Ride for Oliver
Our culinary escapades take a brief pause as we introduce Oliver, our young companion, to the enchanting world of theme park rides. As we navigate the park, we share stories of past visits, speculating whether Oliver has experienced any rides before. Despite some hazy recollections, one thing is certain – we’re about to create unforgettable memories.
Grand Fiesta Tour: A Family Favorite
Our first ride of the day is the Grand Fiesta Tour, a delightful boat ride that offers a glimpse into the vibrant world of Mexico. It’s a family favorite, and Oliver is captivated by the sights, sounds, and whimsical characters along the way. We notice that some of the animatronics are missing during the ride, but this unexpected twist adds to the charm of this classic attraction.
Celebrating Dia de los Muertos
Epcot offers a unique opportunity to celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This celebration, observed from November 1st to November 2nd, coincides with our visit on November 2nd. It’s a reminder of the rich cultural tapestry that Epcot embraces.
Our day at Epcot is a whirlwind of excitement, filled with memorable rides, unexpected culinary delights, and heartwarming encounters. Epcot’s ability to surprise and delight visitors never ceases to amaze us. As we bid farewell to this magical place, we know that our adventures will continue, and Epcot will always hold a special place in our hearts. Until next time, Epcot!
In summary, the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot offers a vibrant tapestry of flavors from around the world, and it’s a must-visit for food enthusiasts. Additionally, our journey through the park showcases the perfect blend of thrilling rides, delightful surprises, and culinary masterpieces. Whether you’re an Epcot regular or a first-time visitor, the magic and wonder of this remarkable place continue to captivate hearts and create lasting memories.