Friday, March 6, 2015
Disney Reviews Special Edition #4: Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2014
I know I've already done a special review of the Food & Wine Festival, but I thought I'd make this one specifically about last years and what I gorged on. It seems like I do get a bit more adventurous every year and last year was probably the most varied. I don't know if it was the depressing effect of all the rain or what that kept me eating like a pig, but let's go in order of what I ate.
Oh, and I didn't get pictures of every booth, mainly due to the rain, but I did get pics of the food (although some aren't the best quality for the same reason, it's hard to whip a camera out, take a quick pic and not get it wet). The booths rarely change much anyway, so please see my previous review HERE if you'd like to see them.
First stop was easy, my last year's favorite was the Griddled Greek Cheese with Pistachios and Honey from the Greece booth, so that's what I hit first and it was just as good, if not better than I remember (oh, and notice the Passport in the background...more on that later):
Next up I tried the Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce from the Canadian Booth, it used to be the most famous dish to order at LeCellier, but since they removed it from the menu, it's now a cult classic. Despite being covered in fungus (which I typically don't like), the meat was excellent and very tender. I've never personally ordered it from LeCellier (I do have my favorite), but I think my sister has:
After a pretty heavy rain storm, I hit Brazil and found my new favorite F&W snack, Brazilian Cheese Bread or Pao De Queijo:
The Hops and Barley Booth, usually a hit or miss, was definitely a hit this year with the Baked Lobster Alfredo:
Italy, usually a hit, was a massive miss with it's fast-food tasting Ravioli alla caprese:
Ever the Keebs favorite, Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll from Germany:
My favorite dessert from last year, the Pavlova from Australia, had to pretty much be swallowed whole because it was raining so hard, but I still loved it:
The first gross-out of the day (and only one I had the entire festival, SO much better than last year's where it was about a 50/50 gross out to excellent ratio) was the Craft Beer booth in the old Odyssey Restaurant. I was excited to go in, but the selection was bad. The Muffuletta Pin Wheels were nasty (I don't know what muffuletta is, but yuck), and the house-made pickles were sweet pickles and I hate sweet pickles. The snack mix came free with the beer and it had the weirdest stale flavor. I picked the Purple Haze Beer, which, considering I don't typically like beer except for Guinness, was pleasantly surprising and I really liked it, so it wasn't a total loss:
After the Craft Beers fiasco, I decided to give the F&W Festival a break for the day, but I quickly picked back up on day 2 at Epcot, starting first at Scotland. I was determined to give it another shot, especially since I am Scottish by blood and last year's vegetarian Haggis was quite possibly the worst meal I had last year. This year, I went for the Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and it was amazing!
I immediately hit the Terra booth right afterwards and it was a mixed bag. The Crabless Crab Cake was extremely bland and tasted nothing like crab or crab cake, but the Chocolate Blood Orange Cupcake with Tofu Icing was really good!
Then on to Mexico for the Rib-Eye Taco...it was definitely better than last year's version:
China came next and instead of food, I went with drink, Mango Green Tea with Popping Bubbles...normally I would stay away from bubble tea because it's usually tapioca, but this was little beads of mango juice and it was amazing!
Block and Hans came next, I went with the Apple Ice Wine and Mickey Pretzel. The Ice Wine wasn't nearly as good as that you get in Canada, but it was still good:
I always get a Mimosa Royale from Morocco, so of course I couldn't break tradition:
I ended up back in Brazil for more Pao De Queijo:
I never go to France because, well, I'm not a fan of French food, but I do usually get the Cosmo there. This year they didn't have it, so I opted instead for the La Passion Martini Slush (which was amazing) and I even got bold and had the Gratin de Crozet de Savoie. Basically, wheat pasta with gruyere and mushrooms. Even with the fungus it was really good (although very hard to eat since the cheese was boiling hot and it was pouring rain, hence the bad picture). You also might notice my typical dining table of a trash can. They never have enough places to sit, and although this year you could buy seating in certain areas, I wasn't going to do it on principle alone...my trash can dining table is fine:
In Ireland I usually get the cheese plate (which I rarely eat half of) and a Guinness, but since I had been drinking so much alcohol, I decided beer wasn't a good idea, so I opted instead for the Warm Chocolate Pudding with the Kerrygold Irish Creme Liqueur Custard and it was excellent...like a perfectly cooked lava cake covered in sweetness!
Of course, for my final stop, I had to go back to Canada and get my usual Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup and Ice Wine:
You can go to the Festival Center and get a "passport" and each booth you stop at will stamp it for you. This was the first year that my book was almost halfway full of stamps, but it got rained on so much, it didn't make for a very good collectors item. I was really struggling with keeping it together in the end, but it did survive (just barely).
Granted, I did have my other "usual" snacks in Epcot non-F&W related, like Tabouleh in Morocco, a dark chocolate-covered pineapple in Germany, egg rolls in China, pastries in France, etc, etc...but you can get those any time of year (and I usually do when I'm there, Festival or no). I definitely ate a lot this trip, that's for sure!