From the Disney Parks Blog comes news of a new 2016 Epcot Cookbook that “Celebrates the Best of Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival”

Cover of new Epcot Festival Cookbook - photo from the Disney Parks Blog

Cover of new Epcot Festival Cookbook – photo from the Disney Parks Blog

 

Pam Brandon wrote the following on the Disney Parks Blog:

“Debuting just in time for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the newest Epcot cookbook shares the best-of-the-best recipes, but also includes favorites from the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, which started adding its Outdoor Kitchens in 2013, now an integral part of the spring fest.

Sharing food and drink is such a communal experience, and the circle around World Showcase Lagoon is the perfect place. The cookbook lets you take the memories home and recreate favorites with family and friends. Here are two of our favorites, one from each festival. The kale salad is a simple meal in a bowl, and the warm quesitos are super-easy and melt-in-your-mouth delectable.

The cookbook will be for sale at the Festival Center, Festival Emporium, Festival Boutique, Mouse Gear, World Traveler, Gift Stop and other Epcot shops during and after the festival. And look for Epcot Culinary Director Gregg Hannon and myself at the Festival Center for a recipe demo and cookbook signing.”

You can see the original post, which also includes a couple of recipes (one old and one new) by clicking here.

 

For those of us that have several of the past Food & Wine Festival cookbooks, we’re hoping that there will be lots of new recipes in this volume, as opposed to reprinting mostly older ones with just a few new ones thrown in… and we’re also hoping they do a better job of proofing this volume than they have done in a couple of the most recent cookbooks from Disney (but that’s a subject for another day…).

Back to the kitchen…

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Dedicated Readers will know our love for the Food & Wine Classic held annually at the Swan and Dolphin resorts at Walt Disney World.

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The Classic, which is held on one weekend during the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, offers guests unlimited food and wine at over 40 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries on the hotel’s causeway.

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There are also cocktail and beer selections (including a dedicated beer garden for an additional charge)…

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as well as live entertainment on the causeway during the event.

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In addition are hands-on seminars with the hotel’s chefs and beverage experts.

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Considering that the Classic is over a half-year away why are we talking about it now?

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Well, the official dates for the 2016 Classic were announced a few weeks ago, and it will be held on October 28 & 29. We usually don’t get confirmation of the dates this early…

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and there’s something else we don’t get nearly this soon…

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the menus!

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Yes boys and girls… we were surprised just a few days ago with an email from the events media rep…

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and we already know that 2016 menu will include an American wagyu beef slider with avocado-bacon aioli and Applewood smoked bacon on a toasted brioche from the Fountain; a salt-roasted prime New York strip loin served with mashed potatoes and sauce bordelaise from Shula’s Steak House and seared striped bass with fall artichokes and Nicoise olives in a Spanish caper emulsion from Garden Grove. Returning dishes include the popular shrimp cocktail steamroller from Todd English’s bluezoo and dragon sushi roll from Kimonos.

I’m personally looking forward to the Hand Crafted Bacon with Sweet Corn Puree, Fried Brussel Sprouts and Compressed Heirloom Apple… (see it here).

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The only part of the menu missing are the updated items from the new Carnival Corner section that was very popular last year.

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Funnel cakes with a variety of toppings, corn dogs, and a “Pop-up Mac & Cheese Bar” with do-it-yourself toppings were among the offerings, so we can probably assume similar items will be available this year.

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You can view the 2016 menu (with drool-worthy pics!) at the Swan/Dolphin Classic website.

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The cost for the causeway tickets (which allow you all you want to eat and drink during the event) looks to be the same as last year ($105 per person per day) while the ticket plus the beer garden option has gone up $5.00 to $130 (which is not worth the extra charge in my opinion…).

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Package rates (which include room and causeway ticket) look to have jumped up by at least $40 per night… the “packages” are not really much of a deal (again in my opinion) as you don’t really save any money compared to the regular room cost plus the cost of the event ticket, you just get the convenience of buying them both at the same time (and yes, it is very nice to have a room right there to stagger back to… but it would be nice if they cut a bit of a break on the price for the package or at least throw in one of the seminars for free or at a significantly reduced price…).

You can see the complete rates and details at the Classic site.

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But yeah, we’ll be there one way or another… will we see you there?

Mission Impossible???

September 22, 2015

With the Epcot Food & Wine Festival just days away, let’s take a look at one of the soft opening days from a few years ago…

Eating (and Drinking) around the World

Friday September 25 was the official opening day of this years Epcot Food & Wine Festival, but my sources had intelligence that there were test runs, or soft openings if you prefer, on the Thursday prior… I decided to find the truth out for myself…

I arrived in Epcot a bit after 10 AM and made my way towards the World Showcase – I was trying to be inconspicuous, appear to be just another befuddled tourist with a camera… I was on the promenade by about 10:30, looked right and left, and made my way towards Mexico.

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The Dessert and Champagne booth was the first that way as usual (the desserts a new addition to the bubbly this year). Brazil and Argentina were right past, and the Mouse Catch with its assortment of cheeses on the opposite side of the walk… nothing was open but there was activity about –…

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We know there seems to be a day for pretty much anything this days, but a day devoted to that favorite libation of Jack Sparrow seems a natural one to celebrate!

So yes, Dear Dedicated Readers, it’s time to celebrate National Rum Day!

Mmmm... rum...

Mmmm… rum…

August 16, 2015 is the official National Rum Day, but the Harem & I started celebrating (and recipe testing) several days ago…

To backtrack a bit, I was contacted a while back by Caliche Rum with several recipes and an offer to try out their brand, so who am I to turn down an offer like that??? We tried a few recipes that sounded appealing, and here are our favorites:

 

Cali Strawberry Daiquiri

Cali Strawberry Daiquiri

 

Cali Strawberry Daiquiri

2 oz Caliche Rum

1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

¾ oz Agave Nectar

1 Fresh Strawberry

Garnish: Strawberry

In a shaker, combine all ingredients, then lightly muddle the strawberry. Shake vigorously until well chilled.  Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with strawberry.

I really liked this – compared to most versions (very thick and/or frozen), this was a lighter tasting drink and great for a hot summer day!

 

Cali Gold

Cali Gold

Cali Gold
2 oz Caliche Rum
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice
¾ oz Simple Syrup
3 – 6 Cilantro Leaves
Garnish: Cilantro Leaf

In a rocks glass, combine all ingredients and lightly muddle Cilantro leaves. Top with crushed ice or preferably nugget ice. Garnish with a cilantro spring.

This turned out really nice! A simple, fruity concoction with the herbaceousness of cilantro… I’ll make this one again for sure!

 

Cali Intense

Cali Intense

Cali Intense

2 oz Barrows Intense Ginger Liqueur

1 oz Caliche Rum

Add club soda (or seltzer water for fewer calories) and fill over ice. Optional: Garnish with Lime.

Okay, I’ll admit I didn’t use the Barrows Liqueur… had Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur on hand, so I used that… and this turned out to be the most popular drink among the Harem!

All these recipes were winners, and I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest you try one (or all!) of them on National Rum Day (or any day, for that matter)!

Now I’ll admit I may not be the biggest expert on rum, but I did sample the Caliche on the rocks as well as in the old standby of rum and (diet of course) coke, and thought it was pretty dang tasty! Next time you find yourself in need of a bottle of rum (and with the holiday upon us, you just might!), it’s worth giving this brand a try… they have a nice web site (with even more recipes) if you want to give it a look…

Thanks to Caliche Rum (and in effort of Full Disclosure, I was given the samples free of charge, but all opinions/comments are strictly mine and objective) for providing the sample and recipes…

Okay kids, back to the bar! See you soon!

 

Once again it’s time for one of our favorite made-up holidays, National Tequila Day!

Tequila Thyme Lemonade

Tequila Thyme Lemonade

July 24th is celebrated as National Tequila Day, but Dedicated Readers will know that pretty much everyday is NTD around here!

Okay, so let’s celebrate with a drink recipe, shall we?

Tequila Thyme Lemonade

Most of the goods... be sure to use your best rocket-shaped cocktail shaker!

Most of the goods… be sure to use your best rocket-shaped cocktail shaker!

2 oz  Silver Tequila (break out the good stuff for this…)

1/2 oz  Lemon Juice (fresh-squeezed of course)

1/2 oz  Simple Syrup (you know how to make this by now, don’t you???)

2  Generous Lemon Wedges

6  Sprigs of Fresh Thyme

It's simple as syrup...

It’s simple as syrup…

Put the lemon juice, one of the lemon wedges, five of the thyme sprigs and the simple syrup into your shaker and muddle to break down the lemon and thyme. Add the tequila and a good handful of ice or two and shake until well-chilled (or until the darn shaker gets so cold you can’t hold the sucker any longer!).

Hope this isn't too much of a strain for you...

Hope this isn’t too much of a strain for you…

Take a spiffy glass and add some fresh ice. Strain the tasty liquid into same…

"i'm ready for my close-up..."

“I’m ready for my close-up…”

Garnish with the remaining thyme and lemon slice, take a couple of pictures, and drink away!

Tequila Thyme Lemonade

Tequila Thyme Lemonade

Since it’s predominantly tequila (and not like that’s a bad thing…) this is a slow-sipping beverage, but it doesn’t seem too strong at all. Tart and refreshing, this is a great drink to celebrate National Tequila Day on a steamy day in July!

This recipe came from Total Wine, so a big two thumbs-up to them! Hope you try and enjoy this! Please be sure to Like and Share with your adult-beverage-loving friends!

Back to the kitchen (with a stop at the bar on the way…), see you again soon!

 

Wine Enthusiast Magazine has published their 2015 list of 100 Best Wine Restaurants in America, eateries they identify as this year’s top spots to eat and drink across the country. In the August 2015 issue you can find this year’s annual list that features interviews with star chefs and sommeliers.

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And there’s a WDW restaurant listed in the top 100!

Those who have dined at Jiko in the Animal Kingdom Lodge won’t be shocked at its’ inclusion on this list of the best places to wine and dine! According to the piece Jiko houses the largest foreign collection of South African wine. The list contains approximately 120–140 selections, several exclusive to Jiko.

 

Jiko

Above is a photo from the article showing one of the signature appetizers at Jiko, grilled wild boar tenderloin with mealie pap and chakalaka which they recommend to pair with Spice Route’s 2011 Chakalaka from South Africa. And from personal experience I can say this is one fine dish!

You can click here to see the Jiko listing, and here is the complete list of the top 100.

Now I’m thinking about a trip to Animal Kingdom Lodge… open the wine please!

The Bog is Back!

June 10, 2015

As Dedicated Readers know all too well, we here at Eating (and Drinking) Around the World just live for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! And now that some info about the upcoming festival is beginning to come out, we’re, well, just getting a little bit giddy…

In a recent post on the official Disney Parks Blog, Pam Brandon gave us a “First Look at 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival“…  of course there will be Celebrity Chefs, Eat to the Beat concerts (Miss Bonnie is especially giddy about the return of Rick Springfield!) and the 25+ Marketplace kiosks, but the really big news is… wait for it….

Did someone say Cranberry Bog???

“I’m a Bog, I’m a Bog oh, the Bog is Back… (hopefully not) stone cold sober as a matter of fact…”

the bog is back!

The surprisingly popular Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog was a late no-show last year (see the post “Bye Bye Bog…“), but we’re promised a return this year…

Cheers to you Cranberry Bog... we hope to see you back soon!  (Photo courtesy Papa Harry)

Cheers to you Cranberry Bog… we hope to see you again soon!
(Photo courtesy Papa Harry)

and if we’re lucky, we may just get a return trip inside the bog itself!

Many more details on the Festival should be coming out in about a month, as the Tables in Wonderland Sneak Preview is scheduled for the 12th of July, so stay tuned!

Back to the kitchen!

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