Snackin’ Around Disney: Epcot Food and Wine Festival (Part 2)

We were at Epcot A LOT on our last trip. If you can make it for the Food and Wine Festival you should definitely do it. In Part 1 of this “Snackin’ Around Disney” series, I talked a little bit about what happens during the Food and Wine Festival, where there are lots of booths from various countries scattered around the World Showcase, each offering small plates and snacks from that country.

I reviewed small plates from Greece, Patagonia, Belgium, and Hawaii in Part 1. In Part 2, I am going to review Germany, Italy, Morocco, Hops and Barley, and Farm Fresh.

Italy.jpg
The Italy pavilion is just lovely!

Germany: The Roast Bratwurst in a Hard Roll is a pretty solid option, and consistently good from year to year. It did come on a pretzel roll in previous years but this year’s hard roll wasn’t really a big change. It comes with a dollop of spicy brown mustard (I think its Gulden’s as that is what they have in the Germany pavilion). You can probably split this, but the roll is small.  And they definitely do not give you enough mustard.

Germany1.png
Germany:  Roast Bratwurst in a Hard Roll ($5.00)

Italy: We had the Pennete alla Parmigiana, which is baked ziti and chicken parm with tomato sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheese. For the Food and Wine Festival, this is a GIANT portion, with plenty of pasta and a large piece of chicken. It is, however, incredibly sub-par. If you’re hungry, consider it, but don’t go out of your way.

Italy2.png
Italy: Pennete alla Parmigiana ($6.25)

Morocco: At the top of my “need to try” list this year was the Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce from Morocco. When you read that, you might expect French fries with hummus and tzatziki on top (well maybe, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect). You get something more akin to falafel with a spicy tzatziki sauce. The tzatziki sauce is unlike the cool, cucumberey, minty, tzatziki from Greece, it actually has some spice to it. This was delicious. It was heavy, for the small portion you get I felt satisfied. I hope this makes the cut for next year.  Again, easily split-able as you can just grab one of the fries, but you wont get a ton of the spicy tzatziki sauce.

HummusFries.png
Morocco: Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce ($5.00). It doesn’t look like much here, but it was great, I swear!

Hops and Barley: Epcot also has the Flower and Garden Festival in the spring, which features the Smokehouse at the USA pavilion. Its always a winner, and I think the Food and Wine festival wanted to get in on the action this year with the Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese Served on Griddled Garlic Toast. My fiancé had this twice this year and loved it, but I found it incredibly salty. Its an okay portion size, you can split the meat easily.

A note on Hops and Barley. The Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing ($3.75) has been one of my favorite desserts for years. This year, I didn’t even have it. I love carrot cake, but my favorite part of this carrot cake was that it was baked with Craisins. Ocean Spray didn’t seem to be the Food and Wine sponsor as they were in previous years, so instead, it had pineapple. I try not to complain about change at Disney because there are definitely things that need an upgrade, but damn did I love that Craisin-ey carrot cake.

usa
Hops and Barley: Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese Served on Griddled Garlic Toast ($5.25)

Farm Fresh: Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions. It just sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Admittedly, I hate bacon (I know, I know), but I had a bite of this and it was great. A large size, obviously filling because its Mac ‘n’ Cheese, and completely worth it. Split this if you want, but I recommend a portion for yourself.

img_20161023_202548213_hdr
Farm Fresh: Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions ($4.50)

So, Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (Part 2)?

I’m going to bring in Part 1 and include my full rankings for the food we tried at the Food and Wine Festival this year.

1. Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes (Belgium)
2. Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce featuring Oikos Greek Yogurt (Greece)
3. Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (Hawaii)
4. Spicy Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce (Morocco)
5. Roast Bratwurst in a Hard Roll (Germany)
6. Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions (Farm Fresh)
7. Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese Served on Griddled Garlic Toast (Hops and Barley)
8. Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache (Belgium)
9. Beef Empanada (Patagonia)
10. Pennete alla Parmigiana (Italy)

Yep.  The Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes (Belgium) took the top spot this year.  Seriously, you all have to try it!

Advertisements

Snackin’ Around Disney: Epcot Food and Wine Festival (Part 1)

We love the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  In fact, we love it so much that we go every year. The main draw for us is the excuse (like we really need one…) to try lots of small food portions from the booths scattered around the World Showcase.

To attend, all you need is a park ticket. The World Showcase features booths from a variety of places and countries, each of which selling small portions of food, beer, wine, desserts, or drinks. You can see all of the booths and their food and beverage offerings here.

fw2
I’m not sure if I want to “Taste Epcot” but the Food and Wine Festival is fun!  Chef Mickey greets you at the entrance to the World Showcase.

Portions and alcohol are both small as the idea is that you can try multiple things, you’ll see in my “Drinkin’” series how small the beers are (6oz, and no there is not an option to buy a bigger one).  There are high-top tables scattered around, and expect to eat most food standing up.  You’ll sometimes see people using a trash can as a table, we can usually avoid this by looking around a bit.

The prices range from around $3 – $10, depending on what you order. Some are over $10, like this Kurt Russell wine.

kr_crop
Seriously, one of those wines (in a “sample size”!) is $12.50.  Does Kurt Russell serve it to me?  Is he back there?!

The International Food and Wine Festival also has the “Eat to the Beat” Concert Series, with gems such as Hanson, Sugar Ray, Billy Ocean, and etc. (but seriously, I was incredibly upset that we missed Sugar Ray this year), the Festival Welcome Center which has merchandise, bottles of wine for purchase, Ghirardelli chocolate (yes you can get a free piece), and a variety of seminars and demonstrations.

We sampled a fair bit of food at the food and wine festival this year, enough that this “Snackin” series is getting 2 parts. In this part, I am going to cover Greece, Patagonia, Belgium, and Hawaii.

fw3
And look at the view you get while you eat!

Greece: The Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce featuring Oikos Greek Yogurt from Greece has been my favorite for 4 years in a row.  Spoiler!! it is now my second favorite. Regardless, I recommend the chicken gyro. The chicken is nicely marinated, the flatbread is fluffy and flavorful, and the veggies (lettuce and red onion) are fresh. The standout for me is the tzatziki. I LOVE TZATZIKI. This doesn’t disappoint. I just wish they gave you more of it.  Normally we do not split this because its difficult given the setup.

greece2
Greece:  Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce Featuring Oikos Greek Yogurt ($4.75).  Sorry about the blurry onion on the left.

Patagonia: So, I live in South Florida. I get really good empanadas on a pretty regular basis. I tried the beef empanada at Patagonia anyway. Admittedly, this is a pretty big portion (we easily split it in half), but, I was not impressed. I think it was whatever spices they used in the beef, I just wasn’t a fan. Of part 1, it was my least favorite item.

patagonia2
Patagonia:  Beef Empanada ($4.75)

Belgium: We actually got 2 items from Belgium, the Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream, and the Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes. The Belgian Waffle is good, but note that it comes with whipped cream from a can. The stand-out here is the Beer-braised beef. This was my favorite from everything we sampled in the entire festival. The beef was tender, the mashed potatoes were flavorful, and it was a substantial portion. Do not skip this. The Belgian waffle can easily be split, but I didn’t share the beer braised beef as you do not get a ton of each item (beef, potatoes, etc).

belgiumall
Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream ($3.75), Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes ($4.75). The beer-braised beef might not look that appetizing, but just trust me.

Hawaii:  Hawaii never disappoints. We got the Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise, which is a definite festival favorite for many guests, and has been a standard option for as many years as we can remember. This is my fiancé’s favorite, the flavors work together very well. He hates mayonnaise with a passion and will still eat this, so I count that as a win. In terms of portion size, I suppose this could be split in half with a little difficulty, but he refuses to share more than a bite.

hawaii_crop
Hawaii: Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise ($4.25)

So, Drinking Ever After, what are your thoughts on the Epcot Food and Wine Festival (Part 1)?

From most-to-least favorite, my rankings are:

1. Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes (Belgium)
2. Chicken Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce featuring Oikos Greek Yogurt (Greece)
3. Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (Hawaii)
4. Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache (Belgium)

And a distant 5. Beef Empanada (Patagonia)

If you are visiting Walt Disney World as an adult, the Food and Wine Festival is a must-do.  Though there are some kid-friendly things – there are notes next to items kids may like, and Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak is a scavenger hunt game that would interest kids – it definitely draws a crowd of adults and locals.  It gives you a chance to sample a lot of food and drinks from various places, and you’ll likely find yourself spending a lot of time in the World Showcase.  Personally, we love that the portions are small enough to sample a lot of things, YMMV, but we highly recommend giving this a shot.