Epcot Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview, Part Two: the Sit-Down Meal

July 29, 2011

Now on to the second part of our look at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview hosted by Tables in Wonderland. In Part One (which you can read, or re-read if you found it that fascinating, here) we covered the items served at the buffet reception. Here we actually set our lazy rears down on chairs for more food and beverage…

On our table was the menu with the items from the reception on one side,

and on the opposite side was the listing of the courses and beverages we would soon be presented with at the sit-down portion of the meal.

We were soon greeted by Pam Smith, who has served as host for the Food & Wine Festival for the past 15 years (Pam was quick to point out that she was a child prodigy, being “only twelve years old” when first hosting the festival).

Pam Smith

If you’ve ever been to any of the food demos or special events, Pam’s face and voice will be familiar to you.

She gave us a preview of our evening to come, noting that “This event, as all great events, should really be created and imagined and envisioned, happened over a glass of wine…” – she’s my kinda girl…

During her introductory comments, she gave us an important date: August 16 – this is when the special events during Food & Wine can be be booked (at 7 AM Eastern Time, to be exact… guess who will be on the phone then…). She told us the date of that nights event was no accident, it was chosen to be exactly one month out from the reservation date.

Several wines had already been poured for the courses to come (a red, a white and a dessert wine), and Pam encouraged us to raise our glasses and cheer our new best friends around our table.

She then brought up Chef Gregg Hannon, who is the new “overseer” of the foods at the Marketplace kiosks.

Chef Gregg Hannon

Chef Hannon reviewed the appetizers we had just sampled, then moved on to describe the scallop appetizer we were soon to be served.

Pam then discussed the wines on the table: a Terrazas Reserva Chardonnay from Argentina; an Australian Shiraz by Greg Norman Estates; and a delicious and a bit unusual dessert wine from Canada: Neige, Cidre de Glace, which is an Apple Ice Wine.

We then dug into our uniquely plated appetizer of Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad.

Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad

As you can see, the food was served on a rectangular piece of slate, which Miss Bonnie deemed “the coolest thing”.

The scallop was cooked well, but was a tiny bit gritty (hopefully they will clean a bit better during the festival), and sat atop a spicy curry-flavored puree of Kimora (which the Chef had told us was a Sweet Potato from new Zealand). The salad provided a crispy counterpoint.

I will have this dish again just for the Kimora-Curry sauce, it was totally delicious and quite to my tastes.

Ocean Spray Craisin Bread

Also on the table was Ocean Spray Craisin Bread (Ocean Spray Cranberries are going to be a featured sponsor of the festival this year).

A not-so Hidden Butter Mickey

Jazz music was playing while we waited for the main course which was highlighting the new Caribbean Marketplace.

Ropa Vieja with White Rice and Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Salsa

The plate presented held two entrees: Ropa Vieja (Braised Beef) with White Rice and Jerk Spiced Chicken Drumstick with Mango Salsa.

The beef was (as it should be) falling apart tender and had a nice, deep beef flavor with out being overly spicy. The beef had been slowly braised with onions, tomatoes and olives and was just slightly sweet. This is a traditional, home-style dish, and I quite liked it.

The chicken, sadly, was quite bland, especially for being offered as “jerk”. Jerk chicken (or pork) should be a highly seasoned dish based on a marinade made usually and primarily of hot Scotch Bonnet peppers, green onions and allspice. We know that in many cases the spices are tamed down for the masses at Disney, but let’s hope they amp this up a bit before the festival starts.

The Mango Salsa alongside the chicken however, was quite nice and was well received around our table.

Pastel de Nata, Tres Leches Verrine and White Chocolate Macadamia Mousse with Dark Chocolate Pearls

A trio of desserts was next to pair with the Ice Wine.

Pastel de Nata (a puff pastry with egg custard) was from the new Portugal booth, while the Tres Leches Verrine and White Chocolate Macadamia Mousse with Dark Chocolate Pearls will be featured at the Dessert and Champagne kiosk.

Not being a huge “sweets guy” I wasn’t blown away by any of these, but Miss Bonnie and the rest of our companions seemed to be very pleased by the dessert selections.

Overall I thought the food offerings at the sit-down were fine, but little really blew me away – the puree served with the scallop being the only “must-have-again” item in my book.

As we dug into our dessert plates, Pam came back up and quickly reviewed our meal and described the ice wine in a bit more detail. She soon would begin her introduction of the Food and Wine staff in attendance and we would hear many more details of the upcoming events – so let’s pause again and we’ll pick back up on the actual presentations shortly…

3 Responses to “Epcot Food & Wine Festival Sneak Preview, Part Two: the Sit-Down Meal”

  1. […] As our minuscule numbers of Dedicated Readers will recall, Miss Bonnie and I attended the Sneak Preview for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and at that event we were able to sample several of the new items that would be presented to guests this fall (and yes, we know we still owe you part three of that post… keep your collective shirts on…). If you for some bizarre reason haven’t yet read our first two parts of the Sneak Preview review, you can visit part one here, and click here for part two. […]


  2. […] this year… in Part One of of the Sneak Preview we covered the appetizers served, and in Part Two, we had the main course, now we go on to the actual […]


  3. […] had tried the Seared Sea Scallop with Kumara-Red Curry Puree and Apple Radish Salad during the sit-down portion of the Sneak Preview dinner and had quite liked it, especially the puree, and the version at the kiosk was still quite good […]


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