Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2013: the First Weekend… Part Two

November 6, 2013

Epcot entrance area

Epcot entrance area

In Part One of our look at the opening of the 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival I gave you a trip-report type post on some of the events of the first weekend (including a look at the Thursday soft-opening), and now in Part Two, we’ll take a closer look at some of the food items and some other thoughts and comments on this years festival.

So let’s eat!

Seared Scallop with Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers & Hearts of Palm with Carnaval Sparkling Moscato

Seared Scallop with Ragout of Tomatoes, Peppers & Hearts of Palm with Carnaval Sparkling Moscato

One of the new dishes in Brazil is a sea scallop with a tasty tomato stew alongside rice. This was a good one to start with – there has usually been a scallop dish at the festival the past several years, and I’ve thought all of them have been pretty good, and this one was as well.

The ragout was particularly good, and I think would go nicely alongside other proteins like fish or chicken – fortunately this recipe is in this years festival cookbook, so maybe we’ll give it a try soon…

Also in Brazil was a big winner of a dish…

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions,  Avocado & Cilantro

Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Onions,
Avocado & Cilantro (as served at the Preview Dinner)

Crispy Pork Belly… mmmm… pork belly…

We had this at the Tables in Wonderland Sneak Preview dinner in the summer (see “Getting a sneak peak“) and was blown away… but heck, it’s pork belly, and we loves us some pork belly here…

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto & Potato Crunchies (left) and Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle & Rapini

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto & Potato Crunchies (left) and Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle & Rapini

The lamb in the Australia booth is a perennial favorite – this version is identical to the one served last year, but there were no complaints about that, especially from Miss Bonnie… this is always one of our top “likes”, and this one topped with potato “crunchies” (aka crushed salt & vinegar potato chips) is just lamb-a-riffic!

We weren’t so crazy about the shrimp in Australia however, the garlic-infused invertebrates were cooked fine, but the promised accompaniment of “Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle & Rapini” was almost non-existant… maybe I just got a poorly plated version, but this wasn’t anything special.

There’s normally a special margarita featured at the Mexico kiosk, and this year is no different…

Mango-Habanero Margarita

Mango-Habanero Margarita

the slightly thick Mango-Habanero Margarita was very spicy, and very good – I actually think the heat level might be a bit much for many guests – but Dedicated Readers will know I have no complaints with extra heat… as we’ll see as we go on, I think many dishes were less “toned-down” than in the past – “spicy” dishes that in prior years may have been a bit tame seem to be really spicy this year – not blow your head off hot, but defiantly less mild than before… and I think this is a Good Thing…

Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut & Jasmine Rice

Lemongrass Chicken Curry with Coconut & Jasmine Rice

New in Singapore this year is a chicken curry with lemongrass and coconut milk – a nice sized portion and a reasonable representative of this style dish – if you’ve had this type of curry before, this is probably not the best one you’ve ever had, but it’s pretty good, and if you’ve never tried anything like it before this is worth taking a bite of…

Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice & "Singa" Sauce

Seared Mahi Mahi with Jasmine Rice & “Singa” Sauce

Another favorite from Singapore last year, the Mahi with an absolutely delicious “Singa” sauce fortunately made a return to the festival this year.

Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce along with Jinro Chamisul Soju

Kimchi Dog with Spicy Mustard Sauce along with Jinro Chamisul Soju (aka Korean Rocket Fuel)

One of my favorite booths since it’s introduction a few years ago is South Korea, and it’s been very popular with Epcot guests (which is still pleasantly surprising to me). The new (and popular) item this year is a hot dog topped with a kimchi relish. This is another dish we loved at the preview dinner, and despite it being a sorta-skimpy half-dog portion, it’s still Dang Tasty! Just wish they had given a bit more thought to the name…

One of my favorite new dishes this year comes from Africa…

Berbere Style Beef with Onions, Jalapenos, Tomato, Okra & Pap

Berbere Style Beef with Onions, Jalapenos, Tomato, Okra & Pap

the Berbere Style Beef was full of rich flavors and was one of the dishes (as I noted before) that wasn’t pulled back on the heat level! Even though my serving was a bit short on the beef, I was very happy with the taste and enjoyed each bit of okra and tomato!

Menu at the Africa Kiosk

Menu at the Africa Kiosk

It was interesting to note that on the standup menu, as well as the printed materials (such as the Passport booklet), this kiosk is now just listed as “Africa”, while the booth sign still calls itself “South Africa”.

"South Africa" booth

“South Africa” booth

And from what limited research I’ve had to do on this dish, it seems it’s more Ethiopian… defiantly not South African… if anyone has info or recipes for this dish please post in the comments!

Artisan Cheese Selection

Artisan Cheese Selection

The country of Cheese (and shouldn’t there be one?) once again had a nice cheese plate (including Beecher’s Flagship Reserve, a personal favorite).

Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Souffle with Fig Jam

Almond Crusted Blue Cheese Souffle with Fig Jam

This year the Cheese booth added a nice Blue Cheese Souffle which is paired with a fig jam.

Ja mon!

Ja mon!

A new caffeinated adult beverage is being served at the Coffee Cart in the American Adventure…

Shakin' Jamaican Coffee with Kahlua, Vanilla & Caramel (hot version)

Shakin’ Jamaican Coffee with Kahlua, Vanilla & Caramel (hot version)

a spiked coffee that’s served hot or frozen – I tried the hot version topped with whipped cream and really enjoyed it!

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Nearby at the Hops & Barley Market there’s beer…

Beer Flight at the Hops & Barley Market

Beer Flight at the Hops & Barley Market

and more beer…

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

and some food too… the New England Clam Chowder was advertised as being with “a side of Tabasco”, and on the soft-opening day there were the little tiny bottles of hot sauce being served with the chowder, but by the next day they all seemed to be gone…

Pick a hot sauce, any hot sauce...

Pick a hot sauce, any hot sauce…

luckily nearby were multiple Tabasco dispensers… the chowder was pretty good, but nothing special, but will be a nice option on some cooler fall evenings.

Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter along with a La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Griddled Lobster Tail with Garlic Herb Butter along with a La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Lobster is featured here, with the Lobster Roll returning and a new Lobster Tail dish this year… it was cooked well and the accompanying butter sauce was most delish… not sure if it was really worth the $7.50 price tag, but it was tasty!

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll and "Snow" Sake

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll and “Snow” Sake

There’s always plenty to like in Japan, the Spicy hand Roll is a welcome returnee, while a tame cooked-intro-sushi-for-the-squeemish filled with chicken made it’s debut.

Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll

Teriyaki Chicken Hand Roll

There was also a new veggie dish in Japan…

Youki Tofu topped with Miso Sauce, Edamame and Served with Grilled Vegetables

Youki Tofu topped with Miso Sauce, Edamame and Served with Grilled Vegetables

I liked the miso sauce, but the rest of the tofu/veggie dish was. well, just kinda there… a Sapporo draft helped immensely…

Harissa Chicken Roll

Harissa Chicken Roll

In Morocco I tried the Harissa Chicken Roll – what looks like a fried egg roll is filled with a slightly creamy and nicely spicy poultry filling – pretty good, I’d say this one is worth a try (even though it could have used some side of some sort… don’t ask me what though…).

There’s some new stuff in New Zealand….

Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter & Toasted Bread Crumbs

Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter & Toasted Bread Crumbs… you had me at mussels…

and it’s all pretty darn good… I’m a big mussel fan, and this version made me happy…

Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction

Venison Sausage with Pickled Mushrooms, Baby Arugula and Black Currant Reduction

but I really liked the sausage and pickled mushrooms, especially the ‘shrooms… yes, I’ll have another serving please…

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef and a Stella

Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef and a Stella

And as noted in Part One, I really liked the new savory waffle in Belgium.

Canada still has one of the all-time festival favorites in the Cheese Soup…

Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette (left) and Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

Seared Rainbow Trout with Bacon, Frisee and Maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette (left) and Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

but we both thought the new trout dish there is also a hit – heck, there’s bacon – how bad could it be?

Dole® Pineapple Fritters

Dole® Pineapple Fritters

In addition to the spiked Dole Whip, the Refreshment Port also features a nice sweet snack in the Pineapple Fritters.

Dole® Pineapple Fritters

Dole® Pineapple Fritters

Two pineapple rings battered, deep fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar – Miss Bonnie thinks it needs some sort of dipping sauce (and I can’t argue that it wouldn’t hurt) – but it’s still a tasty snack, and at $1.99 one of the real deals this year.

Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties along with an Innis & Gunn® Original Beer

Vegetarian Haggis with Neeps and Tatties along with an Innis & Gunn® Original Beer

Scotland is the new featured booth this year, and much ado has been made about the “Vegetarian Haggis” (which almost seems like an oxymoron). It’s basically like a veggie/grain burger along with rutabagas and mashed potatoes… not too bad at all, but really nothing to get all worked up about… but haggis???

Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scottish Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles and Sweet Cream

Scottish Banoffee Tart with Bananas, Scottish Whisky Toffee, Walkers Shortbread Crumbles and Sweet Cream

But the real winner at Scotland was the dessert…

Inside of the deliciously oozing Banoffee Tart

Inside of the deliciously oozing Banoffee Tart

the whiskey flavor really goes nicely with all the rest of the parts… Dedicated Readers know I claim not to be much of one for sweets, but I’d gladly down another one of these… or maybe two…

So there’s a look at some of the food, so on to a few other things…

Temporary table area near the new Mo Rockin stage in Morocco

Temporary table area near the new Mo Rockin stage in Morocco

Disney seemed to be making an effort to provide a few more tables/dining areas during the festival….

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a few semi-backstage areas were opened up and tables set up for guests. Some maybe not always real convenient to the booths, and a few seemed to go unnoticed by diners, but I give them lots of credit for trying to make extra table areas.

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I was chatting with a guest from New Jersey while waiting in line for a New Belgium Fat Tire at the Craft Beers booth, and he noted that with the huge variety of brews available the festival should really be called the “Epcot Food & Beer Festival”, and I couldn’t argue with him! Between the Craft Beers, Hops & Barley and Brewer’s Collection kiosks there were 22 different beers offered! Add the others from the rest of the booths and we’re talking over 40 interesting beers just at the kiosks around World Showcase! This is a Good Thing…

One of the things I’ve liked best the past few years about the beers being served at the festival is the selection of sizes offered – in addition to the usual 12 ounce pour (and the 22 ounce souvenir glass for many selections), they also offer a 6 ounce glass for most of the beers available at only a modest mark-up for the smaller serving (usually only an extra quarter, see the menu above). This allows guests to try a variety of beers without getting too bloated (or blotto…), and if you wind of trying one you’re not too fond of, it hasn’t been much of a “beverage commitment”.
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And if you’re in need of something at home to pour a beer (or any other beverage for that matter) into, the merchandise locations have you covered…
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from wine glasses…
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to Mason jars with a handy handle…
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to (finally!) a Food & Wine margarita glass! This is by far the best variety of glassware we’ve seen for sale at an Epcot event.
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And of course there are shirts…
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and shirts…
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and even more shirts.
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And there are plenty of other items to part you from your hard-earned cash from posters to cookbooks to pot holders and on and on and on… most of which feature this years logo (which I like very much) or the bumbling chef mascot.
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And we can’t forget Mama Ginny’s favorite bear, Duffy!
One thing that’s inevitable at the Food & Wine Festival is lines…
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and (at least in the first weekend) we saw an odd thing at more than one booth: queue lines were being doubled up – as guests would go to the registers to place their order, they would be given their receipt and then sent back in line to wait to go to the window. This was (understandably) causing quite a bit of confusion among guests… I did see this at multiple locations, so it wasn’t just an aberration at one booth… it may have made the lines appear shorter, but did nothing to speed the process overall. Don’t know if this continued or was being used extensively… did any of you experience this and if so what do you think about it?
Festival offerings at the Outpost in Africa

Festival offerings at the Outpost in Africa

This year we saw many of the existing food & beverage locations offering special Food & Wine Festival offerings, and I really like that they’ve done this – there has been an occasional item in the past years, but this year several spots (such as the Outpost in Africa) have offered specialty drinks or food (like at the Refreshment Port). Using the normal sites to add even more items for guests now seems like a no-brainer…

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So? What did I think?

Overall I thought it was a great version of the festival – I especially liked to variety and more adventurous (and spicy) nature of many of the dishes – and now that the festival is winding down I’m already counting down to next year!

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Did you make it to Food & Wine this year? I’d love to hear you’re thoughts!

Back to the kitchen (and maybe one last visit to the Food & Wine Festival…)… see you soon!

One Response to “Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2013: the First Weekend… Part Two”


  1. It was another good year. I even drank beer, well grapefruit beer.


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